|Chris Love assesses a Stinger trial at Breeza Research Station.
Dow AgroSciences is one of six global research and development organisations that are capable of bringing new agrochemicals to the market. That is, to search for new compounds, identify and characterise them, and develop them into safe and effective solutions for the ever-changing needs of our customers in agriculture. Our annual spend on research is over $500 million. In Australia we maintain two dedicated research farms, at Breeza NSW and Halbury South Australia. These resources are in addition to laboratory and glasshouse facilities scattered across the country which are managed by around 80 staff across Australia.
It is critical to our success that our biology team work closely with our sales team to ensure that emerging issues make their way into research work plans. This may be as simple as a compatibility question with a new adjuvant, or as serious as managing herbicide resistance. Similarly biologists share new chemistry with sales, exploring appropriate fits for new products in multiple geographies and crops. It is this feedback loop that ensures we are always at the forefront of what is happening in the paddock. It is our people that set us apart.
Some of these people have been with us for decades. Chris Love, Development Manager for Woody Weed and Northern Crop Herbicide research projects, joined Dow in the mid 80s via a University scholarship. His current role involves managing field trials necessary to support registration of new products and/or new uses for existing products. He is also responsible for product training and for responding to ad hoc technical questions. “I really enjoy the people I engage with and the new molecules you get to test in the field to see how they will benefit the agricultural community” says Mr Love. “It has been great to watch, in particular, the Breeza R&D site expand in the last 20 years and to know the people that have been part of that success story. Looking forward, I am excited to be able to mentor the next generation of employees, to inspire them to sustain the goals, values and integrity of Dow AgroSciences to assist the agricultural community.”
John Gilmour, an employee for over three decades and current Horticulture Business Manager, reiterates this theme “I’m here because I like the people I work with and those in the industry”.
Dr Natalie Elias, a relative newcomer to the company, having joined in 2010 as a field scientist, is now leading the discovery of new molecules at the global research facility in New Zealand. Dr Elias explains “I have always loved agriculture and science, and Dow AgroSciences, to me, was a true research and development company that took pride in conducting robust and reliable scientific research – I wanted to be a part of that. They also seemed like a pretty fun bunch of people to work with. In fact, my favourite days have been the field days held at the Breeza Research site. Seeing the entrance driveway lined with utes and the opportunity to share our latest research and product offerings with local consultants was very rewarding and a lot of fun – the steak sandwiches were great too.”
Scott Blacker, Territory Sales Manager in South Australia since 2008, agrees. “I enjoy the knowledge sharing between biologists and sales people within Dow AgroSciences, and being able to trial new products in the local region with my clients. This helps them engage their growers and provide new solutions. Seeing new chemistry doing a good job in the field is a great feature of this role. I am lucky to have a pretty friendly bunch of agronomists, store staff and managers and a lot of good people with whom I deal. The knowledge within the DAS R&D network is second to none and to be able to talk to these guys freely about product queries and go back to your clients with confidence is really enjoyable and helps me keep continually learning.”
ANZ Managing Director, Peter Dryden, sums up the essence of Dow AgroSciences Australia: “We have an excellent combination of people working in various capacities in a range of locations who all share a passion for agriculture and a vision for the company. Vince Lombardi coined the phrase ‘Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work’ and this is very true for us, we’re very lucky.”