A win-win partnership for seed treatment in Serbia

Maize Research Institute “Zemun Polje”
“Our quality seeds deserve the Bayer quality seed treatment,” says Dr. Željko Kaitović, a leading marketing specialist at the Maize Research Institute “Zemun Polje” (ZP) in Serbia. All ZP seeds are treated as standard with various seed treatment products from Bayer, including the fungicide Redigo® M. The partnership is proving beneficial for both parties – and for farmers as well.

ZP is the leading R&D organization in Serbia for the development, production and introduction of new high-yield maize hybrids. They have also started development of soybean cultivars, and small grain varieties that are adapted to diverse agro-ecological conditions and growing practices. ZP has 300 employees (49 of them PhDs), six research laboratories including a certified ISTA Seed Testing Laboratory, 1,400ha of arable land, a Maize Breeding Station for the development of full-range maize hybrids, a maize gene bank with more than 5,500 accessions of local and introduced maize genotypes, and a seed processing plant with an annual capacity of 8,700t. ZP’s headquarters is on the outskirts of Belgrade on the flat, fertile land near the River Danube. The maize hybrids, soybean cultivars and small grain varieties that are the outcome of ZP’s research and development work are produced in basic and certified qualities, and are then dried, treated and stored. ZP’s comprehensive seed portfolio is rounded off by marketing and advertising activities, as well as seed sales to customers throughout Serbia, the former Yugoslavian countries and other neighboring countries, former USSR countries, Middle East and North Africa.

Redigo M tests well

As Bayer and ZP had started cooperating in testing seed treatment products several years before the registration of Redigo M in Serbia in 2015, ZP subjected this fungicidal seed treatment to intensive testing at six-month and one-year intervals prior to its introduction in commercial seed treatment of ZP maize seeds. The results, Dr. Kaitović says, were very satisfying: “When testing Redigo M we investigated two parameters: biological efficacy on the one hand, and selectivity and influence on seed carry-over on the other. The results clearly demonstrated Redigo M’s reliable efficacy against major seed and soil-borne diseases such as fusarium and pythium. The selectivity tests revealed good seed vigor and emergence qualities. The carry-over tests proved Redigo M’s low impact. All the parameters were fulfilled to a high degree.” As a result of these positive tests, ZP decided to include Redigo M as a standard feature of its all-in package of seed-applied products, which also includes the insecticide seed treatment Sonido®. Serbian farmers, Dr. Kaitović adds, have a great deal of trust in seed treatment products from Bayer and ZP has been extremely satisfied with the results so far.

Beneficial partnership

Besides the close co-operation in testing these products, Bayer is closely involved in all stages of after-sales support in producing the quantities of certified seed required for ZP’s domestic and export markets. Bayer specialists have been involved in recipe development and testing the quality of the seed produced to ensure high quality. The tests conducted are the Heubach dust-off test to support the sustainability of seed treatment, and a seed-loading test developed by Bayer to determine if enough seed treatment has been applied to each seed to ensure sufficient biological efficacy. Last but not least, Bayer runs training courses for ZP’s field force and supports various joint marketing activities.

The ultimate beneficiaries, however, are the corn, soybean and small grain farmers themselves, as their plants stay healthier and their yields are boosted by tried-and-tested seed treatment products.

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