A mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus fungi, which grow whenever conditions are favorable (high moisture and temperature). Occurs in many diverse sources, ranging from major cereal crops to peanut butter, nuts and spices. Aflatoxins are genotoxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known. The main target organ in humans is the liver, but the risk of developing gallbladder cancer is also increased.
Biotechnology, or genetic engineering, is the process of using living organisms to improve qualities of a plant such as the plant’s ability to protect itself against damage or improving upon its ability to grow and produce.
Small strips of land kept in permanent vegetation, located between primary crops, for the purpose of intercepting pollutants, slowing erosion and managing environmental concerns. These strips often also provide habitat for native wildlife and pollinators.
Conservation tillage includes all forms of reduced tillage. Tillage is the practice of plowing soil to prepare it for planting or after harvest to remove crop debris from the field. For example, ”no-till” involves no disturbance of the soil; and “reduced-till” or “strip-till” involves minimal disturbance. The benefits of this practice include improved moisture retention and reduced soil erosion.
Stalks, leaves, and cobs that remain in a cornfield after harvest. These materials are the primary source for cellulosic ethanol production and can at times be gathered for animal feeds or grazed. Also referred to as crop residue.
Cover crops are planted between growing seasons of a farmer’s primary cash crop, for the purpose of improving soil health, reducing erosion, improving soil fertility, and/or reducing soil compaction. There are three primary types of cover crops: tubers like the Tillage Radish; grasses like cereal rye, oats or annual rye grass; and legumes like clover. These cover crops are at times grazed or harvested, but most commonly are terminated through winter freeze or prior to the next crop planting season.
Qualitative and quantitative processes used to enhance productivity and business gain. In agriculture, analytics help farmers become more efficient with their resources, more precise with the timing and rate of inputs, and reduces impact on the environment in the process.
Piping systems, most commonly corrugated plastic tubing, that are placed underneath the soil to remove excess water from a field of crops. This allows roots to develop to their desired depth and removes standing water from lower portions of the field. This also assists in minimizing erosion by helping excess water exit the field.
Half maximal effective concentration (EC50) refers to the concentration of a substance which induces a response halfway between the baseline and maximum after a specified exposure time, i.e. the rate at which 50% of the maximal effect is observed
Half maximal effective rate (ER50) refers to the rate of a substance which induces a response halfway between the baseline and maximum after a specified exposure time, i.e. the rate at which 50% of the maximal effect is observed.
Quality System, providing the formal framework for the conditions under which non-clinical health and environmental safety studies are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, reported, and archived. The details are laid down in legislative regulations as OECD Advisory Documents, EPA and FDA GLP rules and other national laws as e.g. German Chemical Law.
Designed to support precise approaches to nutrient management, grid sampling is the practice of taking multiple samples of soil per acre. Traditional soil sampling densities were 1 or 2 samples for every 3 or 4 acres. Grid sampling calls for as many as 42 samples per acre which are mapped and flagged throughout the field digitally, leading to an improved understanding of variability in soil nutrient needs on across the field.
Hybrid seeds are created using traditional breeding methods where two different but compatible plants are crossbred to create a new plant — also known as a hybrid. An example of this is the Honeycrisp apple. Developed through the University of Minnesota's apple breeding program, the Honeycrisp is a hybrid produced by breeding two different apples to create a new, crisper and juicier type of apple.
The inherent property of an agent or situation which has the potential to cause adverse effects when an organism, system or population is exposed to that agent, based on its chemical, physical or biological characteristics (e.g. the intrinsic hazard of sharp knife is to cut).
The process of managing the amount, source, timing, and method of nutrient (fertilizer) application, with the goal of optimizing farm productivity while minimizing nutrient losses that could create environmental problems.
Any substance or mixture of substances used to alter the life cycle of any pest. They can be naturally derived or synthetically produced.
Herbicide: pesticide for weeds
Insecticide: pesticide for insects
Fungicide: pesticide for fungus
Miticide: pesticide for mites
Nematicide: pesticide for nematodes
"Any substance or mixture of substances used to alter the life cycle of any pest. They can be naturally derived or synthetically produced.
Herbicide: pesticide for weeds
Insecticide: pesticide for insects
Fungicide: pesticide for fungus
Miticide: pesticide for mites
Nematicide: pesticide for nematodes"
Precision agriculture is the use of advanced technology, equipment, and data analytics to improve crop production practices. Farmers analyze data from their machines, from their fields, and even from satellite imagery to help them be more efficient and accurate with their use of natural resources, such as water, soil, and fuel, as well as their use of inputs, such as fertilizer and crop protection products.
A safety margin is the factor that is added to account for uncertainties. For example, if a chronic test in fish showed no effects at 10μg/L, an assessment factor of 10 is still added, meaning that the acceptable concentration in water would be only 1μg/L. Safety factors in environmental risk assessments vary depending on area and test system, and are typically higher for the assessment of acute effects than for chronic effects.
