Martin Gruss

Enhancing Crop Efficiency through Biological Seed Treatment

Every year, between 20 and 40 percent of yield is lost due to pathogens, insects, and weeds. In view of these losses, Customized Agronomic Solutions – including chemical crop protection products, improved seeds, and biologicals – are essential to securing global food supplies.

As agricultural productivity must be raised, the focus of our research activities at Bayer is increasingly on boosting yields. By providing suitable seed treatment products, we are pursuing our goal of strengthening plants from the very start. That way, they can successfully cope not only with pests and diseases, but also with unfavorable environmental conditions such as stress and nutrient-poor soils.

Small, medium, and large companies are increasingly investing in the research and development of biological products for agriculture. These are gaining importance by addressing the needs of both growers and society, and thus show huge market potential. Bayer SeedGrowth™ aims to play a part in this development as well. We strongly believe that by investing in biologicals, we can improve seed treatment and effectively promote sustainable agriculture.

Martin Gruss
Martin Gruss
Martin Gruss
Global Head SeedGrowth at Bayer Division Crop Science

Part of a holistic solution

But what exactly do I mean by “biologicals”? This term basically refers to products that are derived from natural material such as plants, bacteria, and fungi. We further categorize them as microbials (e.g. bacteria and fungi), macrobials (e.g. beneficial insects), semio-chemicals (e.g. pheromones), and natural compounds (e.g. plant extracts). Biologicals can be used in a variety of ways, for example in foliar sprays or seed treatments. They provide many benefits to farmers by protecting plants against pests and diseases and making them more productive. It is important not to view biologicals in an isolated way, but rather within the context of our customized agronomic solutions, with improved seeds, chemical crop production products, and supporting services.

There are several ways biological seed treatments can enhance crop efficiency.
There are several ways biological seed treatments can enhance crop efficiency.
There are several ways biological seed treatments can enhance crop efficiency.

Different ways to increase yields

One of our most important goals at Bayer SeedGrowth is to enhance crop efficiency. This term describes all the different areas in which we are working to systematically optimize the yield potential of crops. There are several ways biologicals can enhance crop efficiency. For example, fostering root health.

We also work on finding out more about the intimate relationships between plants and microbes to optimize nutrient uptake and yield potential. Our Bayer experts research the optimal microbial strains to apply during seed treatment, using various selection and optimization processes. Then, years of research go into developing a final seed treatment product and finding the optimum composition of all formulation ingredients. The biological seed treatment can be combined with chemical crop protection agents to ward off other insects and diseases. Combining both chemical crop protection agents and biologicals requires a very broad set of scientific skills and expertise.

Biological seed treatment on the rise

Over the last decade, through testing seed treatments on corn, the right combination of crop protection agents and microbes has resulted in significantly increased yields of up to ten percent. Similar benefits in yield have been achieved in the production of soybeans, cotton, and cereal grains. The selected biological treatment can give crops a crucial advantage in a critical time window for establishing yield and can contribute to long-term sustainability in agriculture. For this reason, a multidisciplinary research and development team at Bayer focuses solely on biological solutions. We also count on strengthening our portfolio by forming collaborations with innovative partners.

If you want to learn more about Bayer SeedGrowth and our commitment within the field of biologicals, click here.

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Thriving for Change - Championing Agriculture for a New Generation