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The journey toward regenerative agriculture has already begun
At Bayer, we know that no two fields are alike, and that farmers need solutions that will work in tandem to address their challenges and optimize their yields. That’s why we focus on creating innovations that are flexible enough for each grower’s needs and can work as systems that can be fine-tuned to the unique needs of their fields—from high-performing seeds at planting to the crop protection and digital tools they use to manage their fields every day.
With our industry-leading investment in research & development and a commitment to delivering digitally enabled tools to meet the individual needs of growers around the globe, we’re poised to bring cutting-edge technologies and next-generation solutions to life.
Regenerative agriculture starts with a commitment to innovation. Our R&D priorities are driven by farmers’ needs for integrated, effective solutions that help them combat crop threats and maximize productivity, all while reducing environmental impact and optimizing farm productivity around the world.
Through Bayer’s global breeding program, we are driving benefits like increased yield and improved nutritional quality to consumers by designing seeds that are more resilient for an ever-changing climate. These benefits are foundational to support regenerative agriculture practices and give farmers the tools to produce more with less.
Our elite Bayer germplasm in corn, soy, cotton, vegetables, canola, wheat, and rice crops is constantly improved using advanced breeding tools. Bayer integrates biotech, gene edited, and native traits to create the next generation of crop offerings with capabilities that meet the evolving needs of our customers.
Bayer’s breeding platform is building incredible value for growers and currently manages around 65 active biotech and native traits, and 138 trait packages across crops in the breeding pipeline.
To be able to handle this kind of complexity each product that we advance through the breeding pipeline goes through an average of 140 data science models through commercialization.
The thousands of new products that we have in development replenish a portfolio that includes over 1,500 global corn hybrids and 850 soy hybrids in North America alone.
Precision Breeding will accelerate the development of new products while making them far more tailored to our customers’ fields and needs.
We’re not just using these tools to quantify customer preference, but also to combine those insights with multi-level data sets, and deep genomic understanding of our germplasm so that we can anticipate desired characteristics for our next-generation corn hybrids.
With precision breeding capabilities, we expect to reduce one breeding cycle from 6 years to 4 months – more than doubling our rate of genetic gain by 2030. This approach represents one of the most transformational changes in the history of plant breeding.
Bayer has more than 50 years of experience working with rice farmers in crop protection, providing an effective and integrated weed management system. Through our Arize hybrids, which are 40% of the small, but growing direct-seeded rice market in India, we’ll continue to build on our direct seed rice share – all while improving our offerings through precision breeding to boost yields. Rounding out our Direct Seeded Rice system is our digital platform, FarmRise, which helps create awareness, educate and advise farmers to make better agronomic decisions. DSR is also expected to reduce water use by up to 40%, reduce CO2 emissions by 45% and reduce methane emissions by 85%. Through broadscale adoption, this will go a long way to meeting our goal of improving water use per kilo of crop by 25% in 2030 by transforming the rice cropping system.
In the U.S., Bayer’s top Deltapine cotton varieties see a 70 pound of lint per acre advantage versus top-planted competitor varieties. It’s important to remember that extra yield is not just a number; it can be clothing that farmers otherwise wouldn’t be able to supply without putting more land into production.
Regenerative agriculture means doing more with less while still providing the yields that customers around the world need. The extra yield our top varieties generate means that growers are supplying a cotton equivalent of an additional shirt and pair of jeans for 33 people for each acre they farm.
Bayer Crop Science is the undisputed leader of plant biotechnology. Over the last 27 years we have launched more than 65 biotech traits – more than any other company – enabling farmers to grow crops like corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola with game-changing capabilities on around 300 million acres annually.
The value of the product offerings we bring to markets around the world is well recognized by growers because of the combination of these capabilities and our leading germplasm. This mix supports greater than 10 billion euros in annual seed and trait sales, which includes 2.6 billion euros from licensing alone.
Through expertise in four key technologies – gene, protein, RNA, and genome – Bayer replenishes and improves our trait offerings and biotech pipeline; even creating the largest multi-gene stacks for growers.
CoverCress is a powerful example of the capabilities of biotechnology. Using multiple gene edits and advanced breeding tools, our partner CoverCress was able to improve the oil profile, protein content, and yield of field penny cress very quickly.
