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Crop protection is the collection of tools, products, and practices farmers use to defend their crops against weeds, disease and harmful insects and fungi. These pests, which rob plants of water, sunlight and nutrients, can have a devastating impact on food production. Farmers around the world make multiple decisions each season on how best to protect their crops. Fortunately, advances in modern agriculture provide them with a variety of solutions.
The Crop Protection Toolbox
There is no singular approach to crop protection. Farmers today have a diverse toolbox at their disposal to minimize damage from pests, including state-of-the-art chemical and biological products, advanced data analytics, and precision technologies. While these tools are individually powerful, combining them in an agronomic approach tailored to farmers’ specific challenges enhances their effectiveness while minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture.
At Bayer, we bring a 100+ year track record in research and solutions with global crop protection products to manage weeds, disease and harmful insects and fungi. Our robust crop protection portfolio also includes natural solutions, such as biologicals, that use nature’s own defenses to protect crops.
Crop Protection Innovations
As modern agriculture continues to evolve, so do our tools for managing weeds, insects, and disease. Crop management software, data science, precision farming technology, and soil health and nutrient management techniques are all ways technology is driving crop protection in modern agriculture. Chemical and biological crop protection products, nutrient management, and soil health practices are enhanced by data science, which 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.
A weed is the wrong plant, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Weeds compete with crops for nutrients in the soil, water in the ground, and access to sunlight. To protect their crops, farmers must spend a great deal of time and effort preventing these invasive plants from taking root and potentially spreading.
Using only one tool from the crop protection toolbox, such as a single herbicide, can encourage species of weeds to develop resistance to that tool. To prevent such resistance from developing while still fighting invasive weeds, farmers use a combination of approaches, or an integrated weed management plan. Cover crops and precise use of inputs like water, fertilizer and herbicides all contribute to a farmer’s integrated weed management plan.
Farmers often use integrated pest management to monitor, treat, and prevent insect damage. Integrated pest management is a strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests and their damage through a combination of techniques such as crop scouting and rotation, biological control, targeted habitat management like increased plant diversity, modification of irrigation and tilling methods, and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and resistant crop varieties.
Plant Disease Management
Farmers are using microbial seed treatments, GMOs, and traditional plant breeding techniques to combat the spread of disease through their crops. Microbes are found in nature and plants have always used them to thrive. In agriculture, we are developing products containing microbes that can be applied to the surface of seeds to complement — or provide an alternative to — chemical agricultural products. In addition to these seed treatments, farmers also rely on traditional plant breeding and biotechnology to create crops more likely to thrive despite disease pressure.
Solutions Tailored to Farmers’ Specific Needs
We offer a broad range of chemical, biological and data-driven solutions to help farmers safely and responsibly protect their crops from pests such as weeds, disease and harmful insects and fungi. Our diverse and growing portfolio provides farmers with the latest technology and a wide range of choices for their crop protection needs. This includes innovations such as glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in the Roundup® brand of agricultural herbicides, Luna® fungicides, GMOs), agricultural biologicals such as microbials, and digital tools like the Climate FieldView™ platform. We also work collaboratively with farmers to offer tailored solutions – including agronomic recommendations - based on the specific needs of their fields, crops and soil to defend against pests, help ensure productive harvests and improve soil health, all while protecting our natural resources.