Bayer CropScience now offers a new resource for farmers and the seed industry — the Bayer SeedGrowth Team.
Christina Kruett, Bayer SeedGrowth manager, leads this team of six specialists based out of Okotoks and Viking in Alberta, Clavet and Avonlea in Saskatchewan, and Swan River and Portage la Prairie in Manitoba.
“The role of each specialist is to support growers, commercial seed treatment applicators and their Bayer sales rep colleagues with technical know-how about Bayer’s SeedGrowth products, seed and soilborne diseases and pests, the plant health benefits of certain seed treatments and proper application of Bayer products using different seed treatment equipment,” says Kruett.
Team members provide hands-on advice for customers, develop field-scale demonstration trials, participate in tours and demonstrate the value that Bayer SeedGrowth products bring to farmers.
“Seed treatments can seem more complex than other products,” she explains. The team helps farmers get the full benefits by choosing the right seed treatment for their operation and applying it correctly.
According to Kruett, a Bayer SeedGrowth specialist focuses on four key areas: seed treatment products, equipment, services and seed coatings. Bayer realizes seedapplied crop protection involves more than just high-quality treatment products, she says. “It also requires good application techniques, equipment, and know-how.” And with increasing innovation in seed-applied technologies, this kind of specialist advice will become more and more important.
“I encourage growers who are still planting untreated seed to contact us. We can show first-hand how seed treatments help get a crop off to the best possible start,” says Kruett. Local Bayer SeedGrowth trials and tours, she adds, provide opportunities to see real-life benefits of treating seed.
The Bayer SeedGrowth team:
SeedGrowth team manager
Beth Markert: southern AB
Allan Anderson: northern AB and Peace region
Scott Barr: northern SK
Nicholas Petruic: southern SK
Brittnye Kroeker: Parkland region (east SK/north MB)
Nathan Klassen: southern MB
Brittnye Kroeker brings five years of experience as a practicing agronomist to the Bayer SeedGrowth team. She has a broad understanding not only of seedling diseases but also many of the seed treatment products on the market. This background prompted her to set up trials to demonstrate the value of Bayer’s suite of seed treatment products.
One trial that stands out in her mind was conducted last year in eastern Saskatchewan. It looked at the differences between seeding treated and untreated wheat at emergence. From a researcher’s perspective, there was a measurable difference in root mass in the treated areas. Also, wheat disease pathogens were present in the untreated areas. But what really stood out to farmers who toured the site was the fact there were seven more plants per square foot where treated seed was used.
Last fall, Kroeker set up trials demonstrating the value of treating winter wheat seed; something many winter wheat growers do not do. She compared plant counts upon emergence and will return to those fields this year to compare winter survival rates.
Kroeker is also looking forward to evaluating the use of seed coatings. She notes that coatings are relatively new and is very interested in finding out more about the many products coming into the market, seeing how they work with seed treatments, and helping farmers maximize the benefits of both.
Nick Petruic grew up on a certified seed farm near Avonlea, SK. That gave him handson experience in the seed industry and, in particular, treating seed. Before joining the Bayer SeedGrowth team he was a territory sales manager with Bayer CropScience. Now he focuses solely on his area of expertise — seed treatment products. “I am here to help,” says Petruic. “My goal is to make farmers more successful.”
One way he helped was in showing growers and seed treatment applicators how to set their seed treatment equipment to ensure consistent and proper coverage during last spring’s cold, damp weather, which made the application of seed treatments more difficult.
Before joining the Bayer SeedGrowth team, Allan Anderson also had experience as a Bayer sales rep and, previously, worked for an independent retailer of certified seed and crop inputs. He views his current role as one of providing technical support to farmers and the seed industry.
“The seed industry is really relationship based. In this position I can build strong relationships with Bayer’s SeedGrowth customers,” he says, and adds that a fun part of his job is being called upon when problems pop up. “Guys always want help with application of seed treatment products and how to better use treating equipment.”
“The Bayer SeedGrowth team is part of a wider network of Bayer SeedGrowth experts including colleagues in research and marketing and application equipment engineers both in Canada and around the world,” says Kruett.
“Our goal is to be the most trusted source of information for all seed treatment questions.”