Tim Martin is the production location manager for Corteva’s production site in Wingham, ON. As part of the company’s North American production network, he’s responsible for managing the parent canola field and plant production process as well as some parent soybeans.
Corteva’s Wingham team is responsible for all the field work required to produce the parent canola and experimental canola hybrids – from planting, spraying and combining to cleaning, treating, packaging and storing the seeds in a carefully controlled environment. The plant facility also conditions, treats and packages the parent soybeans. In total, approximately 175 different products are handled annually at the Wingham location.
“Our role is to make sure we produce the best quality, high performing and economical seed for Corteva customers,” says Martin, explaining that his team takes the seed from Corteva’s research pipeline and multiplies it for the next level of the seed development stage. “Working with our research and production teams, we are growing products our customers want three years from now, testing genetics for performance before they reach the farm.”
A seed production facility, the Wingham location is ideal for growing parent canola seed because it is isolated from common canola growing areas and can maintain seed purity for successful hybrid development. Once the parent canola seed is successfully grown and quality tested it is sent to Corteva’s commercialization facility in Lethbridge, AB for large scale seed multiplication.
The soybean seed grown in Wingham is also thoroughly tested for quality and performance before it is sent to the Chatham location to be scaled up for commercial production.
Martin and his team are dedicated to the production of parent canola and soybean seeds that will deliver the superior genetics and yield potential farmers have come to expect year after year. “Our Wingham team is proud to be part of the process that guarantees the quality in every bag of seed,” notes Martin.
As the field operations manager at Corteva’s Chatham, ON commercialization facility, one of Rick Smeenk’s roles is to take the parent seed from other locations like Wingham, and produce it on a large scale for commercialization. He is responsible for the same process for corn in Ontario, wheat in Ontario and Quebec and soybeans across Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Each year, Smeenk and his team of Corteva employees and contract growers produce 3.5-4 million units (bags of seed) across 90,000 acres. Everyone follows rigorous standards to ensure seed purity and germination throughout the entire commercialization process.
As part of the commercialization process, Smeenk has one chance to produce the required quantity Corteva’s sales team has forecasted for the next year. That means, he received the required varieties, hybrids and quantities in the fall of 2023 and has the 2024 growing season to produce what farmers will be growing in 2025.
“We get one chance to get the production yield and quality right to serve our customers, and every year we deliver,” says Smeenk, noting that just like the customers who will grow the seed his team produces, his greatest challenge is the weather and ability to work with the growing conditions to reach the necessary production requirements.
Smeenk manages the production of foundational lines to produce certified seed by contracting more than 350 growers across all three provinces to produce seed, while maintaining careful production practices to preserve the quality of the seed and deliver the yield required to meet seed units requested by the sales team. He explains that the growers he works with take pride in producing seed and appreciate the chance to see how a variety performs a year before it is commercially available.
Quality processes and checkpoints are in place at every step of production to make sure every seed produced and packaged into a bag is genetically pure and will germinate. These stringent protocols guarantee performance for Corteva farmers.
Corteva’s Chatham facility also cleans, treats and packages the seed harvested in Ontario. From planting to harvest, and throughout processing and storage, Corteva employees and Corteva seed producers ensure that every seed packaged into a Corteva bag will perform to its full potential.
Overseeing Corteva’s Ridgetown, ON plant, Neal Revell is the production operations manager and responsible for ensuring the safety, quality and standards are upheld. The Ridgetown location is another Corteva harvest location, where Revells’s team takes in green corn for processing into dry seed where it is stored in bulk until being moved for final processing into seed bags.
The Ridgetown plant is also a return/rework facility. This means unsold seed product is delivered to the location to be tested and reworked before it becomes available for sale the following season. This process is essential to ensure the seed quality and germination standards are maintained in every bag of Corteva seed.
Revell and his team work diligently, following robust work processes to ensure clean, viable seed is produced for farmers so they can have a productive, profitable product growing in their fields. “We are also proud to support crop retailers and Corteva sales representatives by providing them with the confidence to sell Corteva seed products that ultimately help put food on plates in our neighbourhood and around the world,” says Revell.
Seed products including corn, Sila-Bac® and bulk corn, soybeans and wheat are also stored at Corteva’s Ridgetown location. The plant is carefully climate controlled to ensure the seed maintains high germination rates and operated with an advanced inventory management system that extends to each of Corteva’s storage facilities for accurate, easy access to product information.
Revell says the best part of his job is the feeling of pride he has when he sees all the Corteva field signs each growing season. “I understand how much effort and teamwork is required from every step of the seed production process to make Corteva seed products the best choice for farmers,” he says.
Every step of Corteva’s seed production process requires a dedicated team of specialists who are committed to delivering the highest quality, most productive and superior value seed in every bag.