Bayer driving agriculture innovation and sustainability with industry-leading pipeline and investment

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 17:00

The contribution Bayer can make to reducing world hunger and poverty is to help farmers to sustainably increase productivity and earn more income. — Photo Khue Le

Bayer has announced pipeline project advancements and about new research in a dedicated research and development (R&D) pipeline update for the crop science division.

In 2019 Bayer’s pipeline delivered 55 key project and formulation advancements while providing farmers around the world with more than 450 newly commercialised hybrids and varieties of corn, soybeans, cotton, and vegetables.

The company’s annual investment of 2.3 billion euros in crop science R&D powers the most productive pipeline in the industry.

With an estimated peak sales value of 30 billion euros, Bayer regularly converts its R&D investment into innovative products that match the complexities farmers, consumers and the planet are expected to face.

“At Bayer, we are driven to help solve some of the world's toughest challenges,” Liam Condon, member of the company’s board of management and president of the Crop Science Division, said.

“In agriculture, this means helping feed the world without starving our planet. Farmers with operations of all sizes need innovation not only to grow enough nutritious food, but also to do this in a sustainable manner that respects our planetary boundaries.

“Our employees are united around this goal, and our unrivaled pipeline is delivering against it.”

Bayer’s leadership is built on an innovation strategy that balances both incremental and disruptive approaches to R&D. With unmatched expertise across seeds and traits, crop protection and digital agriculture, Bayer invests in improving high-performing products customers already benefit from today while also imagining new ways to farm.

Novel advancements

Bayer announced a new herbicide molecule, the first new post-emergence mode of action for broad acre weed control in 30 years.

Multiple MOAs for weed control are important for managing herbicide resistance and enabling practices that help to sequester greenhouse gases, like no-till farming.

Discovering new herbicide MOAs has been a challenge for the industry, but Bayer’s continued investment, leading compound library and advanced screening capabilities have enabled a breakthrough.

Bayer announced a molecule in phase 2 of early development that has demonstrated effective control of key resistant grasses in early research.

The work demonstrates progress towards the company’s long-term commitment to investing approximately 5 billion euros in additional methods to combat weeds over the next decade. Discovery of this molecule is being complemented by a discovery-phase program to identify and develop a corresponding biotechnology trait to convey herbicide tolerance and initial approaches are under evaluation.

Bayer’s short-statured corn is expected to provide environmental sustainability benefits through a transformational shift in crop management flexibility. Because it is several feet shorter than today’s hybrid field corn, it allows farmers to have better in-season crop access for precision applications of inputs, such as nitrogen, which can be made when the plant needs them most. Some short stature corn hybrids can also be planted closer together, enabling the production of more corn on the same amount of land and potentially reducing the requirements of land and water. Shorter stature will also help improve standability, including better green snap and stalk lodging tolerance, helping reduce crop loss from challenging environmental conditions such as high winds from extreme weather.

Bayer announced that both the breeding and bio-technology approaches to create short stature corn are advancing to Phase 3, and also unveiled a third pathway to short stature corn, a discovery phase project that has achieved proof of concept through gene editing.

Converting R&D into tailored, value-added solutions for farmers

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to farming. Every combination of products must be tailored to meet the needs of each customer’s field. Digital tools deepen understanding of those needs, accelerating Bayer’s ability to help farmers with individualised challenges.

The Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platform, now available in more than 20 countries, continues to lead the industry with its comprehensive, connected suite of tools that help farmers make data-driven decisions to increase their productivity.

Adoption of the platform has quickly accelerated due to the value farmers around the globe find in the technology, and FieldView’s™ innovation in turning data into actionable insights has led farmers to connect more than 95 million acres globally of their farm data to the platform, making it the leader in data connectivity.

Bayer’s breeding advantage is the product of sophisticated breeding techniques, data science, and digital analytics platforms in concert with the world’s largest germplasm library. Novel applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to improve the speed and scale at which we can arrive at the best products to meet each grower’s needs. Identifying the best possible products earlier in the pipeline enables more extensive field testing in diverse conditions and more valuable product insights collected over the course of product development. This data supports the success of the new hybrids and varieties we deliver to farmers each year. In corn, this has translated to Bayer’s leading position in five of the six key corn geographies worldwide.

Bayer’s innovation focuses on producing more on each acre, reducing the environmental impact of farming, and enabling better-informed decisions through data.

The company’s commitment to sustainability also includes making innovation available and applicable to farmers with operations of all sizes all over the world.

“We are converting R&D into solutions for farmers that enhance productivity, create new value and reduce the use of inputs necessary to produce a crop,” Bob Reiter, head of R&D at the Crop Science Division, said.

“Thanks to our leading positions across technology platforms, Bayer is best positioned to discover, combine and tailor solutions – serving unmet needs and imagining new ways to farm – and that’s a win for farmers, consumers and our planet.” — VNS

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