February 14th, 2014
We departed from Vina Del Mar at 8:15 am and traveled roughly 2 ½ hours to a Monsanto site south of Santiago near the city of Paine. We traveled through the valley of Casa Blanca where popular white grapes are grown. Most of the agriculture along the trip included vineyards, but it we found corn, vegetable, and fruit production as we travelled south of Santiago.
Monsanto Corn Seed Production Tour at Paine:
The staff at the Monsanto site, led by Site Manager Matias Navarrete, provided an informational tour of their site and activities. The plant was initially built in 1997 with several expansions through 2010. They produce seed corn at the location, but also produce small amounts of soybean and canola seed. The seed is produced for use on farms throughout the United States. Their production area ranges about 400 kilometers from north to south around Paine. They produce seed on 6500 hectares (16,000 acres) within their production area
Monsanto staff provided a one hour tour that included a brief presentation and a walking tour of the plant facilities. The key areas viewed were corn receiving, corn husking, drying bins, shelling/cleaning, and bagging for export. Corn is received on the ear with husks. Following husking and hand sorting, the ears are dried on the cob at temps around 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit in two directions to ensure quality. Bulk shelled corn is exported to the United States for final processing before farmers plant the seed this spring. They took great care in ensuring quality and safety measures were taken every step of the way.
Monsanto provided lunch at the Bavaria restaurant nearby. We enjoyed cuisine of German heritage, including blood sausage. The food was excellent and appreciated by the class.
|Monsanto Paine Chile - entrance|
Explanation of How Seed Corn is Produced for use in the US
Demonstration of where corn is delivered to the plant