Crop scouting, also known as field scouting, is the very basic action of traveling through a crop field, usually on foot, while making frequent stops for observations. Crop scouting is done so that a farmer can see how different areas of his or her field are growing and what stressors or pests may be present. If there are problems during the growing season, the farmer can work to mitigate them so those problems do not affect yield at harvest time.
Soil organic material is anything that was once alive and is now in or on the soil as it is decomposed into humus. Humus is organic material that has been decomposed by microorganisms and is readily changing form and mass as it decomposes.
A mycotoxin produced by Fusarium fungi species. Occurs mainly in cereals and corn. A potent estrogenic metabolite. In livestock known to cause infertility, abortion, breeding problems through the alteration of the hormone balance. Exposure of humans through the diet poses health concern due to the onset of several sexual disorders and alterations in the development of sexual apparatus.
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Creating New Possibilities
There has never been a more important time for innovation in agriculture as it is the key to addressing the challenges facing the global food system.
At Bayer, we’re committed to delivering better solutions for all farmers, helping them, consumers and our planet thrive.
Innovations in plant breeding help enable more choice for consumers while addressing the challenges facing the global food system. That’s why we invest more in plant breeding research and development annually than we do any other agricultural research and development platform.
The need for plant breeding
Nearly everything you’ve ever purchased at a grocery store has been improved through plant breeding. Plant breeding provides farmers with crops that are better suited for their environment and consumer preferences by making use of the genetic diversity that exists naturally within each crop family. Identifying and isolating the genetic characteristics that help solve farmers’ challenges is difficult and time-consuming. Through generations of research and discovery, plant breeding has advanced beyond selecting a parent plant simply based on its appearance. It now includes an in-depth understanding of the genetic makeup of a plant, giving breeders the ability to better predict which plants will have the highest probability of success in the field and the grocery store before making a cross.
These innovations have opened the door to new opportunities for agriculture. Understanding the genetic markers in plants’ DNA offers insight into which plants carry traits that will help them combat environmental challenges like pests, disease or drought. Some plants are better adapted to certain climates and more resistant to changing environmental conditions, improving their chance of survival, which leads to more productive harvests.
But plant breeding is not just about addressing environmental challenges. Plants can be bred to ensure higher quality and more uniformly-shaped crops which leads to a reduction in food loss and waste.
The plant breeding advances within every seed we sell help farmers continue to improve upon what they’ve done for thousands of years, even in the face of significant challenges like a changing climate, limited natural resources, and reduced arable land, as well as increased consumer demands.
How does plant breeding work?
The simplest definition of plant breeding is crossing two plants to produce offspring that, ideally, share the best characteristics of the two parent plants. Throughout the history of civilization, plant breeding has helped farmers solve complex challenges while also appeasing the appetites of consumers. Even the earliest farmers understood that, in order to survive, they needed plant varieties specifically adapted to their environmental conditions and cultivated to produce the best foods to nourish their livestock and communities.
Most of the fruits, vegetables, and grains that we eat today are the result of generations of plant breeding. In fact, some of the most popular fruits and vegetables originated from plants that would be almost unidentifiable now:
Originally, carrots were yellow and purple. In the 1600s, humans began breeding them to be white and orange, and then in the 1700s, they were bred to be red. Purple carrots are still grown in Europe and Asia, and red carrots are grown in China and India.
About 5,000 years ago, watermelons were only two inches in diameter and had a bitter taste, vastly different from the large, sweet-tasting fruit we enjoy today.
About 6,500 years ago, humans started breeding Musa acuminate, the ancestor of the modern-day banana. Musa acuminate was then crossed with Musa balbisiana to produce plantains, a close cousin of the banana.
About 10,000 years ago, humans discovered Teosinte, which was a plant with small, thin “cobs” only 5-8 centimeters (2-3 inches) long with kernels so hard they would crack your teeth. Over thousands of years of selection, Teosinte was adapted to produce the 30-centimeter (12-inch) ears commonly grown today.
Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and Kale
These common vegetables descended from the common Wild Mustard plant about 10,000 years ago.
Artificial intelligence, real solutions —
New methods driving agriculture innovation in plant breeding
Advanced digital technologies improve our chances to discover new tools for farmers. By designing AI tools that learn alongside us, every generation of seeds and crop protection solutions will be smarter than the ones that came before. Whether it’s reimagining seed genetics, or researching and developing small molecules, our innovations in data science are driving the impact farmers see in the field.
At Bayer, we know that no two fields are the same – climate, pest, 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 genomics, data science, and AI tools. As a result, we’ve brought new varieties to market more quickly, empowering farmers to adjust to changing pest and climatic conditions while decreasing the environmental impact in both the breeding R&D process and on the farm.
Looking to the future
Plant breeding today involves some of the world’s most sophisticated technologies and practices to develop the plants we need to nourish our growing world and preserve natural resources. An exciting innovation that has captured the imagination of the research community is gene editing, which allows 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. Academics, industry researchers, and policy-makers around the world are actively discussing how products enabled by gene editing will be evaluated and managed to ensure their safe and responsible use.