These improvements to quality and processing characteristics meant that penny cress was effectively converted from a common weed into a novel cash cover crop with the potential to serve as a low-carbon renewable feed stock for the growing biofuel market.
Cover crops help store carbon in the soil, while improving soil health by increasing organic matter and contributing to healthy field microbiomes.
Last year in the US Bayer launched SmartStax Pro with RNAi technology against corn rootworms to fight against corn rootworm with state of the art technology.
Corn rootworm is an insidious pest because, as the name suggests, it damages roots where it’s hard to see until it’s too late. That means that all the inputs growers use, from water to fertilizer, are not utilized as effectively, reducing efficiency for lost yield and profitability.
Small changes in rootworm control can have a large impact in the field. In our trials, for a 200 bushel per acre field, a root injury level that we saw with one of our top competitor’s products could result in a 29 bushel per acre loss.
Bayer traits don’t just protect yield from insect and weed pressure, they enable regenerative agriculture practices; transforming what Bayer innovates in our labs into flexibility and options for on-farm success.
When growers have herbicide tolerant crops, they have the flexibility to control weeds without tilling them under, reducing soil compaction and topsoil erosion while improving carbon sequestration. Our herbicide-tolerant crops have enabled no-till and conservation tillage practices by allowing excellent pre-plant and in-season weed control in lieu of deep plowing before planting.
Sustainable Small Molecules
Bayer Crop Science is a leader in global crop protection, a position we have earned by innovating new options that help growers address pest, disease, and weed challenges, and by driving our leading crop protection portfolio to sales of more than 13 billion euros in 2022.
Bayer holds the number one position in herbicides, the number two position in fungicides, and the number three position in insecticides and we advanced nine new actives in 2022 in a crop protection pipeline with peak sales potential of more than 9 billion euros.
Our innovation approach to crop protection is already allowing us to find the newest generation of crop protection solutions like Plenexos; but we are pushing beyond established standards, to unlock a new benchmark in the industry for designing the next generation of sustainable crop protection solutions through the CropKey approach to crop protection discovery.
CropKey is an entirely new approach to the discovery of crop protection products which will allow Bayer Crop Science to reach new levels in precision and sustainability while being exceptionally effective.
With CropKey we are designing molecules based on Profile Driven Discovery. This allows us to create solutions based on pre-defined safety and sustainability profiles that go above and beyond current standards and that interact in well-defined prescribed pathways. In fact, we now have more than 30 potential new molecular targets under investigation in discovery, and we’ve validated more than 10 targets as new Modes of Action in early research, all arising from this new CropKey discovery approach.
Bayer has announced two new modes of action designed using the CropKey approach that are being brought from conception to reality in record time.
First, for fruits and vegetables we have designed a unique broad-spectrum fungicide with a new mode of action and performance above commercial standards. Now in phase 2, this fungicide shows potential for control of key relevant leaf spot fungi, diseases like botrytis, anthracnosis, and powdery mildew.
Another product of this approach is our previously announced new herbicide molecule, which is the first new herbicide mode of action for broadacre post-emergent weed control in 30 years.
The challenges that growers face continue to demonstrate clearly that we must drive flexibility and respond quickly to new pressures in order to continue to feed the Earth’s growing population. Crop protection tools directly ensure farmers can feed the world, as crop protection safeguards around 30 percent of yields worldwide – that’s 550 million tons, or the equivalent of food for more than 2 billion people.
Bayer’s crop protection products safeguard row crops like corn, wheat, rice and soy, but also fruit and vegetable crops across the world – ensuring that growers can bring nutritious quality products to their customers.
Not long-ago biological options were thought of only as microbials, but the reality is that the biologicals industry is expanding rapidly in many different directions. This includes new kinds of nature-derived biocontrol and biostimulant solutions like pheromone products, botanicals and plant extracts, and even synthetic biology.
Biologicals offer paths to new solutions, such as using synthetic biology to bring nitrogen fixing microbes to corn, wheat, or rice – food security crops that do not currently fix nitrogen from the air, but one day could.
