Agricultural seed treatment centre begins operations

Paul Boughton

A new seed treatment and conditioning facility in Germany is being used to develop improved application techniques for customers in the agricultural industry. It is based at BASF's agricultural centre at Limburgerhof.

The possibilities that seed treatment can offer as an innovative technology to protect plants from sowing onwards are far from being exhausted says Hans W Reiners, head of the BASF's Agricultural Products division. That is why we are further strengthening our seed treatment activitieswhich are one core component of our R&D efforts. We will also extend more and more active ingredients from our crop protection portfolio into this sector he added.
The foundations for this business were laid with the acquisition of a range of interesting seed treatment products from the portfolio of the former Aventis CropScience in 2003. Now additional BASF active ingredients are being launched step by step into the market as seed dressing products. As a result, the German company says it is able to offer innovative solutions to its customers in the seed and agricultural industry.
In the words of Jan Burgers, head of global marketing seed treatment: As in traditional crop protectionwe also see ourselves in this market in partnership with our customers and offer our experience and products to provide solutions that will help our partners to be even more successful."
BASF believes that high-quality products and facilities such as this (Fig.1) will help to position the company at the leading edge of technical development.
"For farmersthe decisive factors in choosing the right seed are qualityaccuracy of seed sowing and effective protection from diseases and pests explained Andreas Landes, manager of the technology centre. Especially when it comes to the application of active ingredients on the seedsthere is still considerable potential for technical development."
In order to find and optimise such new technologiesdifferent types of seed dressing machines from all major manufacturers have been installedincluding both batch and continuous treaters.
"The machinery we use is representative of that used in the different crops worldwide. Thus we are able to reproduce the various treatment techniques and processes that are used by our various customers added Landes.
In the centre's analytical laboratory, seed samples from all important crops are examined for quality parameters such as active ingredient loading and distribution. Landes and his team also evaluate application performance in different dressing machines as well as the adhesion and attrition of the seed treatment product. Flow properties and seeding behaviour of the treated seeds can also be studied. When conducting this work, especially with new application techniques, continuous dialogue with customers is of primary importance.
With sales of E3354million in 2004, BASF's Agricultural Products division is a leading supplier of fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. The division's products are used by farmers to improve crop yields and crop quality and by other customers fur uses in non-crop areas such as in public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management and forestry.