At Bright Maize, we think one of the biggest advantages of buying from us is our strong business partnership with French seed producer and agricultural cooperative Mas Seeds. At Bright Maize we look for suppliers who are fully committed to UK growers, and who have a strong commitment to research and development (R&D). Mas Seeds ticks all these boxes and more.
Mas Seeds is part of the Maïsadour cooperative group. And that’s important because it means that the company is managed by and for farmers. Maïsadour is run on the principle of ‘one man one vote’. The board of directors – the company’s chief decision-making body – comprises farmers elected by their peers. This sets them apart from other large international agribusiness companies because it means that the organisation is driven not by profit, but by values, and by a desire to provide other farmers with the best possible conditions in which to develop their business.
The Maïsadour Group was initially created in 1936, in South West France, and it first created its seed branch – Maïsadour Semences – in 1949. The group was initially founded to supply high quality, advanced maize hybrids to the French market. Today, renamed to Mas Seeds, Maïsadour’s seed branch is a global company in its own right, and the product range has expanded to include sunflower, oilseed rape, alfalfa and many other types of seeds.
World-leading research and development
Mas Seeds spends 15% of its turnover on R&D, which is an exceptionally large amount both by the standards of the agribusiness industry and of the economy as a whole. Many international companies spend 5% or less on R&D work, and few spend more than 10%. This money pays for top seed scientists, and for leading research technology. But it’s not all about the money. Mas Seeds also invests huge amounts of time in R&D, with an average development period of 8-15 years for a maize hybrid.
The aim is to combine genetic footprints with molecular markers and field testing to create the world’s most advanced seed hybrids. The company has six breeding objectives: improving silage quality; increasing yield and stability; adapting genetic material for different environmental conditions; growing resistance to pests and diseases; refining overall product quality across a range of characteristics such as oil content and composition; and improving key plant characteristics such as height and flowering time.
Mas Seeds has research centres in France, Germany, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Burkina Faso in West Africa. The R&D agronomy division maintains eight research stations and 230 testing sites across Europe, including 110 isolated fields for experimental seed production. Meanwhile, the R&D genomics division analyses 400,000 DNA extracts per year, maintaining 48,000 nursery lines.
Quality seed production
Mas Seeds maintains three main production areas: in France, Spain and Ukraine. Each area has a factory, a laboratory and a seed producer network, and Mas also works with complimentary production partners in Turkey, Italy and Hungary to ensure a rock solid production base. The company has decades of production experience, and their highly automated production facilities are state of the art. Overall average production figures are three million seed bags per year. To read about how Bright Maize took a group of recent clients to Mas Seeds’ Ukraine facility, check out this recent article.
Digital and agricultural solutions
Mas Seeds recognises that farmers growing maize for silage are a vital part of their customer base and they have designed the innovative Nutriplus program to help growers to increase the nutritional effectiveness of their feed mixes. Nutriplus is a 4-step plan comprising:
- Comprehensive, on-farm diagnostics
- Selection of the most suitable varieties
- Securing field establishment and optimizing yield
- A successful forage harvest and storage process
Mas Seeds also have a digital tool which can be used by maize silage farmers to aid forage production.
To learn more about Mas Seeds’ Nutriplus program click here.