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    Business areas

KWS business fields

The operating business of the KWS Group is managed in the three core segments of corn, sugarbeet and cereals. In addition, KWS builds up a new business unit for vegetable seeds.

The business units are supported by research and development, as well as administrative functions. Due to the integrated structure, the individual segments are closely connected.

Entrepreneurial independence of the business units ensures that the KWS Group is able to adapt more flexibly to different scenarios and quickly implement competitive advantages.

This enables us to focus on the respective markets, customers and products in each segment, and at the same time produce synergies within research and breeding.

What we do.

Our value chain extends from variety development to propagation and production of these varieties, to marketing and distribution to farmers around the world.

The sugarbeet, corn and cereal segments are the pillars of the KWS group.

  • The sugarbeet business unit is made up of the product groups sugarbeet, animal feed and energybeets.
  • The corn segment includes corn, rapeseed, sunflowers, sorghum, millet, and field crops.
  • The cereal segment includes wheat, rye, hybrid rye, winter barley, spring barley, oil and field crops and organic seed.
  • In fiscal year 2018/2019, KWS also made a strategic entry into the vegetable seed business by acquiring Pop Vriend Seed, the market leader for spinach seed, and is building up an international breeding network for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons and watermelons in particular.

  • People at KWS

    Farmers’ success was, and always is, our top priority. Their success is our success. It is the focus of our activities.

    Rüdiger Strohm, Head of Global Strategy

Seed from development, to breeding, to distribution

The objective of our breeding program is to offer every farmer—whether they use conventional or organic farming methods—targeted varieties and solutions to fit their operational needs. This is the basis for efficient, productive and sustainable agriculture.

Seed propagation under suitable climatic conditions is just as important as technical preparation with the highest quality standards and logistics, which ultimately ensures a reliable product.

Sales and growth planning
Production begins with sales and propagation planning. Within the planning process, the potential for growing each variety in the markets is estimated in order to determine seed production requirements. Planning starts up to three years before the seed is sold to farmers; plants need time to grow.

Propagation and field production
To ensure outstanding seed quality, it is important to observe high standards and market-specific requirements. These include, for example, spacing control between seed propagation areas of different crop varieties. Such minimum distances are intended to prevent the entry of undesirable varietal properties introduced by the pollen of other seed producing stock. During the time on the field, specialists monitor the stock. Seed propagation is completed with the harvest.

Maturity and fertilization
Flowering is the centerpiece of breeding. It is here that the crossing process begins. Flowers must be pollinated to produce seed or fruit. Without pollination, there can be no fertilization, and also no seed. Pollination is essential for seed production.

The raw material is processed after harvest. It is then cleaned, carefully dried and sorted by size (calibrated). All processes are designed to treat the seed carefully, so that seedlings remain intact and optimal germination is ensured.

Technical processes are based on the nature and size of the seed of different crops. Corn is harvested as cobs and only removed from the cob after drying. The unusually shaped sugarbeet seed, on the other hand, still needs polishing and pelleting before the final seed is produced, where the final seed supports precision planting.

Quality inspection
Throughout the seed propagation process, each lot is tested again and again. Reviews are carried out to determine whether the seed actually has all the quality features and characteristics, such as disease resistance and high quality genetic traits. Germination and plant viability are also determined. Only when the seed has been tested and retested, and has passed all of the testing protocol, is it packaged, shipped and released for sale. In this way, farmers are guaranteed to receive seed of the highest quality.

Packaging and certification
Seed production is primarily organized by the breeders. Depending on the crop type, seed production may happen in cooperation with several agricultural partners and processing plants. After a range of official and quality tests and audits, the seed is then ready for sale. Packaging and certification in Germany for example, takes place under regulatory control. This ensures that only certified seed with high germination and varietal purity reaches the market.

Your contact

Stephan Krings
Stephan Krings
Head of Global Marketing and Communications
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