Hi, everyone. My name is Robert Brinkmann, and I manage the Agronomic Operations department of Bayer’s Crop Science division, which conducts field tests around the world for the development of new crop protection products and innovative solutions. I’m responsible for the global network of test sites for developing crop protection products in all markets important to Bayer. It is my job to harmonize and monitor field testing quality and plan the global testing capacities and capabilities in the various countries. In addition, I’m responsible for the warehouse management and global distribution of test samples.
After training as a nursery gardener, I studied horticulture in Hannover then completed a PhD in plant pathology. I grew up around agriculture and always had pleasant experiences with Bayer on our own farm. So, after three years working as an assistant professor, I decided to leave academia and enter industry by joining Bayer in 1991, where I began working in product development, managing the development of new fungicides.
Exciting development opportunities for agricultural scientists and biologists
Now, almost 30 years later, I have taken on a global position with contacts spread all over the world. For instance, I’m in direct contact with colleagues from a wide range of countries, such as France, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, the South-East Asian countries, Japan and China.
A major part of our job is testing experimental compounds derived from biological research – from the greenhouse, effectively – under local and regional growing and climate conditions, and, in doing so, testing their effectiveness against local diseases, pests and weeds. Take, for example, banana diseases – these simply do not occur in Germany. In order to find the appropriate crop protection products here, we have to put our new substances through a thorough examination on site, e.g. in Costa Rica. At Bayer, this is all the responsibility of the Agronomic Solutions and Agronomic Operations functions. Here in Monheim, I’m responsible for coordinating the global field trial planning and thus ensuring the efficient use of test capacities worldwide. I’m also in charge of providing the countries with test samples. We offer agricultural scientists and biologists a variety of exciting opportunities to start and develop their careers in these fields. One of the entry-level positions we have is that of a field trial engineer (field agronomist), who is responsible for field tests. Applicants with doctorates also have a very good chance of joining the company as product development managers. Those who enjoy working more closely with customers can join Bayer as sales advisors, working in one of our regional sales areas here in Germany in daily contact with our farmers and wholesalers.
One of the most exciting tasks right now is, of course, developing innovative solutions for agriculture in the context of digitalization. For instance, we want to see that, for example, fields of winter wheat no longer have to be sprayed over large areas to control weeds, and instead are only treated selectively in those specific areas where the problem occurs. This will ultimately lead to reduced and more efficient use of crop protection products.
My career thus far has been full of variety. Over the years, I’ve taken on several roles, including managing a test site, working in Italy for several years and in Costa Rica for four, and traveling to over 40 countries for Bayer alone.
For me, this internationality is what makes Bayer an outstanding employer. It’s really enjoyable to address the fascinating questions of our society with colleagues from different countries and cultures, drive things forward and develop innovative solutions for better agriculture. It’s never boring, and there’s always something new to learn.
Bayer Crop Science is the perfect place for anyone who is passionate about agricultural innovations and has academic training in agricultural sciences or biology (ideally with knowledge of plant pathology paired with data science skills). Practical skills and experience in agriculture or horticulture significantly improve your chances of employment.
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