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It’s been a busy year for SGS in the seed & crop industry. Focused on delivering the best services to our clients, in contract research and precision farming services we have engaged in a program of renewals, new service developments, and investments in facilities, equipment and our personnel. We summarize the highlights of 2017.

Summer Wheat Field

GEP & GLP Accreditations

Operating across the globe, our field trial services continue to grow and 2017 has seen a number countries renew and extend their Good Experimental Practice (GEP) and/or Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) accreditations.

SGS in Argentina has received GLP accreditation against the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standard for crop residue trials. Our field trials team operates from a 20-hectare field research station in Junin, Buenos Aires province, as well as a network of more than 10 satellite testing locations, covering all major cropping regions in Argentina.

In Africa, two projects come to the fore. Firstly, in South Africa we established contract research operations at two sites, Western Cape and Gauteng, and extended the service from GEP to GLP ‘like’ residue field trials. And after receiving accreditation in 2016 our operations in Kenya have extended regulatory testing services for residues from laboratory to field trials.

Following successful audits our GLP accreditation has been renewed in the USA, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Germany for our field trials, as well as for laboratory operations in USA, Germany, France and Poland. To meet the needs of clients across the world we have a network of 60 field stations and 7 GLP laboratories providing:

  • Testing on seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, biostimulants from pot to plot, including climate chamber, greenhouse and open field
  • Efficacy, tolerance, performance testing on all kind of crops
  • Residue trials in all major crops, fruits and vegetables
  • Rotational crop, DFR, OPEX, import tolerance trials
  • Field soil dissipation/accumulation trials/ground water and surface water monitoring
  • Residue testing in the laboratory in all kind of matrices including pollen and nectar
  • Phys/chem. properties, 5-batch, ecotox testing in aquatic and terrestric

Investments

Investment is at the heart of SGS’s business, investing for the future and the benefit of our clients. In 2017, we have continued our program of laboratory and equipment investment.

Last month we reported on our investment in a new agriculture testing center in Emstek, Germany to enable customers to achieve quick registration and approval of compounds and products. This state-of-the-art facility includes two phytotrons, two cool chambers, a research and development greenhouse and laboratory spray equipment (Schachtner Research Track Sprayer).

Earlier in 2017, we celebrated the opening of our state-of-the-art new lab in Brookings, South Dakota. Building on almost 25 years of success in Brookings as the world largest seed testing laboratory, this new ISO 17025 and ISTA accredited laboratory has expanded its services from seed and crop testing to include food testing. GLP services at this facility include in contract research residues, nutritional equivalence, DNA, and seed treatment.

Meeting demand for testing of crop protection products and resistance against Genetically Modified (GM) crops, in Argentina we opened a brand new entomological services laboratory to serve the industry’s need for insect inoculum, bioassay testing, and the collection and mass rearing of insects.

Building on the success of our field trials service in Poland, we have invested in new precision equipment to support our field trial research teams. This Haldrup Combine harvester can harvest a wide range of crops, including cereals, oil seed rape, peas and beans and adds to our existing fleet of precision farming equipment, which includes three plot combine harvesters.

In October, we completed the acquisition of BioVision Seed Research, a leading Canadian seed lab company, and with it three accredited seed, grain and soil testing laboratories in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as well as Edmonton and Grand Prairie, Alberta. With this acquisition we extend our global network of seed testing laboratories to 21 in 18 countries.

At the start of the year, we completed the acquisition of Laboratoire LCA, extending our analytical services capabilities – including soil fertility testing – for the agricultural sector in Morocco. Addressing all types of agriculture from crops to vegetables, this lab provides agronomic analysis and expert recommendations in relation to soil, water and leaves. As water is a rare source in Morocco this service complements our precision farming/fertigation services.

Implementing New Initiatives

As part of our commitment to providing the seed and crop industry, as well as the farmer, with high-quality testing and certification services, we strive offer new and innovative services. In 2017, we have developed new insect resistance testing services, nutrient absorption curve services and further developed the Precision Gateway to complement our precision farming/fertigation services.

In Malaysia, our insect testing services now include bioassay testing for insects and, with logistics partners, a shipping service for sending insect samples to laboratories in the USA.

To help optimize crop growing activities, our fertigation experts in Peru have developed crop variety specific nutrient absorption curves to help farmers minimize fertilizer wastage while maximizing fertigation efficiency.

In South Africa and Peru, collaboration extended the reach of Precision Gateway, our proprietary agricultural farm management platform. Our data assessment experts in South Africa offer a 24/7 service and interpreted NDVI images from Peru overnight, enabling the orchards in Peru to be effectively and efficiently be treated in real-time. SGS has contracts with two leading satellite imagery companies and extended the service to nutritional index mapping in precision farming services.

New Year, New Challenges

2017 was a challenging year for the industry. Low commodity prices, high yields, new regulations, stricter enforcements and economic downturn in some key regions as well as also merger and acquisitions activities among some leading companies have influenced investments in new innovations. Our operations in contract research and precision farming are established in 34 countries to support the reliable and on-time delivery of results and reports to facilitate decision making and dossier preparation. We are pleased to serve our clients with flexible resources, quality operations in the field and laboratory, on time delivery and open and immediate communication and look forward to doing so in 2018.

For further information, please contact:

Andreas Zumdick 
t: +49 (0) 6128 744 730