Demonstrating Sustainable Agriculture in Practice
In collaboration with farmers and other partners, the Bayer ForwardFarming initiative enables knowledge sharing about modern and sustainable agriculture through first-hand experiences on independent farms around the world.
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Farmers’ livelihoods are increasingly challenged by the changing climate, limited natural resources, and growing societal demands. Together with farmers, we continually seek to move agriculture forward, with our eyes on a more sustainable future. This comes to life through Bayer ForwardFarming, a knowledge platform that fosters dialogue and showcases on-farm sustainable practices with farmers.
On ForwardFarms around the world, farmers, value chain partners, academia, scientists and civil society engage in dialogue and experience modern sustainable agriculture first-hand.
Across the ForwardFarming network, Bayer partners with independent farmers to show how tailored solutions, modern tools and practices, proactive stewardship measures and partnerships are enabling farmers to run successful businesses, while providing enough food for a growing world, and in a way that preserves the environment.
Independent and ambitious, ForwardFarmers help foster understanding, development and implementation of sustainable agriculture by sharing innovations and insights with fellow farmers, consumers and many other stakeholders alike.
They share the belief that economic and ecologic sustainability are inseparable in agriculture. And that strong partnerships add value to their efforts to produce enough high-quality food, while at the same time preserving farmland, biodiversity and natural resources such as water and soil.
Each ForwardFarm is unique in the crops it grows, the land it farms and the community it serves, but the farmers share a passion for advancing sustainable and modern agriculture.
The ForwardFarming know-how
Bayer ForwardFarming provides an up-close look at how farmers are practicing sustainable agriculture around the world. ForwardFarmers deploy technologies and best practices that reduce agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions, lessen the environmental impact of crop protection, promote biodiversity and conserve natural resources. On the ForwardFarms, progress made towards the Crop Science sustainability commitments truly comes to life.
Farming with care
Bayer ForwardFarming demonstrates solutions that support sustainability in agriculture across the following three pillars:
1. Care for crops
Every farm is different, and every field within a successful farming operation is unique. As a result, every solution should be tailored to meet the needs of the individual farmer and their specific field—from the right seeds and traits to the correct type and amount of crop protection to the digital tools and services that inform good decision making. ForwardFarming demonstrates a holistic, tailored approach for healthy crops, harvests and ecosystems.
Seeds & Traits
With the availability of thousands of varieties of seed and many other important variables to consider, selecting the right seed for a field is one of the most important decisions a farmer can make.
Crop Protection Products
Chemical and biological crop protection products combine to protect against weeds, pests, and diseases. Other measures and decision support tools help to optimize the applications and allow farmers to apply only as much as is truly needed.
Digital Tools & Services
From advanced weather monitoring to satellite remote sensing, digital technology enables farmers to take advantage of the data at their fingertips. Data science transforms traditional practices into an integrated system focused on sustainable use. Real-time data drives the precise application of resources, and state-of-the-art software allows for quick, easy analysis of crop management and protection.
2. Care for human health and the environment
ForwardFarming promotes and demonstrates proactive stewardship to protect human health and preserve the environment. Examples include: addressing the safe and responsible use of crop protection products; soil health, biodiversity, and water conservation; and offering training in all of these areas.
Safe Use of Crop Protection Products
Ensuring the responsible handling and application of products is an essential part of farming safety. ForwardFarming serves as a demonstration and knowledge exchange for farmers and other stakeholders to share, learn, and adopt best practices to keep themselves safe and continue to produce enough food.
For farmer support, Bayer provides an online tool called BAYER DRESSCODE with information about personal protection. Bayer has also developed a new closed system device called easyFlow®. This device allows operators to measure and translocate crop protection products without being exposed to them.
Enhancement of Natural Habitat
On each farm, coexistence with the natural surroundings is important not only for the environment, but for the health of the crops. Depending on the local habitat and species, farms implement diverse features including:
- Mixed plant hedges act as a windshield for fruit crops and help prevent spray drift.
- Flowering strips and mixed hedges ensure that bees, wild pollinators, and other beneficial insects have food and shelter throughout the year when active.
- Nesting boxes are provided for small birds and resting places for predatory birds.
- Insect hotels provide habitat and encourage activity, especially by wild pollinators.
- Open plots allow skylarks to land and build their nests in the surrounding fields.
Water Protection and Conservation
Water is one of our most valuable resources. Regardless of the activity, using and preserving water in a responsible manner is in the farmer’s and the environment’s best interest.
- One example is the Phytobac™ system used on ForwardFarms to ensure safe disposal and cleaning of wastewater. Residue water collected from a designated cleaning area is distributed slowly over a basin filled with a soil and straw mixture. Microorganisms in the soil remove chemical residue, and the clean water evaporates.
3. Care for partnership
Bayer FowardFarming partners with food and value chain participants, research centers and universities, and industry leaders to create space for dialogue and demonstration – connecting farmers with the communities around them and beyond.
Just a few examples of partnerships established by current ForwardFarms include:
- University of Gent (Belgium)
- Internet of Food & Farming 2020 (Netherlands)
- Fraunhofer Chile Research (Chile)
- Stiftung Rheinische Kulturlandschaft (Germany)
- De Ruiter Experience Center (Netherlands)
The global Bayer ForwardFarming network
Bayer ForwardFarms are representative of the global diversity of crops and the ecosystems that support them.
26+ farms—and counting
13+ countries in the ForwardFarming network
33,000+ ForwardFarm visits
28+ types of fruits, vegetables, and grains cultivated