Promoting a fully integrated system for on-seed applications with Bayer SeedGrowth

Bayer CropScience announces plans to open SeedGrowth Centres in Vietnam and Japan

At the inaugural Rice Future Forum held today in New Delhi, India, Bayer CropScience announced plans to open SeedGrowth Centres dedicated to rice in Vietnam and Japan.
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The opening of the centres is yet another initiative by the company to provide integrated solutions harnessing advanced technologies to help meet farmers’ needs and at the same time increase yield in a sustainable manner. When opened in early 2014, the new centres will expand the current network of 10 Bayer SeedGrowth Centres worldwide.

The 10 Bayer SeedGrowth Centres are located in Research Triangle Park, N.C., USA; Guadalajara, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Paulina, Brazil; Wickham Market, United Kingdom; Mereville, France; Monheim, Germany; Hu Jia Lou, China; Pinkeba Old, Australia; and Wigram, Christchurch, New Zealand.

“In many rice producing countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Vietnam, the majority of the farmers are smallholders. Due to labor shortages, small and marginal farm structures, inadequate access to knowledge and technologies, as well as the constant threat from pests and diseases, competitiveness of rice production in these countries is limited,” explained Torsten Velden, Country Head, Bayer CropScience Vietnam.

“We want to introduce the expertise and experience of Bayer SeedGrowth to improve both the competitiveness and efficiency of rice farmers, through enabling them to grow healthier and stronger plants that produce higher yield. This, in turn, will ensure the sustainable growth of the crop and the farmer’s business. To do this, as with our other offerings, we adopt a holistic approach to enable farmers to achieve sustainability through our expertise in the areas of products, services, coatings and equipment. With the opening of the SeedGrowth Centre in Vietnam next year, we hope to increase awareness and knowledge of seed treatment in the market, as well as showcase modern seed growth technologies,” he added.

Dr. Harald Printz, President and Representative Director, Bayer CropScience K.K. said: “In Japan, labor saving technologies such as rice seedling box applications are already common. We believe that advanced rice seed treatment technology can further help farmers to become even more efficient using their available manpower. This is especially important in view of the demographic trends in Japanese agriculture. Therefore, we regard the establishment of a SeedGrowth Centre in Japan as a very important milestone for us and for the industry.”

Bayer SeedGrowth – An integrated system for on-seed applications

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Bayer SeedGrowth is a fully integrated and comprehensive system for on-seed applications, and combines Bayer CropScience’s four-fold competencies in products, coatings, services and equipment. With a holistic approach, Bayer SeedGrowth provides added value that is more than the sum of its individual parts, to all stakeholders in the seed treatment business including breeders, seed treaters, retailers, advisors and farmers. Bayer SeedGrowth technologies work to minimize the negative impacts of pests on rice, and lower the instances of chemical use and handling. These technologies can also reduce the frequencies of pesticide use by as much as two to three times, consequently lowering costs.

Further reductions in labor requirements for pest management also translate into stronger prices and increased profits for farmers. These technologies reduce the application of crop protection products in the field by focusing their use and replacing some of these products with highly targeted seed application techniques. The result is better food quality, better yields and higher profits for the farmers.

Bayer SeedGrowth’s innovative equipment solutions are also helping farmers to enhance their overall rice production in safer, more efficient ways. For example, Bayer has developed a new machine for applying crop protection products to rice seeds. The machine allows farmers to accurately treat their presoaked rice seeds without damaging the wet seeds. Farmers are therefore able to grow more rice and gather higher yields and income from their harvests.

The ease and efficiency of Bayer SeedGrowth solutions are also encouraging youth to return to rural areas and take up rice farming as a prosperous activity. The introduction of Bayer SeedGrowth’s new agricultural technologies is facilitating more environmentallyfriendly crop production systems, and redefining rice farming as a positive and lucrative activity for present and future generations of rice farmers.

Promoting education and awareness of seed treatment technologies

Despite the obvious benefits of treated seeds, market awareness and acceptance of seed treatment remains low in developing markets such as Vietnam, where it is limited to about two per cent of the total planted rice areas currently.

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Japan, on the other hand, faces a different set of issues. With labor saving technologies such as rice seedling box applications already commonly adopted in the market, farmers are looking at advanced seed treatment technology to help them become more labor efficient, especially in view of the ageing population in the country.

The Bayer SeedGrowth Centres aim to enhance the knowledge and awareness of seed treatment with farmers, customers, partners, technicians from Agricultural Extension Stations and other key stakeholders in the rice industry. Besides being used for innovation and demonstrations, the centres will also provide services, including customized internal and external trainings, testing, advice and technical support directly to seed treaters. At the same time, the SeedGrowth Centres will allow customers to learn first-hand about using SeedGrowth products and receive interactive training on seed treatment equipment.

The centres will feature:

  1. Seed Treatment Application technology and equipment:
    • Demonstrations of industrial (pre-soaking) treatment of rice
    • Incorporation and demonstration of treatment of rice seeds in a nursery box system

  2. Support the overall development of SeedGrowth:
    • Sample treatments
    • Testing of equipment
    • Testing of new formulations under practical conditions
    • Testing and benchmarking of film coatings
    • Development of customer-specific application solutions

  3. Customer services and training:
    • Treatment process optimization
    • Application-based training: how to use the equipment, calibration, troubleshooting

  4. Quality assessment:
    • Development of test methods
    • Quality management/monitoring
“At Bayer CropScience, we are committed to investing in R&D and innovation to solve the challenges of agriculture and in turn, help meet the needs and solve the issues facing rice farmers. We are excited to harness our technological know-how and bring the SeedGrowth Centre, along with our 100 years of experience and competencies in the seed treatment business, to Vietnam. We look forward to collaborating further with key stakeholders as we maximize the potential of seed treatment for the rice industry in Vietnam,” said Velden.