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- Sustainable Agriculture in practice: Bayer Forward Farms
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At their core, weeds are plants that crave the same sunlight, water and nutrients as their crop counterparts. However, in the race to produce enough food for a growing planet, weeds are nothing more than an obstacle. Left uncontrolled, weeds can take over a field and ruin growers' chances for a bountiful harvest.
Bayer has partnered for many years with farmers, weed scientists, retailers, applicators and other agricultural stakeholders to implement integrated weed management programs which promote a combination of diverse chemical and non-chemical control methods. In addition, Bayer is raising the bar and has committed to invest approximately 5 billion Euros in a comprehensive and future-oriented approach regarding weed management.
Through new modes of action, digital technologies and agronomic practices, we aim to provide growers around the world with new and innovative weed management services that support their short- and long-term needs and goals.
Reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture
Herbicides are one of the tools farmers depend on to fight invasive plants in their fields. Herbicides are often used before planting to help clear a cover crop or weeds, but also after planting when used in conjunction with safeners or herbicide-tolerant crops. Farmers consider several factors including crops grown, season, weather, and weed pressure when deciding which type of herbicide is best and when to spray.
Knowing that every field, crop, and farmer is different; each with their own needs, challenges, and goals – Bayer provides farmers with a wide array of herbicides. As part of product stewardship, Bayer also provides farmers with agronomic best practices and training to ensure the appropriate safe use of herbicides. In addition, farmers use advanced technologies like GPS guided sprayers and precision application sprayers to ensure they’re spraying the right amount in the right place at the right time.
Synthetic chemical herbicides, first introduced in the 1940s, have helped farmers protect their fields against damaging weeds. Further innovation and testing of these herbicides has led to more targeted solutions that help reduce the environmental impact of agriculture by enabling no-till and reduced tillage practices.
When used in combination with digital tools and data-driven field insights, the impact of chemical weed control on the environment can be further reduced. The ability to create more targeted, precise application of herbicides allows farmers to be more productive on their land, reducing the need to expand land usage, and lowering the impact of herbicides on non-targeted plants.
Bayer understands the importance of protecting our environment and the health of the ecosystems. This is why environmental safety is a guiding principle in our product development and the responsible use of our products is in our highest interest. We test our products in a wide range of test systems under different conditions and high international standards to prevent unacceptable effects to the environment. In addition to environmental testing our herbicide products also go through rigorous safety testing to assess impact on human health.
Herbicides are just one tool farmers have at their disposal when fighting weeds. When combined with high-quality seeds and the latest scientific developments in an integrated weed management approach, herbicides help farmers grow enough with less environmental impact.
/// Comprehensive solutions
Integrated Weed Management
We offer farmers sustainable Integrated Weed Management (IWM) programs to help guide them through science-based, best practices for crop protection and herbicide stewardship. These programs are designed as customized agronomic solutions built to show farmers that “It Pays Off” to take a holistic approach to weed management through diversified tactics like crop rotation, cover crop planting, utilizing multiple modes of action, and other cultural and mechanical practices such as harvest weed seed control (HWSC).
Incorporating a combination of weed management measures helps to sustain weed control systems over time and maintain farms’ ability to provide productive harvests while protecting the soil.
/// Farming techniques
Weed prevention and soil improvement with cover crops
The use of cover crops is one way to prevent weeds from taking root in a field. Cover crops are crops planted between growing seasons of a farmer’s primary crop to keep invasive plants from taking root in their fields as well as improve their soil’s health. These crops affect weeds much like weeds do primary crops, by robbing them of the sunlight and nutrients needed for growth. Cover crops, like grasses and legumes, can also help farmers more effectively use fertilizer and crop protection products during the growing season.
Over time, a cover crop regimen has the potential to increase soil organic matter, leading to improvements in soil structure and stability, and increased moisture and nutrient holding capacity for plant growth. The organic matter left behind from cover crops can also increase water infiltration and reduce evaporation, keeping water where crops need it.