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Global Challenges to Food Security

We are committed to sustainable agriculture as the best approach to overcoming the global challenges in food security.

Growing global population
Increasing demand for more and better food (by 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by 50 percent).

Limitation of farmland & competition of key resources
Only 3 percent of the earth’s surface is available for agriculture. And most arable land is already under production. We need to raise more crops now and in the future – more efficiently and with limited natural resources.

Climate change & weather fluctuation
Extreme weather events and global warming are changing the climatic conditions on our planet.

Pests, weeds & diseases
Up to 40 percent of global food production is lost through fungal diseases, insect infestation and competition from weeds.

Changing consumption patterns
Demand for variety, quality and availability all year around.

Infrastructure, food losses and malnutrition
Up to one third of all food is spoiled or wasted before it is consumed by people.












Resilent Varieties for a Sensitive Character

Common or bread wheat belongs to the family of sweet grasses. It is an important nutrient supplier, environmentally very well adapted, but at the same time also prone to diseases.

The top four wheat-producing countries in million tons/year.

The worldwide cultivation area for wheat is approximately 222 million hectares (an area as large as Greenland – about 15 percent of the global arable land).

Wheat is an annual grass that grows well in moderately cold regions.

World population growth means we have to increase agricultural production to meet the demand for wheat.







Wheat Challenges

Global Warming: a Threat to Wheat








Higher Yields and Greater Stability

Developing new value-added, high-yielding wheat varieties that address the problems faced by farmers today and in the future is of paramount importance in safeguarding the world’s food supply. We are contributing through our global research and breeding development network with external partners in all parts of the world. Tolerance to stressors such as drought and heat as well as fungal disease resistance and parameters such as protein content and baking quality are other drivers we are working on.








A Versatile Energy Pack

Like wheat, cultivated maize or corn belongs to the family of grasses. It was first domesticated in Mexico. Corn is a global energy pack. It is a staple food for one billion people, an efficient source of animal feed and a modern biofuel.

More than just popcorn
Corn does much more than feed people and livestock.

Ma(ize)tering the Demands
What you can get out of one hectare of corn.

Co(r)ncentrated Energy
Corn reduces dependency on petroleum. 1 metric ton of corn can provide 417 liters of fuel ethanol.








Problems Faced by Farmers

Velvetleaf, barnyard grass, and pig weed are pretty names – but a major cause of stress for farmers. They need to act fast or risk losing 20 percent or more of their harvest, or even all of it: a frightening prospect.

Pigweed, palmer amaranth


Barnyard grass

Western corn rootworm










New Technologies for the Field

Bayer offers a broad product portfolio for the control of weeds to increase productivity in corn cultivation. One method, which we promote strongly for weed control, is to rotate herbicides with different modes of action. Smart tools support farmers by analyzing the status and current needs of a field.

Diversity is the Future
Key to sustaining weed control and productivity on farms is a holistic approach to fighting weeds: with its Integrated Weed Management (IWM) program, Bayer recommends combining different methods of weed control – chemical and non-chemical – to give crops an advantage over weeds.


















Hybrid Seeds for Fortune Smallholders

Rice belongs to a family of grasses, like wheat and corn. Cultivated mostly by Asian smallholders, rice is the most important staple food for half of the world’s population. For them, rice is both food and livelihood. This means that if we want to do something about poverty, we need to focus on rice.

The global population and global demand for rice are increasing. We need solutions to feed large populations.

Demand is outpacing productivity.








Challenges Farmers Face

Along with other experts, we believe that we could double the global rice harvest by simply reducing the impact of pests, diseases and weeds. There are more than 100 known insect pests, fungal diseases and weeds that can cause significant damage to rice plants. In some cases, the entire harvest can be lost.

Rice sheath blight

Bakanae disease of rice

Rice blast disease

Brown planthopper













Salt – the New Danger Facing Rice Growers








Stronger Tolerance against Biotic Stressors

Bayer researchers are developing hybrid rice varieties that are better able to withstand diseases, sucking insect pests, prolonged submersion or increased levels of water salinity.

