As some of you know I was lucky enough to travel to Europe recently. During my travels I was fortunate to visit some manufacturers, suppliers and of course wine regions!
In the coming weeks I will be writing summaries about some of these places along with photographs of things I saw along the way. Let me start by thanking DJ’s for this opportunity, it was truly unforgettable!
Bayer Cropscience - Leverkusen Germany
Bayer employ some 109,000 people worldwide in the three major areas – Health care, Material Science and Crop Science. I visited a site just out Koln in Germany called Leverkusen. This site is unique because it holds a sample of all the active ingredients in Bayer products. A robotic catalogue manages the 4+ million samples in series of rows and stacks. Interestingly only the computer knows were each sample is via a bar code system and no human hands actually touch containers. It is all automated right up to the point where the chemist receives the required amount of active. The actives are selected, weighed, sampled and returned automatically across a series of rooms connected by conveyer.
They perform trials with selections of ‘actives’ on the major fungal diseases to discover if they have another mode of action. With such a large group of actives to choose from it is a long an involved process!
This photo shows some vines in one of the trials – more than likely involving, botrytis, powdery or downy. Due to the sheer number of actives to perform trials with they typically start with very low concentrations on the chosen pathogen (eg downy). If a reaction is evident at low concentration then further trial work is carried out using that active, with the knowledge that increasing the concentration will likely improve the response.
This site and another in Lyon in France handle the bulk of the CropScience trial work. Unfortunately the Lyon site was closed for summer holidays.