Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech polymer materials. As an innovation company, it sets trends in research-intensive areas. Bayer’s products and services are designed to benefit people and improve the quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and acts as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. In fiscal year 2014, Bayer employed 118,900 people and had sales of €42.2 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to €2.5 billion, R&D expenses to €3.6 billion.
The opportunities and challenges driving the global agricultural community are as fascinating as they are daunting. A rapidly growing world population increases global demand for food, fiber as well as renewable raw materials. Changes in our climate threaten harvests and impact yields. Improving our living standard worldwide comes with an ever increasing demand for high-quality, healthy and affordable food.
Such challenges require sophisticated answers. Our corporate promise “Bayer: Science for a Better Life” is the foundation of what we at Bayer CropScience strive to achieve within the agricultural industry. We have extraordinary expertise, the passion and integrity of farmers, the willingness to listen closely to our customers’ needs across the globe, and the vision to foresee issues and seize opportunities across the entire value chain. We seek to propel the future of farming in four ways:
Connecting the dots from seed to shelf
We recognize that we have a unique vantage point within the agricultural industry that touches the entire value chain. We appreciate the complexity of the business and understand the convergence of issues. Our objectives are: Help solve local problems with the knowledge gathered in a global market. Combine rigorous technical expertise with a passion to stand up to agriculture’s toughest challenges. And therefore, to connect the dots throughout the global value chain.
Cultivating ideas and answers
At Bayer CropScience, we foster an environment of collaboration across different disciplines at the intersection of chemistry and biology, as well as across cultures and markets. Every day, we bring together expertise in seeds, breeding, crop protection biologics and chemistry as well as environmental science solutions. We aim to create the products and services to solve some of the key challenges in agriculture.
Helping to feed a hungry planet
Even today, hunger is a daily threat to more than 1 billion people worldwide. At Bayer CropScience, we have deep expertise and particular innovative strength in two of the world's most important staple crops -- rice and wheat. With cereals, fruits and vegetables, we aim also to make healthy food available to all. Our advances not only benefit consumers and larger-scale growers, but also aim to enhance the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and their communities.
Inviting fresh perspectives
Even as an industry leader, we will not be able to solve agriculture’s challenges alone. Game-changing ideas need diversity in experience, expertise and perspective to evolve, mature and become reality. Part of our quest therefore is to look ahead and beyond the current solutions and existing partnerships towards even broader initiatives. Our objective is to go beyond products, technologies, and work with others to trigger great ideas.
Rising sea levels, 100-year floods and heavy monsoon rains may suggest differently, but it’s a fact: Our water resources are limited. And they are not distributed evenly throughout the world. Often they are in the wrong place at the wrong time: While Mexico, for instance, may struggle with extreme droughts, Australia may be haunted by floods at the same time. Especially for farmers, these are enormous challenges. “Almost three quarters of our freshwater resources today are used in agriculture,” says Jan Lundqvist, Senior Scientific Advisor at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). According to calculations from the United Nations, a farmer needs 1,500 liters of water alone to produce one kilogram of cereals – almost seven full bathtubs.
Water is stored in rivers, lakes and groundwater or inaccessibly bound in glaciers. Specialists call the surface water from rivers and lakes “blue water”. There’s also the so-called “green water” referring to the moisture stored in the soil, transpirated by plants or evaporated by the sun. It takes care of the vegetation. And still, our precious water will also suffice for a growing world population – as demonstrated in the Global Agriculture Report 2008. Under one condition: We have to find ways, to use this resource more efficiently. In particular, we could make much better use of rainwater and soil moisture, the authors of the report say. But that’s both, a chance and a challenge as the major share of the world’s water is inconsumable saltwater. Freshwater, so precious for agriculture, only accounts for hardly three percent. In addition, 60 percent of usable water is in the hands of less than ten countries. In some of the earth’s regions, acute water shortages are already an issue today.And the situation could aggravate: In order to harvest the same amount of agricultural produce in 2080 as today, 30 percent more water will be needed in equatorial Africa and 70 percent in Southeast Asia given a projected rise in temperature by four degrees Celsius.These are regions which will also see strong population growth. These results have been brought forward in a study carried out by a Spanish team of researchers led by agricultural economist Ana Iglesias from Madrid. Most of the water today is being used for agricultural irrigation. But according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, only just below 40 percent of global crop cultivation happens on these irrigated fields. “A good 60 percent come from rain-fed agriculture where the need of water is covered exclusively by precipitation,” explains Lundqvist.
Hence, cultivation and irrigation have to be adapted to the region. And not only the crop chosen but also an ideal cultivation density plays a decisive part here. After all, it depends largely on the crops’ water absorption capacity how efficiently the water stored in the soil can be used. The more water a plant can retain, the better it will survive a period of drought. Strong seedlings also help to lower the consumption of the vital liquid on the field. That’s why Bayer CropScience researchers work, for example, on new plant varieties better adapted to the climatic conditions of certain regions. At the European Wheat Breeding Center in Gatersleben, for instance, biotechnologists develop new heat and stress-resistant wheat varieties. But it doesn’t always have to be new seeds: Right on the field, there are also simple but effective ways to guarantee the same yields with less water. Targeted weed and pest control, for instance, helps to save on the precious resource. To make sure that farmers worldwide apply the integrated crop protection solutions developed by Bayer CropScience as efficiently as possible, they are offered special training. The Bayer experts explain to the farmers how they can reduce water usage in spraying, for example, by using a special nozzle technology. In Malaysia, for instance, farmers use these efficient nozzles when spraying the non-selective herbicide Basta™. Their water requirements declined from more than 200 to now 50 liters per hectare. Modern crop protection products also help to make more efficient use of the natural moisture of the soil. Herbicides can make sure that weeds and crops don’t have to compete for water. And fungicides protect foods from fungi – leading to better storability of fruit and vegetables. This way, you can sustainably save water which has already gone into crops.
But water efficiency can also be improved beyond the wheat, soy and corn fields: Bayer CropScience’s agricultural experts have developed tools, for instance, to treat the wash water used to clean harvesters, ploughs or tractors » Innovations for Water and Soil. This way, water which has been polluted in the course of the production cycle can be reinserted into the water cycle via evaporation. Regardless of the kind of solution – it is time to use water more efficiently and sustainably. This is also what the United Nations say: If nothing changes, 1.8 billion people alone will live in regions with extreme water shortages by 2025 – one fourth of the global population.