Tobias Menne

Better Decisions, Better Harvest

Applying the right amount of crop protection product to your field is hard work. The same is true for determining the best time to apply it. At Bayer, we’re working on field-specific solutions to help farmers everywhere.

Everyone knows the KISS principle: “Keep it simple, stupid.” Originally a (slightly insulting) design philosophy, the idea behind KISS is that most systems work best if they are kept simple. And I think we can apply this to other areas as well: one of our main objectives with our digital farming solutions is to reduce the complexity of farming for the grower.

As you no doubt know, many things can happen over the course of a growing season. Technologies already exist to help eliminate uncertainty — or at least further reduce risks: precision farming and digital farming. While the former means gathering data via connected hardware like GPS-equipped tractors or sensors, the latter describes the agronomic analysis of this information. Together, they allow farmers to make field-zone-specific decisions in their daily operations.

At Bayer, we are working together with partners on opening up and establishing these technological opportunities. We want to provide practical decision-making tools. And we base these on multiple data sources, so that the task of risk management on a farm can be made much easier and more convenient, helping to sustainably improve farmers’ productivity. Our approach is to collect data from various sources (such as combines equipped with sensors, weather stations, sensors in the soil, and even satellites) to determine just how healthy crops are during the growing season and to find out what is impacting yields. Combined with information on the field’s soil structure and topography, for instance, we can generate very detailed field maps.

Recognize stressors in the field at an early stage

And we do more than just gather very precise in-season data. By merging this data with information from previous seasons, we enable farmers to forecast yields, manage a variety of inputs, and react quickly to harmful changes so they can prevent losses. Also, patterns that indicate the presence of specific diseases can be detected; in this way, farmers can predict the risk of specific diseases or pinpoint them at a very early stage. As you may have guessed, Bayer also offers a digital farming solution that has these abilities. Its aim is to help farmers achieve maximum crop health, and it is based on a technology known as “precision spraying.”

Tobias Menne
Tobias Menne
Tobias Menne,
Global Head Digital Farming at Bayer
Precision spraying enables farmers to treat their crops in a field-zone-specific way.

It is extremely difficult for farmers to keep an eye on each and every corner of their fields, all the time. Solutions like ours make it easy to keep track of everything so that each field zone gets exactly the treatment it needs, when it needs it. We make this possible by bringing together data about individual fields and using it alongside our extensive knowledge of agronomy and crop protection.

By combining information on how to treat almost every plant that may come under attack by fungus with a notification app that ensures perfect timing, as well as automated fungicide planning for each field, we have put together a complete solution for optimizing crop treatments.

Another useful addition to these tools: an app that enables farmers to do fast and convenient scouting, including comprehensive documentation of the results. The application is able to recognize and identify in-field stress via smartphone pictures. Whether it’s weeds, insects, diseases, or leaf damage, the insights gained can be shared with farmers in the same area. This “sharing economy” allows anyone inside the network to react faster to the spread of pests and diseases.

If you are interested in learning more about digitization and the opportunities it creates for farming, click here.

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