Competence areas

Equipment, Services

Country/Region

Latin America

Crops

Soy, Cereals

Date

May 2016

Success story Erro

Grain matters

Share this article on:
You will learn in this article
  • that professional seed treatment is a growing market segment and what critical success factors can only be solved by experts,
  • that innovation in seed genetics and on-seed applications are crucial for business success,
  • what benefits a partnership with Bayer can bring.
Erro is a successful Uruguayan company with many years of experience in seed processing and treatment. Its recipe for success: developing products that farmers really need and relying on Bayer SeedGrowth equipment. Erro is on the right track: Only four years ago, all seeds sold by the company were untreated while now the sales of treated seeds have risen to 45 per cent.
Click to enlarge
If you think Dolores is a vivacious Latin lady, think again. At first glance, the provincial town with the picturesque name has nothing extraordinary to offer: a central square, the Plaza de la Constitución next to the church (Catholic of course), a public school, a police station, a fire station, a couple of supermarkets and some bars. Everything built in the Spanish Colonial style. And all in all, very Uruguayan.

For its 21,000 inhabitants, Dolores is home. For anybody else, the city is a synonym for grains. "Bienvenidos a Dolores - El Granero del Pais" says the oversized sign at the entry of the town. "Welcome to Dolores - the Granary of the Country". Here, the storage, transport and export of grains have a long tradition. No coincidence, since Dolores is located on the banks of the Rio San Salvador river, a broad stream which is the vital artery for this tri-border region between Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Click to enlarge

Change and innovation

Erro has its headquarters in Dolores. Founded in 1947, Erro is the second largest exporter of soybeans from Uruguay. The seed processing facility was commissioned in 2011 and since then, the company has concentrated all its seed processing and treatment activities there. The cooperation with Bayer started in 2014 when Erro put into operation the batch treating system CBT 200 which allows the treatment of different kinds of seeds with a high level of accuracy.
In an air-conditioned meeting room with walls of glass the Bayer SeedGrowth team meets Marcelo Ferreira, Sergio Pieroni and German Bremermann, all three working for Erro. Typically Uruguayan: a thermos filled with mate tea is not missing.

Innovation is key

“The main characteristics of Erro are change and innovation,” says Sergio. He is responsible for the research and development of new seed varieties and processes. “Our motivation is that we are always trying to innovate and adopt advances in genetics and the changing ways of treating seed.” For Erro it is crucial to differentiate itself from its competitors by improving both the varieties and the seed treatment package. This approach obviously meets the requirements of the market. Four years ago, all the seeds sold by Erro were untreated; now, sales of treated seeds have risen to 45 per cent. The remaining untreated seeds are processed by the farmers themselves before sowing. “We have to convince the farmers that our service achieves better yields and better plant growth because we have the technology and very good equipment,” says Erro’s board member German.
Equipment: Erro’s state-of-the-art seed treatment equipment is developed and produced in the new Bayer SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center in Shakopee, Minnesota (USA). You can read all about it here.
Click to enlarge

Talking about biologicals

Heading from the office building to the plant, visitors pass by fields of strikingly dark brown soil. According to the locals this kind of soil is of such fertility that you just need to put a plant in the ground and it starts growing. Nevertheless, Erro’s staff is permanently striving to improve the crops. Having arrived at the production site, the three show off the seed treatment equipment. Formerly known as Gustafson's, Bayer treatment machines enjoy an almost legendary reputation not only in Uruguay.

“We have been working a lot for the past four years in what we call the pre-inoculation process,” says production manager Marcelo. “This is a very important point because you have to bring a living organism – a rhizobium – and a chemical together.” When working with biologicals, a lot of determinants have to be analyzed, but the crucial factor is the rhizobium. “Nitrogen fixation in soybean is crucial,” Sergio says. The technology that was developed combines a fungicide, a polymer, rhizobium and equipment in an ideal manner to achieve a professional seed treatment. "With the new seed treatment machine from Bayer, it has been possible to develop the technology that enables the rhizobium to remain active on the seed for more than 30 days,” says Marcelo. Above all, a significant cost-benefit ratio is mandatory, as Sergio explains. “Farmers are choosing our seed treatment because we give them seeds with the best fungicide, the polymers and also the rhizobium.”
Click to enlarge

Doing things better

Erro treats most of the seed with fungicides or insecticides and a smaller proportion with inoculants. “Discovering and developing new products is key because it enables us to say: What we are offering growers is of greater value than the seed they treat on their own.” In Uruguay, the growers used to treat the seed by themselves, but they increasingly appreciate buying ready-to-plant seed. “The soybean prices in Chicago may differ - and there is nothing you can do about that. What we can do as a company in the seed treatment business is to provide better technologies to farmers and help them increase their yields,” Sergio says. Maybe, that is why in Latin America the demand for professionally treated seed is an unstoppable trend.
Erro in brief

Founded1947
Cooperation with Bayer SeedGrowthSince 2014
EmployeesApprox. 400
Head officeDolores (280 km from Montevideo)
Branches10 (in different parts of Uruguay)
ServicesVarious products and services, such as grain processing, storage and transportation, agrochemicals and fertilizers, animal nutrition
Seed processing and treatment plantDolores
Share this article on: