DES MOINES — Strong global demand for corn and record commodity prices are driving up demand for high-yielding seed, for leading seed companies like DuPont business Pioneer
Hi-Bred, that means significantly increasing the number of acres needed to grow their seed and the number of people they need to hire to produce the crop.
Pioneer said today that demand for its products is driving a 30 percent increase in the number of acres it needs for seed corn production in 2008. That is on top of another significant increase
Along with the increase in acres comes a sharp increase in the number of part-time workers needed in the fields this summer to detassel the corn — a key step in the process of producing the
high-value hybrid seed corn that farmers will plant in the spring of 2009.
«Detasseling gives people — often young people, while they are off from school — near our seed production locations a chance to earn money over a couple weeks and still have some summer
left to spend it,» said Bill Tomlinson, supply operations director, Pioneer Hi-Bred.
Across North America, Pioneer plans to hire more than 30,000 detasselers this summer in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, Washington, and Ontario, Canada. The detasseling
season runs from late June or early July through the early or middle part of August, depending on when a field gets planted and the weather.
Those looking for part-time work this summer aren’t the only ones benefiting from the increased demand for Pioneer seed. The increased acres also means additional opportunities for farmers who
grow the seed and others who help harvest and transport the crop, condition the seed and ship it to Pioneer customers.
«Much of the financial investment Pioneer makes to produce a corn hybrid is spent where the seed is grown,» Tomlinson said. «Contract seed growers, our work force and their
communities reap the benefits of this investment.»
Detasseling is the act of removing the pollen-producing tassel from a corn plant. Detasselers walk through seed fields and remove the tops of corn plants that were not removed by machines.
Their work helps ensure genetic purity is maintained when the hybrid cross is produced commercially.