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DSM Startup Hopes the Days of Detasseling are Numbered


January 9, 2018

The agricultural seed industry accounts for billions of dollars in sales and it relies heavily on selling cross-pollinated seed. These hybridized seeds produce crops which have far greater productivity than non-hybrid crops.  The major drawback for producing cross-pollinations is one that has been an issue within the industry for over 90 years.  Production of this seed in crops like maize and rice is very expensive and labor intensive. In other crops, like wheat, it is actually cost-prohibitive to produce hybrid seed. 

PowerPollen in DSM USA

Based in Greater Des Moines (DSM), our company, PowerPollen, has developed a novel technology that simplifies and improves the biological cross fertilization of plants. It involves collecting mass amounts of pollen, which is then preserved with our patent pending preservation technology.  When the female plants are ready to be pollinated, the preserved pollen is taken out of storage and directly applied to the female plants during ideal times of the day or night. It increases genetic purity and seed yield while greatly simplifying and reducing many of the major expenses associated with the production of seed in hybrid crops. After three seasons of field testing, PowerPollen has shown an average of more than 20 percent yield increase and a 50 percent reduction in contamination from undesired sources of pollen.

Cofounders Jason Cope and Todd Krone selected DSM based on the fact that it is startup friendly, the cost of doing business is reasonable and several large potential customers are located within the state.

Increasing Demand and Profitability    

After commercializing PowerPollen with pilot customers in 2018, demand has the potential to drive a rapid penetration into the market and lead to profitability in 2020. It could also mean the days of manually de-tasseling are numbered. 

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Jason Cope

With over 20 years of experience, Jason has leveraged his broad knowledge of science, practical engineering and individual creativity, to develop next generation solutions for agricultural biotechnology. Jason currently has more than 40 pending and granted US and worldwide patents.