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Launch of Bayer Innovation Academy for Weeds in Mexico



Half of global food production is at risk due to weeds, pests and diseases. Reason enough for Bayer de Mexico to launch an Innovation Academy for Weeds. Its aim is to create an expert network of Mexican weed scientists and agronomists to further dialog and promote solutions in the weed field.

At the recent launch of the Bayer Academia de Innovación Malezas (Bayer Innovation Academy for Weeds) Elias Tapia, product development and regulatory science manager in the Crop Science Division of Bayer de Mexico, outlined the key reasons for setting up this Academy: “Innovation and good practices are key to overcoming the challenge of feeding a global growing population in a context full of greater obstacles to crops, such as unfavorable weather, weeds and conditions that foster the development of pests and diseases.” However, as an agronomist, Elias Tapia also explained that there are very sophisticated and inspiring agricultural innovations, the benefits of which can be integrated by farmers through knowledge transfer processes that promote the adequate, safe and sustainable use of each technology. The Bayer Innovation Academy for Weeds is part of Academias de Innovación Bayer, an extensive project in Mexico that aims to further the dialog between academics, researchers, agronomists and Bayer specialists, and to train farmers in the various fields of optimized crop development.

Identifying crop problems

The importance of correctly identifying the problems affecting a crop was emphasized by Dr. Hugo Cruz, who heads the Innovation Academy for Weeds: “A wrong diagnosis results in bad practices that may affect the crop during several cycles and even the environment as well. In the case of weeds it is not about applying an herbicide just because of chemical control, it is about choosing the best alternative in order to take advantage of technological advances and also rotating the product each season in order to avoid resistance. Good practices may assure good yields without affecting the environment or the farmer’s field; that is why Bayer is fully committed to launching these Academies where the exchange of knowledge and discussions will definitively result in helping farmers to solve losses and provide sustainable and healthy food.”

Fruitful first meeting

On the first day of the Innovation Academy for Weeds a number of key topics were discussed: “Weed taxonomy” (Dr. Irma López Muraira); “Herbicide calibration and application” (Dr. Fernando Urzúa Soria); “Comprehensive weed management” (Dr. José Alfredo Domínguez Valenzuela); “Weed resistance to herbicides” (Dr. Rafael del Prado); “Diversity is the future” (Dr. Hugo Cruz-Hipolito); and “Herbicide classification and mode of action” (Dr. E. Rosales).  On the second day a field trip gave the participants a practical overview of weed taxonomy, herbicide calibration and application practices, as well as trials on pre and post-emergent Bayer herbicides for corn. The third day featured talks on weed management in the main crops of corn, fruit, cereals and sugar cane, as well as GMO crops. Among the Academy’s commitments it is worth highlighting the plan to establish a Herbicide Resistance Protection Committee for the industry in Mexico.