Upcoming Bayer Crop Science technology includes RNAi-based rootworm control, short-stature corn

Bayer plans to launch SmartStax PRO in 2022.

Bayer Crop Science officials have given an pdate of the firm’s research and development (R&D) that includes commercializing ten crop protection formulations and advanced three key biotech products to launch. Bayer is also globally providing more than 430 newly commercialized hybrids and varieties of corn, soybeans, cotton and vegetables to farmers, say Bayer Crop Science officials. 

“Each project in our pipeline is designed to help farmers develop more efficient ways to farm and meet their needs,” said Bob Reiter, who heads R&D at Bayer Crop Science, in a Bayer news release. “We have a long history of converting R&D into viable solutions for farmers that enhance productivity, add value, and more efficiently use natural resources to produce a crop.”

Here are some of the technologies farmers will see from Bayer in the future:

  • In 2022,  SmartStax PRO is expected to launch in the United States. SmartStax PRO offers three modes of action for rootworm control, including a novel RNAi-based mode of action,  which is expected to have an area of opportunity of more than 75 million acres, say Bayer officials. 
  • Bayer has developed the first five-way stack of herbicide tolerance for soybeans. Currently in Phase 3 of development, this trait offering adds to XtendFlex’s three tolerances with another two modes of action; tolerance to HPPD (Group 27) and its own proprietary 2,4-D (Group 4) tolerance. In Phase 2 of the pipeline there is an additional mode-of-action coming to convey PPO herbicide (Group 14) tolerance. 

Additionally, the third generation of insect control in soybeans will further enhance the Intacta franchise and help farmers continue to increase yields while reducing the use of insecticides, say Bayer officials. 

Continued investment in biotech traits means that next-generation insect control traits in corn will be launching in the near term, with many debuting in South America. Brazil and Argentina are gearing up for the launch of VTPro4 in time for the 2021/22 season having received all necessary regulatory approvals. This new stacked offering includes an additional mode of above-ground insect control to combat evolving resistance in tropical Brazil. 

Bayer’s fourth generation of lepidoptera protection continues to show outstanding efficacy for above-ground control and has received full cultivation approval in Brazil – a critical milestone for the planned commercial launch by middle of the decade, say Bayer officials. 

Short Stature Corn 
 

Bayer’s short-stature corn is expected to transform corn production by enabling a new production system that allows more precise use of crop protection as well as the potential to optimize the use of key resources such as nitrogen, land, and water, say Bayer officials. Short-stature corn improves standability, including better green snap and stalk lodging tolerance, to help reduce significant crop loss from challenging environmental conditions and extreme weather including high winds. 

Bayer’s development of three approaches to short-stature corn will help enable global market access, say Bayer officials.  

In Phase 3 development are two approaches – advanced breeding and biotechnology. Advanced breeding is working to introgress naturally occurring short-stature characteristics into elite germplasm. Bayer is collaborating with BASF on a biotech approach to shorten internodes, which enables applicability across a wide array of germplasm. 

With gene editing, Bayer is developing multiple approaches to generate short-stature corn, creating potential for opportunities in multiple markets, say Bayer officials. Leveraging all three approaches to short-stature corn, Bayer anticipates the product concept could have a fit on more than 220 million global acres in the coming years, say Bayer officials. 



Advanced Breeding Technologies

Through advanced breeding tools and Bayer’s large germplasm library, 430 new hybrids and varieties across corn, soy, cotton, and vegetables have been deployed, say Bayer officials. The technology and traits deployed in developing these varieties protect the inherent yield potential of the seed and help Bayer continually improve the quality of its seed portfolio, say Bayer officials. 

Bayer’s breeding efforts are moving from selecting the best seeds with breeding to designing the best seeds for farmers. Through data science and a vast germplasm library, Bayer continuously enhances product development to meet changing needs of farmers, say Bayer officials. 

Small Molecule Development

Bayer is building on its track record of innovation and delivery of new active ingredients through investment in small molecule development, say Bayer officials. The strides it has made in small molecule discovery translate into a doubling of the number of candidates in the discovery phase with a higher probability of regulatory success, say Bayer officials.

For 2020, Bayer advanced eight new crop protection actives, with about 10 active ingredients in the current pipeline, which builds upon the company’s track record of delivering new active ingredients to the market, say Bayer officials. 

Bayer’s new herbicide mode of action for postemergence weed control has advanced to Phase 3. This molecule has the potential to unlock greater weed control flexibility, as it allows use in various market segments, opens new opportunities for herbicide tolerance trait systems in major crops, and enables the continued use of conservation- and no-till systems, which improve carbon sequestration and soil health. 

With core competencies in fermentation, formulation, field testing, and grower support, Bayer is also actively developing exciting new biologic options for farmers, as well as sustaining its leading lineup of biologic products, say Bayer officials. 

One example is the newest addition to the Serenade product family, Serenade Soil Activ. The new product improves ease of use for farmers, with lower use rates. Bayer expects this new product to deliver biologic growth in expanding markets, including launching in the U.S. and Australia this year, with broader global uses to follow in the years ahead. 

Data Science

Every farmer faces different challenges and needs a tailored solution. Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform is now being used on more than 150 million subscribed acres across the world. The connectivity from those acres, including logging information from planters, sprayers, and combines, helps farmers make data-driven decisions and evolve Climate FieldView’s models to optimize yields. Bayer is better integrating the data into its R&D process, enabling aligned testing to reflect how its customers farm, helping inform advancement of key projects it is developing, say Bayer officials. 

FieldView’s Seed Advisor has continued to help farmers improve productivity by optimizing seed placement recommendations. Growth of the platform means that the models are now powered by more than 6.9 million data points from more than 8,600 hybrids on more than 70,000 fields. 

“What we’ve announced today is just a snapshot of what we are working on as we continue to shape agriculture to meet growing needs of farmers, consumers, and the planet,” added Reiter.

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