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October 12, 2016 << back >>

Always a Step Ahead

Digitalization has long reached agriculture. At present there are 26 million connected devices in farming around the world. By 2020 there are expected to be 97 million (Machina Research).
Data-based local information improves decision-making in the field and helps to forecast infection risks and pest infestation better. Agricultural machinery and IT specialists are paving the way and seed and plant protection experts like Bayer are also playing a decisive role in digitalization on the farm.

More sustainable agriculture

“Our aim is to develop effective technologies with the best possible benefits for farmers and the environment,” says Andree-Georg Girg, Managing Director of Bayer Digital Farming GmbH, describing the company’s strategy. “And we are convinced that in the near future real-time analyses will help farmers to identify pests, diseases and weeds to the nearest square meter.”
Furthermore, digital farming also has a positive influence on sustainable agricultural production and its influence on the environment as a whole. “The sowing quantity and the quantity of plant protection products per square meter can be optimized in accordance with field conditions while at the same time, with a secure amount of water and optimal fertilization, yields are increased,” Girg says. By using digital farming technologies products can be deployed exactly where they are needed for the individual plant and every drop of the plant protection product is put to targeted use.

Digital Farming and Bayer

That is why Bayer is working on new digital systems that also analyze crop yields. Precise decision-making aids are also being tested. Here too the aim is to optimize the use of plant protection products. In developing new digital technologies Bayer is increasingly relying on cooperation across the entire value chain. “We are doing that to maintain the competitiveness of farming and to help ensure an even more sustainable, secure and high-quality food supply,” Girg says. Bayer recently signed up, for example, to a five-year research partnership with the Institute of Geography and the Department of Informatics at the University of Hamburg. Their joint objective is to develop new digital solutions based on geoinformatics methods and models. “These models will assist farmers all over the world with their operational decision making,” explains Tobias Menne, head of Digital Farming at Bayer. “Especially,” he adds, “with the choice of the right seed, with targeted use of plant protection and other agricultural means of production, and with locally appropriate scheduling of farming measures.”
In addition, Bayer and the space technology company Planetary Resources, based in Redmond, Washington, USA, have signed a declaration of intent. Bayer aims by means of this cooperation to develop new agricultural products and to improve existing products by means of satellite-based data.

More precise, more soundly based, yet simpler

How will the flood of field data affect farmers’ day-to-day working lives? “Digital farming will not increase the complexity; it will make decision-making in agriculture more precise, more intelligent and simpler – in respect of documentation, for example,” says Adrian Percy, head of research and development at the Crop Science Division of Bayer, taking a look at the future. “In the next ten years digital farming will play an even greater role in agriculture. Development in different countries and maybe even for different plant varieties take different courses in the process, but the influence of digitalization will be enormous.”