By 2050, the global population is expected to increase by about 30 percent—with global food demand expected to rise to as much as 70 percent. Farmers are faced with the challenge of providing enough food for our growing world, while using the same amount of land.
By conserving the space we have, farmers not only secure food and resources for the future—land conservation also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, playing an important role in the fight against climate change, and protects the biodiversity that exists throughout our world. Today, we’re working to provide the best tools and solutions so farmers can grow more sustainably and efficiently.
Mapping the farm with innovation
One way that we do this is through data and digital tools. Using satellite and drone imagery—as well as soil health data—we can support the decisions that farmers make every day, from planting to harvest. Tools like the Climate FieldView™ digital platform give farmers a complete picture of their operation, allowing them get the most out of their land.
With digital tools, billions of data points combine in one convenient place, enabling farmers to stop problems before they start and helping them conserve natural resources.
Conserving land by protecting soil
At Bayer, we encourage operations of every size to adopt the land conservation techniques that have been around for generations. Farmers use these innovative practices to not only protect the soil, but to preserve biodiversity and grow enough on less.
One of the best techniques for farmers to maintain the land is to grow cover crops. Clover, radish, peas, oats, and grass varieties can help reduce erosion during rainfall and control the growth of weeds. In the spring, plant remains are left on the soil to secure nutrients, slowly releasing them over time and creating more organic matter.
In the 20th century, farmers tilled under crop residue to expose fresh soil and stop weed growth. However, farmers today are turning to no-till farming and conservation tillage. When farmers choose not to plow after harvest, organic matter remains in the soil, reducing soil erosion and the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Tiny organisms and bacteria have unlocked imaginative leaps in medicine and nutrition—and they might just be key to agriculture. As human curiosity drives us to look closer and dig deeper, we’re finding innovative ways to protect farmers’ crops with the millions of bacteria and fungi living in our land. We’re dedicated to exploring the possibilities these organisms provide to help farmers grow food more efficiently.
Getting more out of the field
We’re working on a number of partnerships and products intended to help preserve the land that we use to grow. By helping plants absorb key nutrients, farmers can ensure more productive harvests and waste less space on their fields.
Short-stature corn—a hybrid crop several feet shorter than normal corn—is already proving to be more efficient. With more upright leaves and smaller tassels, the shorter corn is able to capture more sunlight, optimizing its use of nutrients. Advancements like these provide farmers with improved crops that are less susceptible to issues like wind damage, promising greater harvests on smaller plots of land.
Sharing the land
As we continue to shape the future of agriculture, we’ll rely on conversations with key stakeholders, regulators, NGOs, farmers, consumers, and many others. We believe in encouraging farmers to innovate, discuss, and adopt each other’s best practices, because conserving the land and growing enough is a shared responsibility.