Bayer CropScience has announced plans for conducting large-scale field studies this season to evaluate its new seed application technology, which is designed to reduce potential dust exposure to honey bees. The use of lubricants, such as talc or graphite, is a standard recommendation by seed planter manufacturers to reduce friction and improve planting uniformity, but such additions can result in airborne dust particles that could potentially expose foraging honey bees to small traces of insecticides if they were to come in contact with them. The new lubricant system developed by Bayer CropScience has been shown in tests to dramatically reduce this potential exposure when compared to existing alternatives.
Speaking at the EPA’s Pollinator Summit, as part of a diverse group of stakeholders, including members of the crop protection industry, equipment manufacturing companies, researchers, beekeepers, and the USDA, Bayer’s Director of Product Development, Seed Growth, Bill Hairston, reported airborn dust reductions of up to 90% when using the new lubrication system. “Our initial work in the laboratory and limited field trials over the past two years has been very promising,” he noted. ”We are very fortunate to be working with all of the major equipment manufacturers in expanding the scope of our research.” The company plans to evaluate the new system on 200,000 acres of corn in the United States and Canada during 2013.
For more than 25 years, Bayer has been actively involved in finding solutions to improve honey bee health and this effort continues. Last month the company announced plans to build a North American Bee Care Center, which will serve as a gathering place for researchers, bee experts, students and other visitors to meet regularly with leading Bayer scientists on issues involving bee health. To further underscore this commitment, last week Bayer launched its mobile Bee Care Tour, which will travel to university agriculture schools and farm communities across Corn Belt States over the next three months.
Working collaboratively with government and agricultural stakeholders to protect pollinators and develop technology solutions is critical to sustainable agriculture. “We understand the necessity for healthy bees as pollinators and their critical role to agriculture, and by working with scientists, growers, beekeepers and other industry stakeholders, we strive to create new approaches and solutions to benefit bee health and the global food supply,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience North America.
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