One step forward in quality with AGRAVIS' new seed laboratory
AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG expanded its central seed store in Isernhagen with its own laboratory. In the first months, more than 1,000 experiments were performed here. The agricultural company sees its laboratory as a quality jump and competitive advantage.
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- Werner Schmidt, the seed department manager: "We want to be the force driving quality with our laboratory quality."
Good ones go into the pot, the bad ones go into the crop: Laboratory manager Annette Wolters slips into the role of Cinderella. She has removed the foreign seeds during the pure examination of preliminary stage and basic seed. So that certified seeds are the result one day, the predecessor generation should be 100 percent pure, explains Wolters. "We have now completed this project," she reports the preliminary end of your Cinderella existence. However, for Annette Wolters the work in the new seed laboratory of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG has only just begun. In late 2013 the central seed store was expanded with its own laboratory. In parallel to this, a new 2,200 square metre warehouse was built for storing delivery and production goods. Total investment: around 2.1 million euros.
The showpiece of the new annex is the laboratory to guarantee that the seed experts at AGRAVIS do not have to outsource studies to external service providers. Division manager Werner Schmidt is proud of their expanded infrastructure because it means that they will be able to offer it to the customers in agricultural cooperative societies fast and at low cost. Werner Schmidt says, "now we can check all of the seed cultures for germinative capacity, germinating power, stocking and purity. With the new laboratory AGRAVIS' seed department has moved one step forward in quality. This is why he believes the laboratory will give them long-term strategic benefits over the competition. "We're one of the biggest seed sites in Germany and we're also among the most modern." In terms of trade, nobody offers this service with the exception of AGRAVIS. Furthermore, we will be able to meet the major demands we make of quality assurance and traceability much better with our own laboratory.
"The laboratory has a very high value," adds its manager Annette Wolters. She performed the 1000th experiment there in June. A sign of how much the agricultural cooperative societies value this service. In spring, for example, they brought their perennial maize for germination capacity and power tests – a typical seasonal business before sowing. Three germination cabinets are available for this. They can also be used as climatic chambers for the Heubach test. "With the Heubach test, the seed can be checked for the germination power of the mordant," Wolters explains.
The tests are performed according to the globally applicable criteria of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). Annette Wolters records the results in a written certificate. "We want to certify the excellent quality of the seed for our customers," she explains, underlying the importance of the tests. She hopes that the laboratory will pass its certification audit later this year. "For the future, we are striving to carry out the official testing here inhouse," says the expert, looking forwards full of confidence.
With the laboratory and new warehouse, the AGRAVIS central seed store has therefore taken another leap forwards. Built in 1973/74, the warehouse has been extended several times. New, modern facilities were gradually added. "Just since 2008 we have invested around Euro 6 million in the sire and the further development of our services," reports Werner Schmidt.
More than 14,000 tons of recognised seeds are transferred every year in Isernhagen. Our range of products is very extensive with varieties von seed-corn, seedrape, intermediate crops, leguminosus plants, grasses and mixtures. The seeds go travelling to agricultural cooperative societies and farmers from the smallest packages all the way to truckloads. Raw goods receipt and preparation include leguminosus plants and single grasses.