A vertical organization that provides Central and Eastern Europe with food: This is the role of the Bonafarm Group. High-quality seeds are the starting point for growing enough crops and producing these large amounts of food. One of the companies Bonafarm trusts to provide these is Bóly Seed Company. They, in turn, rely on Bayer’s SeedGrowth expertise to tackle this challenge.
“The Bonafarm Group is a vertical organization consisting of agricultural and food processing enterprises,” says Katrin Potz, Plant Manager at Bóly Seed Company. The agricultural production activities of the Bonafarm Group can be divided into two parts. First, its agricultural companies produce the crops needed to feed livestock and the industrial crops for sale, and also tend to farm animals. Second, its raw materials are added to high-quality market ingredients to produce tasty meat, dairy products, and wines. Bóly Seed is one of the four agricultural companies that produce most of these raw materials.
Treating like clockwork
“Today, the plant itself processes large quantities of seeds for a variety of crops,” explains Katrin. In terms of numbers, this means that between 15,000 and 20,000 tons of seeds are treated in the Bóly plant every year. During peak season, employees work the plant’s four production lines in three shifts.
This means that if any of the treating equipment malfunctions, it not only affects the quality of the treated seed at that moment but can also interrupt further processes at the plant, endangering the entire treatment results as well as potentially being very expensive. “We really depend on the consultations carried out by Bayer,” says Katrin. “Our relationship is all about being in constant contact, even if just by telephone. Basically, we have someone there for us at all times, whenever we have a question.”
And this someone is Csaba Csorba, Key Account Manager for Bayer’s SeedGrowth business in Hungary. He talks to his customers on at least a weekly basis, especially during peak season, “to cover upcoming issues and address any problems.”
Innovative by tradition
But it’s not just potential problems Bóly Seed needs help with. “One of the main challenges in our plant is to constantly be able to meet the growing demands involved with supplying high-quality seeds,” says Katrin. This means there has to be constant development and improvement of the seed quality. Bayer always keeps the company informed about new and suitable products, their effects, and how Bóly Seed might be able to use these products to improve its seeds.
Her relationship with Bayer goes back a long way. Not for as long as the company has existed (it has been around since 1958, when the first hybrid corn dryer was created), but since 1994, when Katrin became active in the seed business and established contact with Bayer. When she started working for Bóly Seed in 2009, she brought her good connections with her. “If we have questions that need to be resolved on-site, then our Bayer representative is always right there,” Katrin explains.
Meeting the demands of the market
Another challenge Bóly Seed encounters is making sure it has the correct seed quantities available whenever they are needed. “We need to be flexible in production so we have the right quantities on hand at the right time,” confirms Katrin. This is because the market has changed in such a way that orders are no longer placed in advance. Instead, the company needs to respond quickly to specific orders, and treat smaller quantities of seeds in a short amount of time.
In addition to advice and support, Bayer provides Bóly Seed with high-quality products. “The climatic and soil conditions here are very good for growing plants, which is why the location is well suited for seed production,” says Katrin. Nevertheless, they also use the LAMARDOR® seed treatment product to effectively protect the seeds against pests and diseases that attack the young plants, such as virus-transmitting aphids, covered and loose smut, fusarium root rot, and other pathogenic fungi.
• Established in Bóly in 1958 (200 kilometers south of Budapest)
• Part of the Bonafarm Group (consisting of agricultural and food processing enterprises)
• Employees: approx. 80 (200 in peak season)
• Treated seeds: 8,000 tons of hybrid corn, 4,000 tons of cereals, 1,500 tons of soybeans (annually)
• Processed seeds: 10,000 tons of hybrid corn, 6,000 tons of cereals, 5,000 tons of soybeans (annually)