2012 BASF Media Summit: Innovation As The Path To Sustainability

With world population figures expected to reach the 9 billion mark by the year 2050, the 2012 BASF Agricultural Solutions Media Summit, held June 4-6 at the Trump Towers complex in Chicago, IL, focused on technologies and sustainable practices that will enable producers to feed a growing population as farmable acres decrease significantly worldwide and crop inputs become more expensive and tightly regulated.

As the summit slogan (Innovation as the Path To Sustainability) proclaimed, BASF has committed its massive Research & Development resources (1.7 billion euro budgeted for 2012) to the sustainability in agriculture movement.

“We need very scientific and innovative concepts to make sure we can feed the world,” says BASF President of Biological & Effect Systems Research Harald Lauke. “However, it’s getting more complicated, and we need to continue expanding interdisciplinary research efforts. Unlike in the past, a lot of these problems all can’t be solved by a chemist.”

Innovating The Pipeline

For starters, BASF is devoting the largest chunk ever of its company-wide R&D budget, 36% to be exact, to crop protection and plant biotech innovations. In 2013, this approach will culminate in the release of several new herbicide and fungicide products.

Weed management innovations discussed included Kixor, which already covers a reported 20 million acres in North America and is useful in resistant wheats, corn, cotton and soybeans, and Engenia, the dicamba-tolerant crop system jointly developed with Monsanto set to launch in 2013/2014. Also announced was the South American release of Roundup-Ready alternative Cultivance, which will receive a full release in 2013.

Fungicides highlighted included new products from the Xemium family, which Lauke called “perhaps for us the most significant innovation of 2012,” and Initium, a second-generation Carboxymite and F500 combination.

Also creating quite a bit of buzz at the summit was a new bio-trait technology being developed for use in specialty crops like canola. Partnering with Cargill, the idea behind the technology is to identify genes that are key in the production of heart healthy EPA/DHA-omega-3 fatty acids, as canola plants by themselves do not produce high enough levels of the acids. Placing those genes into canola will produce commercial levels of EPA/DHA-omega-3 in canola oil, which could then be incorporated into other foods.

Managing Yield And Stress

After last season’s drought-like conditions throughout August and September in the Corn Belt, managing stress and ensuring yield consistency is a top priority for growers.

BASF and project partner Monsanto’s answer to that concern is what Lauke called “the company’s most advanced product to date,” DroughtGuard Hybrids, which reportedly will be the first drought-tolerant trait to hit the market in 2013. The partnership has already released the technology for 250 on-farm trials throughout the Western Corn Belt, and early signs are encouraging.

“I can’t wait to get my hands on hybrids that are drought-tolerant, even in the rain-fed Corn Belt because if water is not a limitation, then we should really be able to push those yields,” says Dr. Fred Below, University of Illinois professor of crop physiology. “Drought-tolerant hybrids are necessary throughout the Corn Belt and that’s what it’s going to take to increase production efficiency.”

As for yield management, BASF has launched two unique technology platforms, TraitMill and Metanomics, for phenotype screening and metabolite profiling. In the most basic of explanations, TraitMill will examine the outside of plants, searching for the strongest phenotypes for selective breeding. Metanomics looks at the plants internal chemistry, hoping to profile the plants with the strongest metabolisms for selective breeding.

Along with expanding its plant biotech pipeline, BASF is also focusing on expanding its corporate partnerships beyond the Monsantos. This year alone the company plans to partner with CTC, KWS, Bayer, Cargill and Embrapa on a number of biotech projects.

“For us, teaming up with partners is critical for project success,” says Peter Eckes, President of BASF Plant Science. “The challenges we face as a company going forward are truly opportunities to grow and continue to focus on delivering better yield and stress management to our producers.”

Functional Crop Care And Ag Balance

BASF is also implementing a new plant management strategy. Dubbed Functional Crop Care, it pledges to deliver solutions “beyond pure crop protection,” focusing on non-traditional areas of concern such as plant health, nitrogen management and water management.

The goal of the program, according to Lauke, is to “educate and support growers to help them increase their marketable yields sustainably.”

Ag Balance, which launched in 2011, is “a holistic method developed by BASF to systematically assess sustainability in agriculture.” The analysis program compares different farm operations, taking into account three dimensions – environment, society and economy – to give a weighted “sustainability score.”

It was through the Ag Balance program that BASF discovered, via a 2010 study of Iowa corn production, that the state’s corn growers were 42% more sustainable than they were back at the start of the century. The study also found Iowa corn production in 2010 to be 30% more economically efficient, 33% more environmentally sound and 57% more efficient with water resources than it had been in 2000.

The Role For Retailers

As the industry prepares to ramp-up its production levels higher than at any other time in history, retailers are going to continue to play a key role in helping growers identify and implement sustainable practices.

“I think the retailer is a key partner and provider to grower-customers for a wide range of products and services, so from our standpoint we can certainly see more partnership opportunities,” says Nevin McDougall, senior vice president, BASF Crop Protection, North America. “And as we look at trying to implement more sustainable practices and introduce new technologies that really help drive efficiencies and greater productivity, in many cases the retailer is the front gate to that experience and that exchange.”

Kip Tom, a producer and the managing member of Tom Farms in northeast Indiana, sees the role of ag retailers evolving in the near future.

“I think there needs to be more open conversation between ag retailers and who they perceive will be their customers 5 to 10 years down the road,” says Tom. “I don’t think there are enough of those conversations taking place. They (retailers) are going to have to learn to work with that larger producer who owns a bigger chunk of his own supply chain, so that’s going to be a challenge.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “2012 BASF Media Summit: Innovation As The Path To Sustainability

Crop Inputs Stories
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More
StewardshipCould Australian Water Trading Approach Fit In Californ…
May 18, 2015
Ten years of drought isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help the bottom line of farmers or the health of Read More
SpreadersDutch Sprayer Manufacturer To Enter U.S. Market
May 18, 2015
Dutch self-propelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac Machinery has announced intentions to enter the U.S. market with two models of sprayers available Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
ManagementA Visit To The 2015 Environmental Respect Spirit Award …
May 14, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a recent visit to the CPS Spirit winner in St. Stephen’s Church, Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee …
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Crop InputsKansas State Researchers Announce Resistant Kochia Brea…
May 13, 2015
Kansas State University researchers say new research helps explain why an invasive weed is developing resistance to a well-known herbicide, Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
HerbicidesUSDA Study: Glyphosate Application More Prevalent In So…
May 13, 2015
Glyphosate—known by many trade names, including Roundup—has been the most widely used pesticide in the United States since 2001. It Read More
AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant J…
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unificati…
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More