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Traces of seed treatments may be rubbed off during sowing and pollinators might potentially be exposed to dust emissions if they are accidentally released into the air. Deflector technology minimizes this potential risk. Especially in Spain, more and more farmers have been using deflectors while sowing.
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In Brief

  • A deflector ensures at least 90 % dust reduction
  • Bayer contacted all the machine manufacturers in Spain and explained the Bayer campaign to them and why it is so important to deliver sowing machines equipped with deflectors
  • In Spain the deflector campaign has so far been very successful, with 430 deflectors delivered to farmers in 2016 alone

“Deflectors help farmers to maximize the benefit of seed treatment technology a minimize potential risks.”

Peter Ohs, Senior Product Stewardship Manager at Bayer

Deflectors attached to pneumatic sowing equipment ensure that at least 90 % of the minute dust particles blown out of the back of a seeder are directed onto the soil, and not into the air. Further reducing dust emissions in this way not only minimizes the potential risk of exposure for watercourses and pollinators like honey bees, it contributes to avoiding emissions for the operator as well.
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The principle behind deflector technology is perfectly simple. The pneumatic sowing machine fan sucks the dusty air through the sowing disk, from where the air is directed into wider-diameter pipes and the speed of flow is slowed down twice before being released close to the soil through a flexible rubber shield. “A deflector is an extremely simple attachment with a remarkable impact on dust reduction,” says Walter Mayer, an application technology specialist at Bayer in Germany. Peter Ohs, Bayer’s Senior Product Stewardship Manager, outlines the key benefits: “Deflectors help farmers to maximize the benefits of seed treatment technology and minimize the potential risks.”
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A Monosem deflector

The campaign in Spain

In Spain corn is grown on around 400,000 hectares, or about 2.5 % of the total farmland of some 16 million hectares. The deflector campaign that began in January 2016 has focused on Spanish corn farmers. Francisco Miro Segura, Bayer Spain’s Sustainable Agricultural Manager, explains the campaign mechanics: “We contacted all the machine manufacturers operating in Spain, e.g., Monosem, Khun, Sola, Gaspardo, and Kverneland, and explained the Bayer campaign to them and why it is so important to deliver sowing machines equipped with deflectors. We also gave them a brochure showing best sowing practices in corn and a poster explaining our subsidization of the deflector technology.” Monosem has been Bayer’s main partner, as their two distributors in Spain proactively communicated the campaign in the provinces of Girona, Lleida, Huesca, Zaragoza, Navarra, and León in northern Spain, and Caceres, Badajoz, Seville, Albacete, Cádiz, and Córdoba in southern Spain. “In May and June,” Francisco adds, “we organized meetings with the farmers to explain how important it is to install a deflector in order to minimize the potential risk of dust emissions to pollinators or watercourses – just by avoiding the release of contaminated dust into the air.” Meetings with local farmers were complemented by press releases in each of the provinces. The campaign is continuing in 2017 with deflectors being delivered to Kverneland and Sola.
“Our collaboration with deflector manufacturers has been most fruitful.”

Francisco Miro Segura, Sustainable Agricultural Manager at Bayer

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Bayer seed treatment experts explaining the benefits of deflector technology to Spanish farmers.

Dust emissions minimized

The campaign in Spain has been very successful so far, with 430 deflectors delivered to farmers in 2016 alone. Since a deflector can, on average, cover around 200 hectares, this adds up to a total acreage of 86,000 hectares, i.e., over 20 % of the total corn acreage in Spain. The treated corn seed sown in this farmland in March 2016 produced minimal dust emissions. “It’s one thing to come up with an idea of how to solve the issue of dust emissions,” Peter Ohs points out. “The real challenge is putting this idea into practice. With our deflector campaign in Spain we’ve done just that!” And Bayer is also working on further technical solutions to minimize dust emissions from sowing, such as SweepAir.
In Spain, Hungary, Romania, and Turkey, Bayer’s deflector campaign has demonstrated to the relevant authorities just how committed the company is to sustainable agriculture – through a highly practical stewardship measure. That these deflector campaigns have been well received by farmers is not just crucial for their successful implementation; it also proves that deflector technology is a simple but effective means of maximizing the effectiveness of seed treatment and minimizing dust emissions.
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  • Monosem, a French-based agricultural equipment manufacturer bought by John Deere in 2016, is the market leader for sowing equipment in Spain. Monosem has one distributor for the north of Spain and one for the south
  • Sola, a Spanish company based in Barcelona, has distributors in nearly every Spanish province
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