11-25-2020

Improved data quality with Easy Breed

Alexander Strube, Managing Director of Ackermann SaatzuchtAlexander Strube, Managing Director of Ackermann Saatzucht

Software for the entire plant breeding process at Ackermann Saatzucht

 

  • Easy Breed plant breeding software in use at Ackermann Saatzucht in Bavaria, Germany
  • Data quality from crosses right through to marketing as the basis for good decision-making and future commercial success

 

Ackermann Saatzucht uses Easy Breed, the new plant breeding software from WINTERSTEIGER, for its data management activities. Managing Director Alexander Strube confirms that the input, processing, and evaluation of data in the plant breeding process is one of the main factors behind his company's success. The family-run company specializes in summer and winter barley, and in 2017 won a "Top 100" award as one of the leading innovators among German SMEs.



Coping with the data deluge.

At Ackermann, the company's original approach to data management using Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, and similar tools eventually went as far as it could in terms of transparency and ease of use. Ackermann started working with the plant breeders Breun Seed GmbH, SaKa, and the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture (Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft), and since 2014 has been involved in the creation of a standard plant breeding software package. The objective was to use software to support every step in the breeding process and to manage all the data collected, whether automatically or manually, in an orderly manner. Working with the software start-up Kenomx Data Solutions, the first prototype of the Breed@KE package was ready within just 2 years, and from this has emerged today's Easy Breed plant breeding software. WINTERSTEIGER purchased the Easy Breed software in 2019, and the team in Potsdam has been further expanded.

Entire breeding cycle in Easy Breed.

“The big advantage for us is that we now have all our data in one place. Previously, we used something different for every step in the process and were constantly switching between one tool and another. Easy Breed has replaced all these various programs and spreadsheets and, with the exception of a few smaller areas, everything is now clearly visualized in Easy Breed,” explains Susanna Boxberger, Head of Pre-Breeding and R&D at Ackermann.

 

Among the work steps covered by Easy Breed are the planning of crosses and the subsequent creation of populations. Field trial planning is a further step. Randomization, physical field plans, and sowing lists are all generated very quickly. Data such as seed volume, TGW, and germination capacity are also managed and made available for field trial planning purposes. It's a simple matter to create field logs for the recording of ratings, while the subsequent importing of the ratings is automated. After the harvest, data such as the plot yield are imported into Easy Breed. The data can then be analyzed and summarized to allow promising stocks to be selected across multiple locations and years.

Beneficial side-effects: fulfill documentation requirements.

One aspect that Alexander Strube considers particularly important is that Easy Breed allows him to fulfill in parallel any new documentation requirements for the breeding material. “Previously, a lot of information was stored manually and had to be dug out laboriously whenever we needed it. Now, all the entered data can be kept up to date in Easy Breed,” commented Strube.

 

Interfaces provide flexibility and future perspectives.

Easy Breed is flexible and is being developed further. Interfaces have not been forgotten; one of the features of Easy Breed is that it can import data from different machines – anything from the seeder or the plot combine to laboratory equipment – as well as from different machine providers. “Flexibility is important right across the board. Digitalization and automation are making huge strides. As development of the software is ongoing, we know that Easy Breed will enable us to integrate data from high-tech devices such as drones or field robots in the future,” says Alexander Strube.

Strong links and highly innovative.

Ackermann is a fourth-generation family business that now specializes in the breeding of barley. As a member of Saaten-Union and with partners on every continent, the company boasts strong links. Alexander Strube also sees the networking concept at work in WINTERSTEIGER: “We really appreciate the fact that WINTERSTEIGER is looking beyond its own backyard and has taken on the further development of Easy Breed.”

 

The partnership between WINTERSTEIGER and Ackermann goes back several decades. From the use of the first plot combine prototypes from WINTERSTEIGER, which Ackermann trialed as long ago as the early 60s, through to the new Dynamic Disc Plus precision spaced planters: Ackermann Saatzucht was the first customer in the world to invest in the new precision spaced planter and provided WINTERSTEIGER with valuable feedback during the development of the machine. This intensive and trusting collaboration continues with Easy Breed.

Ackermann Saatzucht GmbH und Co. KG – facts and figures:

  • Founded: 1903
  • 31 employees, 23 of whom work in seed breeding
  • Sales: up to 10 million euros
  • Location: Irlbach, Germany
  • Family-owned company
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