Enhancing Crop Efficiency through Biological Seed Treatment
As agricultural productivity must be raised, the focus of our research activities at Bayer is increasingly on boosting yields. By providing suitable seed treatment products, we are pursuing our goal of strengthening plants from the very start. That way, they can successfully cope not only with pests and diseases, but also with unfavorable environmental conditions such as stress and nutrient-poor soils.
Small, medium, and large companies are increasingly investing in the research and development of biological products for agriculture. These are gaining importance by addressing the needs of both growers and society, and thus show huge market potential. Bayer SeedGrowth™ aims to play a part in this development as well. We strongly believe that by investing in biologicals, we can improve seed treatment and effectively promote sustainable agriculture.
Part of a holistic solution
But what exactly do I mean by “biologicals”? This term basically refers to products that are derived from natural material such as plants, bacteria, and fungi. We further categorize them as microbials (e.g. bacteria and fungi), macrobials (e.g. beneficial insects), semio-chemicals (e.g. pheromones), and natural compounds (e.g. plant extracts). Biologicals can be used in a variety of ways, for example in foliar sprays or seed treatments. They provide many benefits to farmers by protecting plants against pests and diseases and making them more productive. It is important not to view biologicals in an isolated way, but rather within the context of our customized agronomic solutions, with improved seeds, chemical crop production products, and supporting services.
Different ways to increase yields
One of our most important goals at Bayer SeedGrowth is to enhance crop efficiency. This term describes all the different areas in which we are working to systematically optimize the yield potential of crops. There are several ways biologicals can enhance crop efficiency. For example, by fostering root health.
Our next-generation seed treatment product Poncho™/VOTiVO™ 2.0 contains one chemical insecticide in combination with two complementary biological seed treatments. The Poncho component as a systemic insecticide, which is rapidly absorbed by roots, ensures protection against early season above- and below-ground insect pests. The VOTiVO component provides a living bacterium that germinates when the seed comes into the soil, thus creating a living barrier around the roots that stops nematodes from causing damage before they can even strike. In addition, the second generation also has a new biological that enhances microbial activity around the plant’s root, complementing the proven benefits of Poncho/VOTiVO.
We also work on finding out more about the intimate relationships between plants and microbes to optimize nutrient uptake and yield potential. Our Bayer experts research the optimal microbial strains to apply during seed treatment, using various selection and optimization processes. Then, years of research go into developing a final seed treatment product and finding the optimum composition of all formulation ingredients. The biological seed treatment can be combined with chemical crop protection agents to ward off other insects and diseases. Combining both chemical crop protection agents and biologicals requires a very broad set of scientific skills and expertise.
Biological seed treatment on the rise
Over the last decade, through testing seed treatments on corn, the right combination of crop protection agents and microbes has resulted in significantly increased yields of up to ten percent. Similar benefits in yield have been achieved in the production of soybeans, cotton, and cereal grains. The selected biological treatment can give crops a crucial advantage in a critical time window for establishing yield and can contribute to long-term sustainability in agriculture. For this reason, a multidisciplinary research and development team at Bayer focuses solely on biological solutions. We also count on strengthening our portfolio by forming collaborations with innovative partners.
If you want to learn more about Bayer SeedGrowth and our commitment within the field of biologicals, click here.