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The Who’s Who Gather for Bayer’s First Agronomy Summit in Banff, AB

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Bayer, one of the world’s leading crop science companies’ kicked off its inaugural agronomy summit Tuesday in Banff, Alberta.

Let’s talk agronomy, and let’s take a closer look at the science behind agronomy, is the topic of Bayer CropScience’s agronomy summit. The slogan ties in nicely with Bayer’s motto – “science for a better life.”
 
All the key movers and shakers of the agronomy world are in attendance including: retail partners, provincial crop specialists and independent agronomic consultants. Bayer plans to woo the approximately 125 attendees, and to showcase the science behind its products.
 
The breakdown for attendees includes: 90 per cent western Canada, one attendee from Australia, one from the northern United States and the rest from Ontario and Quebec.
 
Banff was picked to be the backdrop because of its appealing lure. “The first time you do a meeting like this you want to make sure you get the people on your target list here…it adds to the whole event,” said Bayer’s Market Development Manager, Al Eadie.

Why is Bayer putting this on?

“We just wanted to get the information out there to our key influencers in the industry…so that people understand the science behind our products,” said Eadie.
 
One of Bayer’s goals is to pitch its products to Canada’s leading agronomists. “We want people to feel comfortable when they see Bayer products recommended…so that attendees feel more educated on the products,” explains Eadie.

Who makes up Canada’s agronomy influencers?

Looking at the demographics, Eadie says, he is encouraged by the strong showing of both young people and women in attendance. “We’re moving away from being a predominantly male dominated industry…there’s better representation of females in the industry – it’s good,” explains Eadie.
 
Eadie also gives high praise to Farm Credit Canada’s industry lead campaign to improve the image of agriculture – Ag More Than Ever. “Agriculture is very optimistic right now… there’s a lot of positive talk about agriculture,” said Eadie. “Young people are now joining the industry that didn’t want to five or 10 years ago – it’s exciting to see.”

What are the top agronomy topics on Bayer’s checklist?

Bayer has focused on four main subject areas:

•    Canola
•    Fungicides
•    Plant Health
•    Herbicide resistance

 
Eadie provides some insight into why the topics were chosen:

Canola

Canola, dubbed Canada’s crop, is especially important to western Canadian growers. Bayer is launching four new InVigor products in 2014, so it’s no surprise that an entire session would be devoted on the subject. What’s especially exciting is that two of the products are new agronomic traits – sclerotinia tolerance and reduced pod shatter.
 
Fungicides

Eadie says there is a greater understanding on cereal fungicides, especially how and when to use them. Eadie also notes that among agronomists there is sound understanding about herbicides, but not fungicides, suggesting a knowledge gap which the session seeks to address.
 
Plant health

Eadie says the topic of plant health is a relatively new term, noting that it is even sometime misused, or quite often not fully understood.  “Often it’s loosely used when there are casual observations made in the field…but there’s no good sound trail data to back it up to fully understand what’s really going on,” explains Eadie. The breakout session on plant health seeks to clarify common misunderstandings of the term.
 
Herbicide resistance

Herbicide resistance is a recurring and important topic, especially now with the greater issue of glyphosate resistance. Eadie says it’s time to talk about resistance in herbicides in general and bring it to the forefront.
 
The summit runs for three days and wraps up on Thursday. A full list of the speakers and topics can be found by clicking here. Bayer’s agronomy summit may return in the near future. “We are thinking to host a summit on a semi-annual basis…it’s a large undertaking…we want to make it big enough to get everyone here and keep it fresh,” concludes Edie.
 
Editor’s note: Farms.com Media was invited to cover Bayer’s three day agronomy summit. We look forward to bringing you, the reader additional coverage of the event over the next couple of days. Follow @AmandaBrodhagen for Twitter updates.


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