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 Good Laboratory Practice (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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in Addressing a Changing Climate
Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, and agriculture feels its effects in profound ways.
Farmers are particularly impacted by extreme weather conditions, which include drought, severe heat, flooding, and other shifting climatic trends. These all pose challenges for farmers as they work to grow enough food, which is why we’re devoted to finding ways to transform agriculture to be part of the solution in addressing climate change. By 2030, we commit to achieve 30 percent reduction of the field greenhouse gas footprint of our farming customers.
From contributor to mitigator
Although agriculture is a contributor to climate change, the industry plays a role in curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxide that contribute to climate change
To help ensure a more sustainable future, farmers are taking steps toward a carbon-zero future: using cutting-edge tools and farming practices to remove as much—if not more—greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than a farmer emits. The development of climate-smart solutions including digital farming and improved plant breeding technologies will help reduce agriculture's impact on climate change in the future, and here are some of the many existing practices that are making a positive impact today:
With better weed-control solutions, farmers reduce the need to till, decreasing tractor passes over the field and allowing for less soil disruption. This not only curbs greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use, but when soil is left untilled it is better able to store carbon, as well as nutrients and water.
Digital tools and precision agriculture techniques enable farmers to have a more intimate and informed understanding of what’s happening in their fields. For example, Bayer is working on software platforms that offer monitoring tools which help farmers use pesticides more efficiently, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide runoff into water. Precipitation alerts let farmers know which fields may be too wet or too windy to apply pesticides so they can avoid costly treatments and unnecessary fossil fuel use. Satellite and drones provide real-time field health images that enable farmers to identify areas of crop stress or pest infestations, so that corrective actions can be taken quickly and efficiently. These tools help farmers optimize land use to grow enough food on less acreage, offering the potential to reduce the number of acres needed to feed a growing population.
Agriculture is also pioneering the use of microbes to enrich crops by helping plants harness and use nutrients and water more efficiently. Joyn Bio, a joint venture between Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks, is working to create microbes that will help crops like corn, wheat, and rice extract nitrogen from the air to use on their own. This would radically reduce the need for man-made fertilizer and be a powerful step towards a carbon-zero future for agriculture.
The largest source of atmospheric carbon related to farming occurs when agricultural expansion leads to deforestation or draining of wetlands, which reduces the ability of the natural ecosystem to absorb and store carbon. By developing solutions that help farmers grow enough on less land, agriculture is working to preserve natural habitats—even finding ways to help farmers identify areas of their land that would add more value to their operation as a biodiversity sanctuary to support animals, pollinators, and their surrounding environment.
Helping farmers manage changes in weather
Smallholder farmers are particularly dependent on climatic conditions to grow their crops. With an increasingly unpredictable climate, extreme weather conditions could threaten their entire harvest. To help, Bayer is committed to finding innovative ways to empower smallholders with access to tools, insights, and resources to mitigate these effects so they can cultivate their crops in spite of climatic challenges.
All crops need water to thrive, but too much water can be devastating. Rice is an important staple food for over 3.5 billion people, who rely on approximately 200 million small farmers to grow it.
By 2030, rice yields will have to rise by 30 percent—from the same area of arable land—to guarantee food security.
Flooding throughout the Mekong Delta in Vietnam has been a considerable challenge for smallholder farmers to cultivate their crops while meeting growing demand. If the rains are late, the sea can flood the rice paddies and salinize (or add salt to) the soil. To help smallholders withstand and overcome these challenges, Bayer’s “Much More Rice” program offers a comprehensive solutions program featuring innovative technologies such as hybrid seed that can withstand up to 14 days of being submerged.
On the other side of the spectrum, climate change can also create conditions that lead to drought. Wheat farmers in the Midwestern United States require about 50 centimeters (almost 20 inches) of precipitation per year, but in some years, they only get half of that. With drought as a considerable factor, recent studies estimate that wheat harvests could decline by 6 percent with every degree of climate warming.
The demand for wheat will increase by approximately 60 percent by 2050.
Many farmers use reduced-tillage methods to maintain moisture in the soil, but this can create opportunities for invasive weeds to compete with wheat plants for light, nutrients, and the very moisture farmers are working to conserve. At Bayer, we’re developing new and more effective crop protection solutions that are helping farmers manage their crops without leaving them vulnerable to additional threats such as weeds, insects, or disease.
One challenge with countless solutions
Climate change is a major challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for us to reimagine what we can accomplish through agriculture. In addition to developing new solutions to reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment, we’re also exploring how to shape agriculture to become part of the solution. As we work to accomplish both, we’re proud to empower farmers with the tools they need to grow their crops in spite of the many challenges they face as we all work toward addressing climate change.