In 2013, Bayer CropScience invested €857 million (2012: €779 million) in research and development, which was 26.9% of R&D spending in the Bayer Group and equivalent to 9.7% (2012: 9.3%) of CropScience sales.
CropScience maintains a global network of research and development facilities employing some 4,700 people. Our largest R&D sites for chemical and biological crop protection products are located in Monheim and Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Lyon, France; and Davis, California, United States. The major research centers of the Seeds unit, which focuses on improving seed through seed technology and breeding, are located in Ghent, Belgium; Haelen, Netherlands; and Morrisville / Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. While research is carried out centrally at a small number of sites, our development and plant breeding activities take place both at these sites and at numerous field testing stations across the globe. This ensures that future active substances and crop varieties can be tested according to specific regional requirements.
We plan to launch several more new products based on biological and chemical crop protection mechanisms in the coming years. For example, in 2014 we plan to introduce an insecticide to control nematodes under the Verango™ and Velum™ trademarks. In 2015 we expect to launch a further insecticide under the Sivanto™ brand, a new insecticide class to control sucking insects, and begin marketing the herbicide Council™ and a biological fungicide.
Research in our Seeds unit is devoted to optimizing plant traits. We are developing new varieties in our existing core crops – cotton, oilseed rape / canola, rice and vegetables. We have now expanded our research activities to include two new core crops – wheat and soybeans. Our work focuses on improving the agronomic traits of these crops. Our researchers are working to increase the quality and yield potential of crop plants – for example, by improving the profile of rapeseed (canola) oil or enhancing the properties of cotton fibers. We are also targeting the development of plants that have high tolerance against external stress factors such as drought and can better utilize water. Further areas of focus include developing new herbicide tolerance technologies based on alternative modes of action, and improving insect resistance and disease tolerance. To do this we employ modern breeding techniques ranging from marker-assisted breeding to plant biotechnology methods.
With many crops, such as vegetables, major success can be achieved using conventional plant breeding methods. As vegetables are mostly intended to be marketed and eaten fresh, merchants and consumers have particularly strict requirements regarding their appearance, nutrient content, taste and shelf life. We are launching a succession of new vegetable seed varieties that satisfy these requirements.
Our integrated product pipeline for crop protection and seed technology contains more than 25 individual projects, along with numerous new seed varieties and improved products, that have estimated launch dates between 2011 and 2016. We believe these products have a combined peak sales potential in excess of €4 billion. Crop Protection plans to have launched around 10 products during this period. In our Seeds business, we plan to bring some 15 projects to market maturity for the broad-acre crops of cotton, oilseed rape / canola, rice, wheat and soybeans, along with several hundred new vegetable varieties, over the same period.