Two Teams, One Purpose
Although there are thousands of scientists at Bayer who are working on innovations to shape the future of agriculture, deep in our hearts we know that it all begins with a seed… and at Bayer we’re doing everything possible to provide the best seeds to farmers! One of the key elements is to develop seeds that have the best possible features (what we call traits) to grow into healthy and productive plants.
A global challenge (feeding the world) needs a global solution, so that’s why Bayer has two dedicated trait research centers – located in the Research Triangle Park, NC, in the United States and in Ghent, Belgium. We may have two facilities, but we share one purpose: helping farmers to be as successful as possible in producing food for everyone, while preserving our environment and its natural resources for the future.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we should explain what we mean by plant traits. Plant traits are the genetic characteristics that help crops express their full potential to thrive in different environments and defend themselves against pesky insects, nematodes and diseases, while withstanding the forces of Mother Nature. We are using different approaches to either enhance the existing features of the plant, or to introduce novel features existing in nature, such as those commonly found in soil bacteria that have developed very efficient systems to protect themselves against pests and diseases. In essence, we’re really allowing plants do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to defending themselves and increasing their productivity.
Transformation Team Lead, Research Triangle Park (USA)
Our teams work on some of the world’s most important crops – wheat, rice, soybeans, cotton and oilseed rape (or canola) – and our research is critical, especially in crops such as wheat, where yields have been stagnating for years, despite the best efforts of conventional breeders. Being part of a modern agricultural revolution is something that inspires us to get out of bed each morning and we work to deliver a perfect seed by conducting a seemingly endless series of tests to confirm the plant’s performance. But that’s just the starting line. Like a relay racer, we then pass the seed “baton” to the next runner, usually a breeder, so that we can make sure what works in a lab will also work in a farmer’s field.
Building a better world from the ground up is what drives us to innovate. It starts with a deep understanding of plant genetics and in finding new ways to help improve crop yields and sustainability. When we unlock the potential that exists within every plant, it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
Group Leader Plant Analysis, Ghent (Belgium)
But don’t just take our word for it. You can watch this really cool video that describes what we do and introduces some of our amazing team members, because they are the ones that work hard every day to make it all happen.