Expanded canola seed processing plant in Lethbridge
July 11, 2012
(Marketwire - July 10, 2012) - Monsanto Canada today hosted farmers, retail customers and other key industry stakeholders at the official Grand Opening of its expanded DEKALB® canola seed processing plant - home to Monsanto's North American hybrid canola seed production and manufacturing business.
A total investment of Cdn$14.7 million provided for the expansion and upgrade of Monsanto Canada's existing seed manufacturing operation in Lethbridge and included the installation of seed cleaning equipment, the automation of bulk storage and blending equipment designed to ensure a high quality hybrid canola seed product for farmers, and installation of a new computerized control system that manages the entire plant. The Lethbridge site also hosts the company's parent seed plant and warehouse.
"The capital we have invested in this site directly supports Monsanto Canada's long-term canola strategy. That strategy is aimed at enhancing the investment and support we provide to this uniquely Canadian crop and growing Monsanto's business to allow us to deliver on our pipeline of beneficial crop technologies for Canadian farmers," explained Mike McGuire, president of Monsanto Canada. "Canola is the cornerstone of Monsanto Canada's business in Western Canada and we are committed to making the required investments that will ensure we continue to offer our farm customers high performing canola hybrids with the traits they are looking for on the farm."
The expansion - which began in September 2010 - also allowed Monsanto to bring the first steps involved in seed manufacturing in-house. This has enhanced efficiency and seed quality control which produces a more consistent and reliable seed product for farmers. Monsanto continues to work with seed tollers in the area who complete the final treating and bagging of the finished seed product.
The company's hybrid spring canola seed production team in Lethbridge consists of 11 full-time employees; four contract employees; and additional summer students and is responsible for managing the production of over 10,000 acres of Monsanto's branded hybrid canola seed production in Southern Alberta.
"Monsanto's Canadian business has been a strong advocate for investment in canola for several years and that commitment continues to grow," said McGuire. "Since 2004, we've ramped up the annual R&D spend on both germplasm and technology, plus made significant capital investments in canola breeding, trait integration, and seed processing - all in Western Canada. This level of commitment to canola has already produced some new, higher-yielding, top-performing DEKALB brand canola hybrids for western Canadian farmers. The expansion of our facility in Lethbridge continues that commitment to quality and is an integral part of our overall canola program."
The company's current canola program is focused on providing support for its Genuity™ canola trait business; maximizing return on germplasm investment in canola hybrids through the DEKALB® seed brand; and creating a new germplasm and agronomic trait package, including bringing new beneficial traits to canola that focus on yield, nitrogen use efficiency and drought tolerance.
Monsanto Canada's next generation canola trait - TruFlex Roundup Ready™ canola - is expected to have its commercial preview launch in 2014, providing farmers with improved weed control and greater flexibility in timing of spraying and application rates. Together, these features will help farmers maximize their yield potential.
Additional investments made by Monsanto in Canada to support its canola seed and trait business have included:
- $4 million to build a new Canadian Head Office in Winnipeg, MB (2005);
- $12 million to construct the new Monsanto Canada Plant Breeding Centre in Winnipeg, MB (2009);
- $3 million to expand Monsanto's Crop Technology Research (CTRC) in Saskatoon, SK (2008/09);
- $1.7 million to expand and upgrade Monsanto's field research farm in Carman, MB (2012).
Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monsanto Canada Inc. is part of the larger global Monsanto family. Monsanto Company is an agricultural company and a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. Learn more about our business and our commitments at www.monsanto.ca