Driving the Future of Plant Breeding
How Plant Breeding Works
Breeding for All, Hunger for None
Objectives of Plant Breeding
Advanced digital technologies improve our chances to discover new solutions for farmers. At Bayer, we know that no two fields are the same – climate, pests, and other growing conditions vary region to region and farm to farm. We also know this means the only way to advance agriculture is to provide more and better choices for farmers – and to do it faster. So, we built a more informed, more efficient seed pipeline using advanced phenomics, genomics, data science, and Artificial Intelligence tools. As a result, we’ve brought new varieties to market more quickly, empowering farmers to adjust to changing pests, weeds and diseases, and variable climatic conditions while decreasing the environmental impact in both the breeding R&D process and on the farm.
In 2020, we opened our first fully automated greenhouse in Marana, Arizona. The approximately USD 100 million facility serves as a global product design center for corn, the only crop grown there. Additionally, the Marana facility capitalizes on innovation advancements in proprietary seed chipping, advanced marker technology, automation, and data science. The 300,000 square feet of growing space has been designed for the sustainable use of inputs throughout the research process. Water used for crops will be recycled, which helps preserve precious desert water supplies, 100 percent of harvested materials will be used for compost and beneficial insects will be used to reduce pesticide applications.
Plant breeding today involves some of the world’s most sophisticated technologies and practices to develop the plants we need to nourish our growing population and preserve natural resources. An exciting breeding approach that has captured the attention of the research community is gene editing, which enables scientists to make more targeted improvements within a plant’s DNA to produce a better crop. These “edits” fine-tune a plant’s own genetic material and can result in better harvests more quickly and predictably than other plant breeding tools and practices.