The 55,000-square-foot Innovation Center is the newest R&D facility for WinField United. Located in River Falls, Wis., the Innovation Center replaces the former WinField Product Development Center and Spray Analysis System.
“The research and testing performed here will enable more targeted applications of crop protection products, which benefits both applicators and farmers. It also helps move the industry forward to achieve greater sustainability in land, water and air quality,” says Chris Policinski, president and chief executive officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
The staff are doing product development for adjuvants; herbicides, insecticides and fungicides; plant nutrition and performance solutions; and seed treatments.
“Product development is a key part to our business,” says Eric Spandl, product market development manager at the Innovation Center. “This includes development of our proprietary products, and we had been on a path of continued growth, but we reached a point where we needed to make a significant investment in staff, equipment and lab space.”
A key feature of the Innovation Center is the Infinity Group, which is a spray application laboratory using state-of-the art technology to evaluate the entire application process, including pesticide and adjuvant formulations, tank mixes, nozzle performance, spray characterization, drift and droplet deposition, and plant uptake. Testing is performed in the laboratory, as well as in both controlled and in-field environments. The Infinity Group also includes a wind tunnel, where many spray application variables are tested using non-invasive diagnostic approaches to precisely measure droplet size and velocity.
The Innovation Center allows for activities in the product development process to be brought in house, namely greenhouses.
“We apply the latest best practices in our research approach and have backed our commitment with a significant monetary investment in our new center,” says Mike Vande Logt, executive vice president and chief operating officer, WinField United. “Our product development process is a stamp of approval that represents the comprehensive, rigorous, proven method we use to bring products and technologies to market.”
Spandl says the Innovation Center was built with further growth in mind.
“This facility demonstrates the benefits we bring to retailers and farmers,” he says. “We are interested in the total product solution—and having the comprehensive knowledge about all the factory around application and agronomics.”