By Matt Villano
It’s a difficult fact: Hunger is everywhere.
According to the most recent United Nations estimates, between 720 and 811 million people went hungry in 2020. The organization’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report indicates that high costs and low affordability also mean billions of individuals around the globe cannot eat nutritiously. And right here at home specifically, 10.5 percent of U.S. households were food insecure at some point in 2020, reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Blame it on distribution bottlenecks, rising food prices, grain shortages, the energy crises, and climate change—our global food system today is deeply flawed.
Encouragingly though, many people are committed to fighting the problem by leveraging technology to make a difference in food security at home and abroad. The work that the team at Bayer, one of the leading life-sciences companies in the U.S., is doing is a standout example of this effort. By working with biotech organizations, Bayer is helping to create more resilient, resource-efficient, and carbon-smart solutions that will help increase productivity and help minimize harvest loss.
Innovation for every nation
Today, accelerating innovation means leveraging technology, data, and human insights. Bayer is actively pursuing all three of these pillars in its quest for a more sustainable future. FieldView™, the company’s flagship digital farming product, helps farmers sustainably increase their productivity through data analysis and precision agriculture equipment, while at the same time, helping them use less water, land, energy, and pesticides. In return, greenhouse gas emissions and agricultural runoff are reduced.
Through strategic collaborations, Bayer is helping to discover new ways to grow crops sustainably around the world. In 2017, the company, together with Gingko Bioworks, created the joint venture Joyn Bio, which focuses on improving the longevity and resilience of seeds and protecting the next generation of crops using synthetic fertilizer alternatives and genetically engineered soil microbes—all through biological solutions. In addition to pest management capabilities, biological solutions, such as nitrogen-fixing and optimization technologies, can improve soil, root, and plant health to provide increased yield and quality in many crops.
Taking action abroad
One of the international focal points for companies including Bayer is Ukraine, sometimes known as the “Bread Basket of Europe.” The war in Ukraine has triggered disruptions in the supply chain, food production, fertilizer access, and energy—and it’s made food prices, which were already on the rise due to the global pandemic, even higher.
“Bayer is mitigating the effects of disruption caused by Ukraine’s war with Russia by increasing farmer access to seed and helping to optimize outputs,” says Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, President, Bayer U.S.
Specifically, to cover the corn seed demand in Ukraine and beyond, it is Bayer’s goal to invest more than 30 million Euros into the Pochuiky seed plant. This investment will include raising the capacity of a seed dryer, extra field equipment, additional storage facilities—and new employment opportunities in the region. It also includes rolling out technology to reintroduce smart farming to the region.
A more efficient future
Advancements in robotics and data analytics have made huge strides to build a more productive global food system. These innovations help improve plant breeding. For example, Bayer’s integrated Smart Corn System* combines data analytics like planting density, field placement, and product application with Short Stature Corn hybrids that have been bred to be about one-third shorter than traditional corn hybrids. Reduced plant height will provide growers the flexibility to optimize crop protection and other inputs with standard ground equipment and the potential to minimize the risk of yield loss.
And all across the globe, farmers are exploring the potential of indoor farming, which allows farmers to grow using less land and fewer resources. The practice helps to insulate crops from environmental threats such as pests, diseases, and extreme weather. Similar systems are being piloted in the desert (such as Bayer’s Marana Greenhouse), in urban areas, and even in space. Indeed, working toward the goal that one day, everyone in the world will have enough to eat requires breaking new frontiers, in every sense.
*This product is not currently available for commercial sale or commercial planting. Commercialization is dependent on multiple factors, including successful conclusion of the regulatory process. The information presented herein is provided for educational purposes only, and is not and shall not be construed as an offer to sell.
Services and products offered by Climate LLC are subject to the customer agreeing to our Terms of Service. Our services provide estimates or recommendations based on models. These do not guarantee results. Consult with your agronomist, commodity broker, or other industry professional before making financial, farming, or risk management decisions. More information at https://climatefieldview.ca/legal/disclaimer. FieldView™ is a trademark of Climate LLC, Bayer CropScience Inc. licensee. Bayer and Bayer Cross are registered trademarks of Bayer Group. ©2022 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.
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