Ag Solutions Summit: Producing More With Less

Just looking at the pure statistics, the numbers appear daunting. Based upon the best projections, the world’s population will include an additional 2.5 billion people within the next 40 years. Naturally, all these additional individuals will need to eat, which puts pressure on the globe’s growers to double their crop yields and food production by 2050.

Making this population boom even more difficult to manage, food-wise, will be its make up. “This will be an aging and growing population,” said Markus Heldt, president, Crop Protection Division for BASF SE. “Most of these consumers will have higher incomes, which will lead to a changing diet where they eat more meat than today. More meat demand will mean more grain demand.”

To address this topic at length, BASF Corp. gathered many experts for its Agricultural Solutions Summit. Held in Chicago in June, the summit looked at the issue of feeding a growing population while at the same time preserving the planet’s resource and energy consumption. According to Dr. Peter Eckes, president, BASF Plant Science, this means adopting sustainable agricultural practices.

“Sustainable agriculture is a complex and difficult topic, but our definition is pretty simple,” said Eckes. “We are talking about farming solutions that maintain the right balance between economic success, environmental protection and social responsibility. We want to help growers achieve more yields on the same amount of land using less water and less energy. But we also want them to maintain their way of living.”

Naturally, said Paul Rea, vice president, U.S. crop operations for BASF, growers are at the heart of this movement. “Growers today are at a crossroads,” said Rea. “They have a tremendous production challenge ahead of them, but at the same time, they are getting squeezed by regulations and the desire to be more efficient.”

Consumer Views

Somewhat surprisingly, consumers don’t represent a barrier to growers achieving this goal. According to a BASF survey of 400 consumers and 116 growers, there is more trust and optimism among consumers than many general media portrayals might suggest.

“Consumers trust growers more than growers probably expect them to,” said Rea. “This is a strong foundation that the agricultural industry can build on in its goal to improve trust and align priorities even further.”

According to the survey results, consumers take an optimistic view of farmland stewardship practices and believe the industry will continue to improve sustainability efforts. Similarly, when asked to gauge their own priorities and views on environmental stewardship, growers also held a positive view.

Other highlights from the survey included the following:
•  Both growers and consumers feel farmland stewardship practices are better now than 10 years ago, and will continue to improve during the next 10 years.
•  Consumers think growers place more emphasis on environmental impact when they select crop protection products than growers report of their own behavior in decision-making.
•  Consumers feel that growers are receiving crop inputs from trustworthy sources.
•  Growers place top priority on effectiveness and cost when selecting a crop protection product.

“In the end, it comes down to consumers having trust in growers, both to provide a safe food supply and to have minimal impact on our environment,” said Rea. “We can help strengthen this trust by providing growers with the information and support they need to make sure that consumers are informed with the right information.”

Biotech Aids

Part of this effort needs to focus on biotech crops and their contribution to sustainable agriculture, said several speakers. Based upon the data, biotech crop use in the U.S. has already added significantly to the nation’s yield number, producing an additional 40.9 million tons to the country’s corn supply during 2008. “Without the use of biotech crops, U.S. growers would have had to plant an additional 11.4 million acres of corn, 8.6 million acres of soybean and 5.4 million acres of cotton to achieve the same yields,” said Eckes. “Also, the equivalent CO2 emissions saved in 2008 through less tillage with biotech crops was like removing 6.9 million cars from the road.”

In the future, biotech crop developments should help sustainable agriculture by addressing one of the industry’s most pressing challenges: Water use. According to the statistics presented at the summit, 70% of the world’s fresh water goes into farming, 38% of the world’s land area has some level of drought exposure and irrigated land accounts for 40% of global food production. “Growers will not be able to use 70% of the world’s water going forward because of population increases in the world’s major cities,” said Robert Thompson, former gardner chair, agricultural policy for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To this end, the industry is expecting to see the first drought-tolerant biotech crops beginning in 2012. Further­more, said Eckes, BASF will continue working in the area of seed development.

“We will develop the best traits for the best seed, promote leading technology platforms in gene discovery and product development up to market introduction,” he said.

Leave a Reply

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

Trending Articles

HerbicidesAdjusting To The New Reality Of Weed Control
November 4, 2014
Even with new cropping systems being readied for market introductions, weed control will remain a challenge for many. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
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
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More

Latest News

soybean field
Crop InputsABM Patents Microbial R&D Technique
November 25, 2014
Focused Microbial Diversity (FMD) is a newly patented technique employed by Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) to research and develop microbials that will be used in ABM products Read More
Crop InputsStorage Options Help Grain Growers Go To Market
November 24, 2014
While on-farm storage in a traditional upright storage bin is one possibility for storing grain, it may not be for everyone. Read More
Eric SfiligojGiving Thanks For Another Great Year
November 24, 2014
As Thanksgiving Day 2014 arrives, agriculture has plenty to be thankful for. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Cost-Cutting Program To Affect 1,800 Jobs
November 24, 2014
The company's Accelerating Operational Leverage program will result in job reductions and relocations totaling around 1,800 across the company, the majority of which will occur in 2015. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More