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Bayer CropScience Identifies Future Farming Challenges at IUPAC

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Two key members of the global research team at Bayer CropScience were in Melbourne recently to address delegates of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) conference.  

Dr Alexander Klausener, Head of Research at Bayer CropScience and Dr Harry Strek, leader of Bayer CropScience’s Integrated Weed Management and Weed Resistance Biology Team in Germany spoke to delegates about solutions in Bayer’s innovation pipeline.  

Challenges such as chemical resistance development in pests, weeds and diseases, climate change, regulatory demands and food chain partnerships were on the agenda.  

“Agrochemical companies such as Bayer CropScience that have a strong research and development focus can shape the future of agriculture through innovation,” Dr Klausener said.  

Dr Klausener gave an overview of established and recently introduced chemical classes and their modes of action, and also provided his perspectives on the future of agrochemicals.  

“There will be more focus on beneficial side effects of chemicals like increased stress tolerance – these will become differentiators in yield and quality,” Dr Klausener said.  

“There is also an ethical focus here – agriculture must feed generations for years to come, and modern agrochemistry has to support farmers to manage these tasks,” Dr Klausener said.  

Dr Klausener pointed out that companies such as Bayer CropScience need to concentrate on integrated solutions for growers and agronomists to ensure a sustainable agricultural future.  

“Integrated services such as breeding, diagnostic tools, forecasting systems and consulting, trait innovation and plant health and nutrition will make up the full spectrum of many companies’ offerings in the future,” Dr Klausener said.  

Dr Strek’s presentation focussed on the development of resistance to agricultural chemicals in weed populations in Australia and internationally.  

“Weeds present a higher global threat to yield loss than even fungus infections and insect infestations. Inability to control weeds will certainly cause problems for agriculture in the future,” Dr Strek said.  

Dr Strek said that the challenge in Australia will be to persuade farmers and agronomists to change their weed management systems before weed resistance becomes an even larger problem.  

“To simply respond to ecological threats as we are presented with them is not enough. We need to change our practices now to stop weed resistance from having a potentially devastating effect down the track,” Dr Strek said.  

“Integrated management practices, including crop rotation, maintaining herbicide diversity, nonchemical soil cultivation and equipment sanitation are key to preventing weed resistance in Australia,” Dr Strek said.  

Dr Strek said that Bayer CropScience’s focus is maintaining the sustainability of its products, while developing new modes of action, which will provide growers with more alternatives in weed control.  

“Bayer CropScience has some exciting solutions in the pipeline, which will assist with diagnostics and help the industry put a plan of action in place to combat resistance,” Dr Strek said.  

The planned launch of Sakura 850 WG herbicide in 2011 is one example of solutions that Bayer CropScience is developing.  

Sakura is a powerful new pre-emergent herbicide developed for use in Australian wheat, triticale and barley crops. The outstanding characteristics of Sakura include its consistently high levels of grass weed control under varying conditions and its excellent control of annual ryegrass populations, including those with developed resistance to other herbicides.  

“Bayer CropScience’s approach to managing weed resistance represents strong science, and strong commitment to principles,” Dr Strek said.

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