Improving Rice Value Chains
The Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA) seeks to promote sustainable growth in agricultural production and to improve rice value chains and rice-based nutrition. Public and private parties join forces to implement comprehensive projects and programs for sustainable business in these countries.








The Success of a Protein Champion

Soy or Soybean is the number one protein crop plant, containing 20 percent oil and 37 percent protein, offering very versatile usages. The protein quality of soybeans is comparable to that of animal protein. Soybeans are also the second-largest global source of vegetable oil.

Soy is processed, used and consumed in numerous ways: in animal feed, fashion and cosmetic products, food and drinks, energy, hygiene and medicine.

The livestock industry is the largest consumer of soybean meal, more than half of which is used as poultry feed.

93 percent of the world’s soybeans come from just six countries (Brazil, the USA, Argentina, China, India and Paraguay).

Over the last 40 years, production has increased from 57 million tons to 341 million tons per year.








Versatile Beans for a Growing Demand

Soybean farmers dread the signs of a fungal infection like soybean rust on their crops. This infection can have devastating effects, with up to 75–80 percent of the yield being lost.

Yellowed plants may also indicate pests. Nematodes, for example, attack the roots of the plant, robbing it of nutrients. About 30 percent of the maximum possible yield is currently lost to harmful organisms such as stinkbugs, whiteflies, hairy fleabane, fungal and bacterial infections, and a wide range of weeds.

Asian Soy Rust

Soybean Cyst Nematode

Stink Bug













Interview with Vinicius Formighieri Lazarini








It all Starts with the Seed

To meet the ever-changing challenge of pests and weeds, we’re developing beneficial traits and investing in breeding.

Bayer’s large portfolio includes numerous innovative crop protection products to protect and increase the yield of soybean cultivation. Bayer also engages in initiatives to make soybean farming more sustainable.








Yellow Star

Oilseed rape is known as Canola in Canada, the USA and Australia. Canola stands for ‘Canadian-oil-low acid’. Oilseed Rape is a relatively young crop. After soybeans, rapeseed is the world’s second most important oilseed crop.

From less than 10 million tons in 1975 to more than 68 million tons today, the cultivation of canola is expanding rapidly.

Worldwide cultivation regions: Around 95 percent is produced in North America, China, India, Australia and the European Union.

Oilseed rape is the third-largest oilseed crop after oil palm and soybeans, accounting for approximately 15 percent of the world’s vegetable oil production.

The high-quality oil of oilseed rape is used for the production of biofuel. The oil is also widely used on salads, for frying, and in margarine.








Strong Seed Pods Reduce Yield Loss

Because this crop is so precious, farmers are well aware of the need to protect it from winter damage in Europe, as well as from yield-crippling diseases. Also, if pods open prematurely in the field because of strong winds, many seeds end up on the ground.


Blossom beetle










Strong Seed Pods Reduce Yield Loss

In North America, Bayer is the leading producer of canola seeds for more robust plants, high oil content, and higher yields to meet agricultural demands. We put our seeds through the toughest stress tests, assessing how they do in some of the most disease-affected conditions in the world.








The Canadian Success Story








Big Variety for Better Life Quality

Researchers have proven that fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which help prevent malnutrition and health problems. The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit (berry), but due to its low sugar content it is generally considered a vegetable.

The species originated in Central and South America. Today, around 7,000 different types of tomatoes are cultivated around the world.

During the past 20 years, production has increased by 60 percent for vegetables and 100 percent for fruits. Bayer is one of the market leaders for vegetable seeds and is aiming for sales of more than €3 billion in this segment by 2020.

Top five tomato producers in 2014.








Threats & Troublemakers

Needless to say, there are many troublemakers which can damage fruit and vegetable crops and seriously affect the yield and quality of produce.













Answers We Offer

We rank among the world’s leading suppliers of crop protection products for fruits and vegetables. In many countries, we also market biological products with microorganism-based antifungal action as well as information on application techniques and the environmentally-friendly disposal of unused products.

