Regenerative agriculture is the future

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Bayer shared its vision for the producers of the future during the company’s Crop Science Innovation Summit which was hosted in New York recently. The summit gives a glimpse into the future of agriculture and how Bayer contributes through innovation to support sustainable food production.

Rodrigo Santos, president of the Bayer Crop Science and member of the board of management of Bayer AG, said two of the most recognised globally challenges are food security and climate change. “By 2050 climate change is projected to reduce producers’ yields by 17%. In addition, there will be 20% less land that they can use for farming. By 2050 we need to feed an additional 2,2 billion people. Combined with the impact of climate change, we need to increase food and feed output by 50% for the higher demand and shifting diets.”

He said the very clear picture for agriculture is that matters need to be approached differently. ”We need to innovate the future to address these challenges. And that is where regenerative agriculture comes in. We believe regenerative agriculture is the future of this industry.”

Read more about regenerative agriculture.

Bayer defines regenerative agriculture as increasing food production, farm incomes and resilience in a changing climate while renewing nature. “Our portfolio will deliver future innovations with regenerative agriculture at the core. We will also explore new market opportunities to further allow producers to combine productivity, profitability, and sustainability benefits,” said Santos.

Producers around the globe can expect access to industry-leading innovations that not only deliver yield improvements, but which can also regenerate soil and minimise the impact of farming on the climate and environment in general. On the farm of the future, the terabytes of data captured from the field as well as the tons of carbon dioxide sequestered, will be as important to the farmer as the yield that each field produces.

Going forward, the company will focus its investment on solutions that deliver important pillars of regenerative agriculture. This includes improved productivity, social and economic wellbeing of producers and communities, conservation of water, mitigation of climate change, improved soil health as well as preservation and restoration of biodiversity.

Make a difference

Santos said Bayer can contribute and make a difference. The company can deliver regenerative agriculture at scale because of its global presence and pipeline innovation. Bayer works with millions of producers every day, has a comprehensive portfolio of farming solutions and the horsepower to back it up.

“Right now, with our seeds and trade technologies alone, Bayer reaches more than 340 million acres (138 million hectares) and in the coming years we have the ability to expand to more than 400 million acres (162 million hectares).”

“With that scale you can imagine the level of impact we can make in regenerative agriculture.” Higher yields lead to more food produced on less land, better soil health, restored biodiversity, better water conservation, and more producers who are resilient to climate change.

Read more about Bayer and Grain SA’s farmer development documentary.

Doubling accessible markets

Santos said the move to regenerative agriculture is going to drive Bayer’s growth. “Our accessible markets have a value of more than a €100 billion globally. By using the systems to unlock new opportunities, our market opportunities reach over €200 billion. That is doubling our accessible markets of today.”

The company identified growth potential in segments such as crop fertility, biologicals, biofuels, carbon farming, precision application services as well as digital platforms and marketplaces, all of which are serving the needs of agriculture, said Santos.

Embrace climate smart choices

Frank Terhorst, head of strategy and sustainability of Bayer Crop Science, said Bayer is turning its attention to regenerative agriculture, which focuses on farming for higher productivity using fewer resources and renewing ecosystems. The company wants producers to embrace climate smart choices and the best way to do that is to make them both easy, convenient, and better for them to adopt.

One of Bayer’s four strategic priorities is to clearly define and shape regenerative agriculture and bring it up to scale. “As we drive our business our 30:30:100 sustainability commitment by 2030 will manifest naturally. These commitments represent a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for producers, a 30% reduction in environmental impact of crop protection products and enabling 100 million smallholder farmers’ growth. In addition, with agriculture using up to 70% of our global freshwater withdrawals, we have our new commitment helping farmers improve water use per kilogram of rice produced by 25%, also by 2030.”

Terhorst also said the future of farming will rely on the systems of solutions. Data driven solutions will add value to producers who want to be more efficient and productive.

€2,6 billion investment in R&D

Dr Robert Reiter, head of research and development of Bayer Crop Science, said Bayer can envision the farms of the future because they are already building them. Bayer invests more than €2,6 billion annually in research and development. This investment continues to advance an innovative pipeline with an estimated peak sales potential of more than €30 billion to promote regenerative agricultural practices and enable producers to support both global food security and mitigation of climate change.

It takes all five of Bayer’s innovation platforms, breeding, biotechnology, small molecules (chemistry), biologicals, and data science to power this innovation pipeline. “It is the convergence of these innovation engines that allowed us to generate systems solutions to unlock the next layer of value and solve our most pressing challenges,” said Dr Reiter.

Bayer’s global challenges set the company’s priorities for research and development, and they shape Bayer’s innovation pipeline. If the concept does not contribute to regenerative agriculture outcome it doesn’t advance in our pipeline, said Dr Reither. – Hugo Lochner, AgriOrbit

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