The research farm, northwest of Toltec and Harmon roads, includes a multipurpose office/laboratory building, greenhouses and a farming operation that is positioned to optimize guayule as a commercial crop that produces tire-grade rubber and complement the existing agricultural landscape.
The guayule plant starts in a greenhouse as a seedling, where it is grown for approximately three months, then transplanted into the field and flood irrigated. Guayule is very suitable to be grown in a traditional “row crop” environment like cotton or other crops in this region. At maturity, guayule will grow to about waist high, which takes anywhere from two and a half to three years on average.
Not all 281 acres Bridgestone purchased are being used because the work happening at the research farm in Eloy is focused on understanding and developing the production system, which happens at a much smaller scale. Guayule is a multiyear crop being planted in the range of 12,000 to 15,000 shrubs per acre.