Training, troubleshooting, equipment support, and assessment schemes: just four of the many services SeedGrowth offers in its SeedGrowth Centers around the world.
The importance of Bayer’s SeedGrowth service managers is rising steadily. Customers require more complex treatment recipes, and the equipment is more advanced than ever. There is no such thing as a ‘regular day’ for Frank Laubert, Head of Global SeedGrowth Center, and his SeedGrowth service colleagues, as the following example shows.
The phone rings. Frank Laubert picks up and speaks to a customer who wants to report a failure: he thinks the active ingredient volume on the seeds, which is provided by his treating machine, is incorrect. Since the cause of the problem cannot be identified on the phone, Frank arranges to visit the customer as soon as possible to check out the situation on-site. There he finds that the aspiration level was set too high, which resulted in part of the spray mist being sucked out.
“This example shows that SeedGrowth is a people business and much more than just pressing one or two buttons on a seed treater,” explains Laubert. “In our job, we do not have one-size-fits-all solutions. We fulfil many roles: product counselors, coaches and troubleshooters.”
Treatment at the right dose
Treating seeds is becoming increasingly sophisticated. “Customers want to apply greater numbers of products to the seed, for instance a fungicide, one or two insecticides, micronutrients, and then the right coating. This is a huge challenge as the surface area of the seed is limited.” Therefore, his advice is in demand: customers rely on his product recommendations to make sure the seeds perform well in the field. This means the treatment ingredients need to be applied in the correct ratio and at the right dose. The selected products should adhere to the seed well and avoid being rubbed off. At the same time, the treated seeds need to run smoothly through the planting machines.
Tested seed quality
SeedGrowth Centers offer several services across the globe to allow customers to test the quality of their treated seeds. This is very important as the treatment recipes should be tailored to the quality and size of the seeds. With the seed loading test, for instance, SeedGrowth service managers test to see whether the correct amounts of the various products are on the seed. Meanwhile, the seed safety test analyzes the effects of the product mix on germination – especially useful if a treater has used products from different suppliers.
Providing advice on the correct use of the equipment is a daily task for Frank Laubert: “There is no standard manual on how to set the machine correctly. Therefore, training is one of the most important aspects of our role. Let’s say treater A is located in Greece, treater B in Brazil. Even if all the other parameters – such as the type of machine and product mix – are the same, the application settings will be different due to the different climatic and seed conditions.” Therefore, the experience and skills of the operator are key, as the Head of SeedGrowth Centers explains: “If you do not put the correct information in, you will not get a high-quality product out.”
Customers value the fact that Bayer does not simply sell products. SeedGrowth Service Centers also provide regular and much-needed service support. “This is what I am really proud of,” Laubert says.