Opinion

Bayer looks to digital future

By Chris Staff, Bayer Australia Head of Digital Agriculture
January 16 2022 - 2:00am
Chris Staff, Bayer Australia head of digital agriculture, says digital agriculture will be critical in the future.

Most days, many people ask me why Bayer is investing so heavily in digital agriculture.

The answer is simple, we must.

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We must invest in digital ag to continue to fulfil our purpose, to shape agriculture to benefit farmers and consumers for the good of Australia's environment, society, and economy.

Digital farming is agriculture's present and future, advancing and applying technology and data science to best practice farming techniques and systems. It is central to continued productivity and profitability advancements, and will help address one of agriculture's most pressing issues, the continued sustainability of farming.

It's also not new. Farmers have adopted new digital technologies, for many years but it is now rapidly accelerating.

Farmers recognise it is essential in meeting an ever-increasing number of challenges that require new solutions.

Agriculture - whether it be food, feed or fibre - must meet the needs of a number of challenges.

These include feeding an increasing population while reducing its impact on the environment, adapting to the effects of a changing climate, less available arable land, and increasing fluctuations in commodity markets.

Australia's farmers are used to this.

Not only are they among the most innovative in the world, but they draw on conservation farming and regenerative techniques to enhance sustainability.

This necessitates better economic management and in-field enhancements to enhance soil fertility, stop erosion, maximise water and land use efficiencies, and reduce the volume of pesticides and other farm inputs.

Digital farming adds to the tools in the farmers' arsenal, drawing data and advanced computational techniques to make more informed decisions.

When you combine remote and proximal sensing and artificial intelligence with precision equipment and techniques that utilises satellite technology, you hit the sweet spot for sustainable agricultural innovation.

This is where Bayer seeks to play its role, alongside our farming customers, be it in broadacre, row crop or horticulture.

We'll develop digitally enabled solutions for farmers, growing enough food while enhancing the crops, soils and environment.

This means transforming our business from an input provider to an outcome driver.

Our success will not be tied to selling more products but more solutions, delivering more profitable, sustainable harvests for this season, and the seasons after that.

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We'll enable farmers to work ever smarter, combining their expertise and knowledge of the land with digital tools that collect and make sense of data, providing actionable insights for better decision-making.

To back this mantra up, Bayer has set clear targets.

We've said 100 per cent of product sales will be digitally enabled by 2030.

When it comes to sustainability, we will reduce the environmental impact of crop protection by 30 percent by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in crop by 30pc by 2030 as well - alongside our farming customers.

By combining agricultural innovation outcomes with digital agriculture, and by placing sustainability at our core, we are investing is an exciting future full of opportunity.

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