On August 1, BASF finalized its acquisition of several Bayer assets including the Invigor canola line, Ignite herbicide, seed treatment products, Bayer’s digital farming software (xarvio) and seed research and development, including hybrid wheat. The Canadian piece of this global transaction also includes 400 Bayer employees, research facilities at Saskatoon, Pike Lake, Lethbridge and Regina and 12 other research sites.
Jonathan Sweat, vice president, business management, BASF crop management, pointed out to ag media on a conference call that, “We are now the market leader in both pulses and canola in Canada, and the second largest seed and crop protection provider in the country.”
For 2019, as the two operations combine and they are in what Sweat referred to as the “discovery” phase, BASF will continue to operate two distribution models to get products to customers. Sweat said, “We probably won’t run two models long term, but that needs to be determined.”
For Grainews readers worried that research specifically relevant to Western Canadian canola may be lost in the scale of a larger global company, Garth Hodges, who transferred to BASF from his position as head, oilseed rape, global, with Bayer, offers assurance. “The Canadian canola seed business is a significant portion of the acquisition and a significant reason why BASF was interested in our [Bayer’s] business.” Last year, Hodges said, 43,000 Western Canadian farmers bought enough Invigor canola to seed 13 million acres. “All indications from our side is that BASF is very excited to continue with the investment and even expand the focus on canola,’ Hodges said.
Sweat called the Western Canadian canola business “the crown jewel of what we were acquiring.”