The story of how Bayer's innovations have shaped the history of seed treatment is the central topic at the Bayer CropScience SeedGrowth Conference that will be held on March 10 to 12. The success story began in 1914 with the launch of Uspulun, a liquid seed treatment for fungal infections in cereals. To date, the use of seed treatment to protect seeds is vital for successful crop production.

The conference will be attended by more than 100 Bayer specialists from Research and Development, Production, Marketing, Coatings, Equipment and Services, and from more than 20 countries. Matthias Haug, Head of SeedGrowth at Bayer CropScience, stresses the company's more than 100 years of expertise in this field: "The development of seed treatment is inseparably associated with the Bayer name. Our experience and expertise have played a substantial role in turning this technology into one of the most advanced and state-of-the-art crop protection methods – fully in line with our mission Bayer: Science For A Better Life."

Bayer SeedGrowth: a strong competence brand

Bayer CropScience offers farmers, plant breeders, seed treaters and seed companies a fully integrated on-seed portfolio. "We are the only company in the industry that supports its customers with innovative seed treatment products, adhesive agents, coating technologies and services," says Haug, pointing to the global network of SeedGrowth Centers where Bayer experts train customers in the correct usage of seed treatment products, develop customized treatment recipes and provide advice on every aspect ranging from the requisite machinery through to the treatment process itself. Another important element in the SeedGrowth strategy is seed application equipment and technology. Bayer´s seed treatment equipment is well known worldwide for its high quality and is designed to meet specific customer requirements.

Bayer CropScience also offers seed companies a comprehensive portfolio of coatings that are marketed worldwide under the brand name Peridiam. These products improve seed coverage and increase the flowability and sowability of the treated seed. The Bayer range of services also includes abrasion tests and assessment of dust emissions.

Bayer innovations from Uspulun to Ilevo

The first seed applied product was launched under the name Uspulun in 1914 and marked the beginning of a success story that continues to this day. Since then, Bayer CropScience has repeatedly set standards in seed treatment with ground-breaking innovations. Baytan, launched in 1980, was the best-known representative of a new generation of mercury-free seed dressings. Another milestone was the insecticidal seed dressing Gaucho, which was first launched in 1991.

The successful market launch of Poncho/Votivo in corn, cotton and soybeans in the United States in 2012/2013 gave Bayer CropScience another tailor-made solution to offer to farmers. Other new additions to the product portfolio are the seed treatment product Emesto for an improved yield potential in potatoes, and EverGol, a family of fungicides that has been granted approval for use in oilseed rape in Canada. It is also planned to use EverGol in field crops such as soybeans, corn, cereals, cotton and rice.

The most recent innovation is Ilevo, a seed treatment product to manage an upcoming disease in soybeans known as sudden death syndrome. This acute disease of soybeans is caused by the Fusarium virguliforme fungus and intensified by nematodes. Bayer CropScience recently filed for approval in the United States and hopes that Ilevo will be available for soybean growers for the 2015 growing season.

Plans for further expansion of SeedGrowth business

The global seed and crop protection market continued to show dynamic development in 2013. Thanks to the strong demand for high-quality seeds and state-of-the-art crop protection products, Bayer CropScience's SeedGrowth business achieved gratifying growth and posted record sales of EUR 921 million.

"We want to further expand our business, for example by adding biological seed treatment products to our portfolio," says Haug, explaining Bayer CropScience's strategy. "The acquisition of the Biagro group in Argentina a few days ago underlines our ambitions for growth and will further strengthen our position as an innovation company." Bayer CropScience will continue investing in the development of seed treatments, with the focus on developing new polymer adhesive agents and application technologies. The company is constantly investing in product stewardship programs to ensure compliance with strict safety and environmental standards.