When a grower comes to me with a problem, I feel a little like Sherlock Holmes. I’m essentially faced with a puzzle to solve. It’s what I love about being a Bayer SeedGrowth rep and an agronomist — that process of putting pieces of information together to come up with a whole picture.
What follows is a guide to the thinking process of a SeedGrowth rep and agronomist, showing how we go about solving these puzzles and why we’re in a unique position to do so. After all, people went to Sherlock Holmes because they knew he was the best at what he did. Growers come to agronomists for the same reason!
- Gather Information. Naturally, figuring out problems begins with gathering the most information you can. This always begins with me listening to the grower, whether it be on the phone, through email or text, or in person. Listening is key. I wasn’t there when the problem began. Hearing from the grower is the only way to get that firsthand account of when he or she first noticed the problem, what it looks like, and what the conditions are that may have given rise to it.
- See the Problem for Yourself. Now I need to see it with my own eyes. Obviously, this involves going out into the field, but it’s a lot more than that. I compare what I’m seeing with what the grower themselves has told me, which can yield important insights when it comes to determining what the problem might be. Growers themselves are often the best tool I have in my diagnostic toolbox, so comparing their account of the problem with what I see is a crucial step in the process.
- Diagnose the Problem. This involves a slew of tools including visual inspections and diagnostic testing, but it’s just the beginning in solving the mystery. Let’s say I determine exactly what kind of pathogen is affecting a crop. How did it get there? What can be done about it? The next and final step is the crucial piece to the puzzle
- Offer my Professional Opinion. This often requires the grower to change farming practices, which any grower will tell you often isn’t easy. I’m trained to advise the grower on how to best adapt and make the required changes as smoothly as possible.
SeedGrowth reps are like detectives — your best source for figuring out mysteries in your field!