Focus on Innovation

Crop Science

Crop Science maintains a global network of research and development facilities. While research is carried out centrally at a few dedicated sites, development of crop protection products as well as plant breeding and trait development activities take place both at these sites and at numerous field testing and breeding stations in all regions. Our scientists working across the areas of seed traits, seed technology, seed breeding, agricultural chemistry and biologics closely collaborate as part of our integrated research approach. This optimally combines complementary technical expertise from chemical and biological research and development.

To develop better agronomic recommendations for farmers, we develop, for example, digital products and services that help them with analyses and the evaluation of conditions in the field and provide them with extensive geographical information that enables better decision-making for mastering a variety of challenges.

At Crop Protection, we pursue the goal of identifying and developing innovative, safe and sustainable active ingredients for use as insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and crop efficiency products by foliar and soil application as well as seed treatment. Here, we use research methods such as high-throughput screening and computational Life Sciences This term describes Bayer’s activities in health care and agriculture and comprises the Bayer Group excluding its legally independent subsidiary Covestro. It refers to the businesses of the Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health and Crop Science divisions and the Animal Health business unit. for the identification and optimization of new chemical and microbial leads. In addition, we expand the area of applications for our active ingredients and their performance through new mixtures and through the development of innovative formulations.

In Seeds we are conducting research to optimize plant traits and are developing new varieties in cotton, oilseed rape/canola, soybeans, rice, wheat and vegetables. Our researchers are working both on increasing the yield potential of crops and on enhancing the quality of the crop. Examples include altering the profile of rapeseed/canola oil or enhancing the properties of cotton fibers. We are also targeting the development of plants that deliver higher yields under occasionally adverse climatic conditions. Further areas of focus include developing new herbicide tolerance and insect resistance traits based on novel modes of action, and improving disease tolerance.

Environmental Science further develops substances either from our own agricultural portfolio or from external partners for professional uses in non-agricultural areas. This includes solutions for controlling pests such as cockroaches or rodents in public areas and the food industry, or to control weeds on roads or railways. In the area of Vector control describes methods for the avoidance or targeted control of organisms that transmit pathogens triggering infectious diseases. Vectors include blood-sucking insects such as the Anopheles mosquito, which can transfer malaria parasites, for example. , we develop solutions with resistance-breaking properties for controlling mosquitoes that can transmit malaria, dengue fever or Zika.

Research and development pipeline

Our product pipeline contains numerous new crop protection products, seed varieties and enhanced products (life cycle management). We estimate the combined peak sales potential of products with launch dates between 2015 and 2020 to be more than €5 billion. In 2016, we launched confirmatory technical proof-of-concept field studies for four active ingredients and one new crop trait, thus exceeding our Group target. A new plant trait is a specific characteristic that has not yet been available or offered at Bayer for the crop plant in question. The following table shows selected new products that are expected to be launched by 2020.

Group target 2016:

transfer of 3 new molecular entities (NMEs), plant traits or biologics into confirmatory technical proof-of-concept field studies

Product Innovation Pipeline1

Market launch
Product group
Indication / crop
Product / plant trait

2017

Biological crop protection

Insecticide

BioAct™ Liquid

2017

Seeds

Cotton

Glytol TwinLink Plus™ (dual herbicide tolerance and insect resistance)

2017

Seeds

Rice

Pest resistance and disease tolerance (native traits)

2017

Seeds

Rice

Flood tolerance (native trait)

2017

Seeds

Soybeans

Balance™ GT (dual herbicide tolerance)

2018

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

Dual herbicide tolerance

2018

Seeds

Rice

Salt tolerance (native trait)

2019

Chemical crop protection

Insecticide

Tetraniliprole

2019

Chemical crop protection

Fungicide

Tiviant™

2019

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

Herbicide tolerance

2019

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

New oil profile (native trait)

2019

Seeds

Rice

Dual disease tolerance (native trait)

2019

Seeds

Soybeans

Triple herbicide tolerance

2020

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

Dual herbicide tolerance

1 Planned market launch of selected new products
As of January 30, 2017

New products and registrations

In 2016, Crop Science received marketing authorization in certain countries for new mixtures and formulations, as well as for expanded indications for existing products. For example, we were granted authorization to market the herbicide indaziflam and its core brand Alion™ in Brazil and the new herbicide mixture DiFlexx™ Duo in corn in the United States. The herbicide active ingredient triafamone and its Council™ formulations were approved in Japan. We also received further marketing authorizations and the approval of expanded indications for the biological fungicide Serenade™ ASO in various countries and for the nematicide Velum™ prime in southern Europe and Africa.

In July 2016, furthermore, the European Commission approved the dual herbicide tolerance trait Balance™ GT in soybeans for food and feed uses. Balance™ GT is owned by MS Technologies and is being codeveloped through a joint development agreement between that company and Bayer. The launch of soybeans with this new trait is planned for 2017, pending approval by the regulatory authorities.

Major success can be achieved with vegetables and many broad-acre crops using conventional and molecular plant breeding methods. As vegetables are intended especially to be marketed and eaten fresh, merchants and consumers have particularly strict requirements and expectations regarding their taste, appearance, nutrient content and shelf life. We continuously launch new vegetable seed varieties with these quality traits. In addition, we launch numerous new broad-acre crop varieties every year.

Environmental Science expanded its product range for forestry in Indonesia, Argentina and Brazil by launching the herbicide Esplanade™ F. Furthermore, the two new products Derigo™ and Pistol™ Flexx supplemented our portfolio for vegetation control in noncrop areas. We are continuously expanding our range of products for the maintenance of golf courses by developing and introducing various innovative solutions such as the nematicide Indemify™ and the fungicide Exteris™ in the United States. We are also supporting professional pest control around the world by expanding the Maxforce™ range of insecticides.

Cooperations

Crop Science is part of a global network of partners from diverse segments of the agricultural industry and academic research.

Crop Science: Important Cooperations

Cooperation objective

Increase in wheat yields by means of native plant traits – discovery, validation and integration

Use of microbes to improve soil health and thereby increase crop productivity

Herbicide Innovation Partnership for the discovery and development of innovative weed management solutions

Joint development of new substances to control mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as malaria and dengue fever

Development and application of systems biology approaches to achieve a better understanding of metabolic processes in plants

Cooperation on several R&D objectives in various areas of relevance for agriculture in Brazil, e.g. Asian soybean rust

Research collaboration focused on phenotyping for plant breeding, research into plant traits and the development of biologicals

Decision-making aids for farmers that enable more targeted deployment of crop protection products in fields using satellite technology

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limited assurance

We formed new partnerships in 2016: in April 2016, Crop Science announced a five-year research partnership with the Institute of Geography and the Department of Informatics of the University of Hamburg that is aimed at jointly developing new digital solutions for agriculture based on geoinformatics methods and models. These enable the IT-based visualization of the consequences of agricultural processes using relevant geobasic data such as soil, climate, land relief and usage parameters. In September 2016, Crop Science announced a five-year research partnership with the Jülich Research Center in Germany that is focused on phenotyping for plant breeding, research into plant traits and the development of biologicals. In October 2016, Bayer and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced a research collaboration aimed at better understanding the genetic factors that impact wheat yields so that these can be increased.

In our open innovation initiatives Grants4Targets and Grants4Traits, we invite partners from academic research institutes, start-ups and other companies to join us and together drive innovation in the areas of crop protection and trait development. By investing in venture capital funds, furthermore, we support up-and-coming companies in agricultural technologies. We have developed various venture capital funds with partners such as Flagship Ventures, Trendlines and Finistere Ventures LLC.