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

Soybean Plant closeup
HerbicidesRegional Listening Sessions Give Farmers A Voice In The Battle Against Herbicide Resistance
February 27, 2017
Both scientists and regulators have had a lot to say about the growing problem of herbicide resistance and how weed Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked Microbial Seed Treatments Result In Increased Yields
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Premix Formulations
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Latest News
Soybean Plant closeup
HerbicidesRegional Listening Sessions Give Farmers A Voice In The…
February 27, 2017
Both scientists and regulators have had a lot to say about the growing problem of herbicide resistance and how weed Read More
Greystone Construction built the tension membrane fertilizer storage building (left) and steel seed treater building (right)
CropLife 100Pinnacle Announces Successful Exchange Offer Results An…
February 27, 2017
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has announced today the early tender results of its previously announced offer to exchange (the “Exchange Read More
IEI Barge Fertilizer Potash Port Terminal
EquipmentLegacy Building Solutions Receives Design-Build Merit A…
February 27, 2017
When IEI Barge Services needed a building capable of storing and loading fertilizer, they turned to Legacy Building Solutions to Read More
ManagementSouth Africa Update and the New New Leader G5
February 24, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the recent visit to South Africa by sister magazine AgriBusiness Global and the Read More
Fall Creek Watershed
StewardshipUpdate: Nutrient Stewardship In Indiana Requires Cool, …
February 24, 2017
Update: The application deadline for NCRS funding has been extended to March 17, 2017. Green leaves sparkle in the sunlight. Trees Read More
Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With Vapor…
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Hires Manitoba And Eastern Canada Account Man…
February 22, 2017
Tiger-Sul, a global leader in sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, has announced that sales veteran Trevor Loewen has joined Read More
NFMS 17 Hagie Sprayer
Eric SfiligojThe Read From Louisville: Uncertain
February 22, 2017
By the time this column appears across the country, the annual Commodity Classic will be in full swing. This means Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More