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Bayer offer reflects passion for farming

Bayer is increasing its level of on-farm support for farmers in recognition of the rapidly changing face of agriculture in New Zealand.

Customer Marketing Manager for arable crops, Neil Waddingham, who has been with Bayer for 25 years, says advances in technology, particularly on the digital front, means the company’s relationship with merchants and farmers will increasingly become much more than selling crop protection products.

“Crop protection chemicals will remain crucial for controlling weeds and disease, but the services available from Bayer will extend way beyond that.

“It’s not only about applying crop protection products, but actively working with merchants and farmers to maximise yields while at the same time ensuring value for money.”

An example of this is a series of fungicide trials to investigate what type of fungicide to use and at what time to get the best effect.

The trials started in New Zealand in 2015 and are due to run through to 2020. The results will not only be key to delivering higher yields, but also in safeguarding the useable life of the fungicides.

“We’re currently capturing data on the way diseases develop and how the fungicides used impact a plant’s green leaf area, even when disease levels are low, explains Neil.

However, this is just the beginning. Increasingly, research will focus on predicting not just when disease will appear, but where it will appear and in developing the technology to quickly and economically stop it in its tracks. This will lead to significant reductions in the cost of growing a crop,”

Neil says another key benefit that Bayer has to offer is the fact it’s a global company with a huge commitment to research and development.

“Globally, Bayer invests more than $1.5 billion dollars into agriculture research and development and this figure is likely to grow in future.”

Much of this research benefits farmers throughout the world, including New Zealand. In early 2016 the company opened a new weed control centre in Frankfurt, Germany. The site is more than a kilometre square and contains labs and offices for more than 30 chemists and lab technicians, including two kiwi PhD students – all working on possible solutions to combat weeds.

“Weeds are the single most important reason for crop losses globally, causing high management costs and threatening food security.

“The search for new modes of action to control weeds is important work, but similar work is also taking place in the areas of disease control.

“It’s heartening to know that we have such a massive resource working at the global level on projects that will benefit farmers around the world, including New Zealand,” says Neil.

“Increasingly, New Zealand is being seen by the global Bayer organisation as a place to investigate new active ingredients. The combination of a knowledgeable and experienced development team working with some of the best arable farmers in the world has paid handsomely for New Zealand.

“Currently, the Bayer team is developing a number of new active ingredients, and while in some cases this research is bound for other countries, the advantage for New Zealand farmers is the knowledge and experience this development brings.

“In one case, if all goes according to plan, New Zealand will be the first country in the world to sell a powerful new product. It’s these wins that drive the local team to excel in their field.

With the investment of a global company, the local New Zealand infield sales team is also highly experienced, with many from farming and cropping backgrounds. The team prides itself in helping farmers achieve high yielding, profitable returns. If a customer succeeds in achieving their goals, the team sees this as a win for Bayer as well. It’s their passion and what drives them every day.