Beyond our commitment to food security, our innovation strength includes crop solutions for plants like cotton. Cotton is the most important of natural fibers and accounts for one third of the world’s fiber consumption, which today is dominated by synthetic fibers.


Why Cotton Matters to Us?

The demand for cotton is huge: shirts, curtains, towels, jeans, and bed sheets, not to mention bandages, diapers, candlewicks, coffee filters and even banknotes. Textiles made from cotton were already known in the prehistoric cultures of both the New and the Old Worlds. The oldest cotton fabric was found in Mexico and dated back to about 5800 BC.

Cotton is produced in more than 80 countries. China, the USA and India together account for more than half of global cotton production.

Each cotton seed has 2,000 to 7,000 fibrous hairs. In order to obtain spinnable fibers, they have to be separated from the seeds, a process called “ginning”.








Insect Pests, Weeds and Droughts

Our love of cotton is shared by many other life-forms. Insect pests like the fall armyworm and the cotton bollworm make life difficult for farmers. And then there are the diseases transmitted by fungi and bacteria.

Fall armyworm

Cotton bollworm









New Technologies for the Field

Our seeds mostly include characteristics such as herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. With its products, Bayer caters to the individual needs of farmers, the fiber-processing industry and ultimately the textile end-user.

We develop new cotton varieties that are sustainable and competitive through our global network of research facilities and alliances. Our specialists in the field are equipped with extensive global expertise.








From Precision Farming to Decision Farming

Digital farming is the evolution of agriculture into a digitalized industry – local, data-driven insights can improve on-farm decision-making and execution, helping farmers to predict what is coming around the corner and to act upon it more effectively.

Digital technology for risk mitigation:
Predictability in agronomic activities can help manage variables such as weather, soil quality, and pest pressure, while at the same time further reducing the risk of adverse environmental impacts.













Facts and Figures


It is estimated that, with new technologies, the Internet of Things has the potential to help increase agricultural productivity by 70 percent by 2050.
Source: FAO

Ninety percent of all crop losses are attributable to the weather. This crop damage could be reduced by 25 percent using predictive weather modeling and precision agriculture techniques.
Source: IBM Research

There will be 27 billion connected devices in 2024; 225 million will be used in agriculture.
Source: Machina Research
















High-Tech Helpers for Tomorrow’s Agriculture








Innovation & Sustainability in Agriculture

Sustainability is at the heart of our culture and we believe strongly in the tenets of sustainable development: living and operating in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Forward Farming
With this platform Bayer increases the exchange of knowledge among farmers, consumers, politicians, and academics. These selected farms share their expertise and ongoing improvements as they combine their economic success with responsibility towards the environment and society.

» Forward Farming

Bee Care Program
As a company with expertise in both animal health and crop protection, the Bayer Bee Care Program is part of our commitment to bee health.

» Bayer Bee Care

Smallholder Farming
In the context of our initiatives, we are seeking to support these smallholder farmers in developing and emerging economies with specially tailored and sustainable solutions.

» Blog Recommendation
Bernd Naaf:
Building Better Livelihoods for Smallholder Farmers

Public-Private Partnership
By bringing together experience, investment and technologies, Bayer supports small farmers and their families with advice, resources and the sharing of expertise.

» Blog Recommendation
Adrian Percy:
Why Public Private Partnerships Benefit Us All

Integrated Weed Management
Tried-and-tested herbicides are losing their effectiveness against an ever-growing number of weeds. Our solution is based upon knowledge transfer and cooperation with leading scientists and institutions.

» Integrated Weed Management

Food Chain Partnership
Bayer is connecting all commercial supply-side members of the food chain so they can work together: producers, exporters and importers, processors, and traders.

» Food Chain Partnership









Improving Farmer’s Future

With our products, services and partnerships we strive to support farmers globally to meet their daily challenges in practice. We help them increase profitability, at the same time saving and protecting our natural resources.

These efforts are all key to pursuing our mission to promote modern sustainable agriculture – now and in the future.

Fields of the World