Bayer is already shaping and growing the biologics segment as the preferred R&D development and commercial partner. We are positioned to build on our trusted brand, regulatory expertise, and global commercialization capabilities to bring new products to market more quickly. Partners who would otherwise only be able to impact thousands of growers alone, will be able to reach millions of growers with Bayer.
Regenerative agriculture is more important than ever and biologicals will be a big part of regenerative ag fertility programs.
Currently, agriculture accounts for about 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has increased global agricultural production by the equivalent of food for over 3.5 billion people but creating that fertilizer accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions alone.
Nitrogen fixing technologies offer a potential path forward by reducing the need for carbon-intensive synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, while maintaining global food production capacities – the best of both worlds.
Regenerative agriculture is more important than ever and biologicals will be a big part of regenerative ag fertility programs. Currently, agriculture accounts for about 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has increased.
Vynyty Citrus is an innovative device - a container with an active liquid inside - that does not encourage residues in harvests or the environment. It replicates the mating pheromones of the South African cotonet to attract males of the species, who are then killed by the pyrethrin built into the device.
Vynyty Press – distributed by Bayer through our partnership with M2i – interrupts the mating behavior of target pests to stop them from finding mates and creating larval insects that damage crops. They’re a great way for growers of stone and pome fruits like peaches apples and pears, as well as tomato and grape growers, to integrate biomimicry-based pest controls into their pest management systems.
Bayer expects the overall market for biologicals to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of around 7%, more than doubling in size to 30 billion euros by 2035. With Bayer’s capabilities, open innovation approach and market reach, we expect to grow the company’s biological sales with a CAGR of 17 percent, significantly outgrowing the market over the same period.
Within that rapidly growing market, Bayer expects our sales of biological products to grow to more than 1.5 billion euros, a more than seven-fold increase versus the company’s 200 million euros sales baseline in 2022.
Digital and Carbon Frontiers
Digital tools and data have been transforming agriculture decades. The early promise of analytics and software tools in labs and greenhouses helped us to find genetic markers hidden among millions of bytes of data. Then new and effective digital tools moved on farm with FieldView, and we developed new ways for growers to make decisions about their farm armed with data far beyond what the eye can see.
But there’s a new frontier being explored right now. What started in the labs as a tool to build best-in-class seeds and traits, and then grew to the farm where it provided actionable insights, is now being transformed again – going beyond the farm and into the value chain.
Agriculture is a complex industry, and we’ve all spent the last 20+ years figuring out ways to create and formalize data. We’re now in an age of digitization where creating and leveraging useful data to provide advice, build confidence, and help growers share in the value chain is the name of the game.
Bayer’s industry leading Climate FieldView platform of digital tools now reaches more than 220 million subscribed acres across 23 countries. With the addition of Australia, FieldView is now live across five continents.
U.S. FieldView customers have a 9% higher retention rate, a 3.4% higher net promoter score, and a 3.7% higher seeding rate than non-FieldView users. Where Bayer can help growers identify opportunities that are meaningful to their farms, they are more likely to stay with Bayer products, tell their friends about Bayer, and use more Bayer products to support their profitability – effectively increasing Bayer’s share of farm.
Started as a joint venture between Bayer, Bravium, and Yara in 2019, Orbia grew from its initial market of Brazil, and has now expanded to Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.
Orbia has become Brazil’s main agricultural marketplace. Not main digital marketplace, but its main agricultural marketplace full-stop. The Orbia platform is meant for all growers and has become the largest loyalty program in Brazilian agribusiness, with over 270,000 growers across LATAM. More impressively, Orbia users in Brazil cover about 75 percent of planted areas.
The platform provides integrated benefits for users through a loyalty program, but also enables online purchases and sales of agricultural inputs and commodities.
One of the main obstacles for useful data is interoperability. Another is the investment it takes to create unique digital tools. We’re working with Microsoft to attack both of those issues, with the Azure Data Manager for Agriculture. This partnership capitalizes on our companies’ strengths: Microsoft is the global pure-play technology leader with experience launching cloud solutions across industries and scaling those technologies globally through a common digital infrastructure; Bayer brings decades of agriculture experience, ready-made capabilities, and best-in-class agronomic modeling.
Bayer is committed to setting a new standard for the industry in data-driven innovation we are excited about the interest we have received across the industry. We all recognize the opportunities that can be created across the ag value chain.