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Products, Equipment, Coatings






April 2013

Why quality matters in seed treatment


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Volkert Meiners is committed to the highest possible quality standards in seed treatment. The CEO of a North German wholesale seed and seed treatment company knows that exact treatment dosages and abrasion-proof coatings are essential to minimize dust-off and meet strict safety and environmental standards. He is achieving these goals with Bayer’s help.
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Testing seed application quality

The dust-off issue

“On-seed application can only be carried out in truly professional seed treatment facilities using state-of-the-art equipment. This is the only way to ensure minimal dust-off during application, storage, handling and drilling,” says Volkert Meiners, CEO, Meiners Saaten. In recent years, he has seen how dust-off has become an increasingly important issue, not just for the agricultural community in Germany. Achieving “zero” dust levels – defined by a very low Heubach dust limit – is now a key objective for all seed treatment stakeholders. And there are sound economic and ecological reasons why this quality goal is business-critical.

Critical quality parameters in seed treatment

Dr. Heinz-Friedrich Schnier, who heads the Bayer SeedGrowth™ Center in Monheim, works with a team of engineers to tackle the highly complex challenge of maximizing seed treatment quality. This involves enhancing three critical quality factors: seed treatment equipment, product formulations and application recipes. “There are a number of key questions we seek to answer in our work,” Dr. Schnier explains.

“How stable is a product formulation? How well does it adhere to the seed? And how good is the flowability of the treated seeds?”

Dr. Schnier points to four key quality parameters:

  • Seed loading: How much of the active ingredient is actually on the seed
  • Homogeneous seed-to-seed distribution among all kernels
  • Low dust levels: good adhesion of the product on the seed and no coating abrasion
  • Flowability/plantability of treated seed through bagging lines and planting equipment

Testing and measuring seed treatment quality

The four quality parameters can be measured, and the experts at Bayer’s SeedGrowth Centers do it all the time:

  • Analyzing seed loading by means of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Testing seed-to-seed distribution by HPLC or digital imaging
  • Measuring dust-off using Heubach dust-meters
  • Quantifying flowability/plantability using sowing test equipment

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Testing to ensure that the highest possible seed treatment quality is maintained

Dr. Schnier’s team subjects all Bayer’s seed treatment products – seed dressings, coats, colorants and even fertilizers – to such stringent tests and evaluates the effectiveness of a treatment application in the field. But ensuring the highest possible quality of Bayer SeedGrowth products is only one aspect of their work. They also advise on customized seed treatment solutions and train seed treater personnel in how best to use seed treatment equipment.

Training seed treater personnel

Meiners Saaten buys seed treatment products from Bayer CropScience and treats a wide range of seeds at the company's facilities southwest of Bremen, North Germany. Volkert Meiners knows how important well-trained personnel are in achieving the required quality standards in seed treatment: “All my technical staff have crop protection know-how certificates, and Bayer CropScience runs regular advanced training courses here or at the Bayer SeedGrowth Center in Monheim.”
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A seed application technology specialist sharing his know-how with customers

Norbert de Baey, a seed treatment technology specialist working for Bayer Germany, visits Meiners Saaten from time to time to inform the staff about the latest developments in seed treatment and Bayer’s product portfolio. He is also on call if a problem crops up with a seed treatment application. “Norbert’s information and advice are always well received here,” Volkert Meiners says.

“And Bayer’s schoolings are always competent and practice-oriented. Since the courses are totally geared to what goes on in our company, my people are very motivated to attend and appreciate the suggestions Bayer comes up with for improving seed treatment processes.”

Volkert Meiners

Even high quality standards in seed treatment equipment and production formulation application count for nothing if on-seed application is not carried out with true professionalism. That is why highly trained personnel are essential, as Volkert Meiners and Bayer CropScience know full well.
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