IWM contribution to Sustainable Agriculture
Best weed management practices
Bayer’s priorities are to achieve the best possible crop rotation that disrupts the lifecycle of target weeds, enhances a farm’s productivity, implements best practices to protect groundwater and surface water, and preserves the health of the soil.
Water conservation is an essential element of sustainable agriculture. Advanced application technologies for crop protection products play a major role in reducing spray drift and ensuring that these products only impact their targets. Since the right dosage and application timing are also critical in achieving these goals, they constitute an important part of the IWM guidelines. For more information, click here.
Experts at Bayer CropScience have developed an innovative system for farmers designed to prevent contamination of surface waters by, for example, crop protection products. Any pesticides in the rinse water that is left over after cleaning the farmyard are broken down in exactly the same way as they would be naturally – only more efficiently. Bayer’s Phytobac™ system ensures that contaminants cannot get into sewage systems or nearby bodies of water when spraying equipment is filled or cleaned on the farm.
Soil management plays a decisive role for Integrated Weed Management. Beside herbicides, it is the most effective and economical method of weed control. By reducing the weed pressure soil management also supports herbicide efficacy, thus decreasing resistance selection pressure on herbicides. Soil tillage may be used to bury weed seeds deep in the soil where they cannot emerge and may disappear via degradation or be eaten by soil organisms. Shallow soil tillage, on the other hand, may be used to stimulate weed seed germination as applied in stale seed bed systems. Tillage also has a positive effect on crop establishment (soil aeration, good seedbed, faster early growth, earlier crop establishment). On the other hand, soil aeration leads to faster biological degradation processes in the soil, which reduce its carbon content; besides, tillage loosens the soil and may destroy its structure, which makes it prone to erosion. In addition, the soil flora and fauna may be negatively influenced and a great deal of energy and time also have to be invested.
Protection of biodiversity
At Bayer, we are committed to sustainable agriculture which combines covering the basic human need of food as well as the preservation of a healthy environment with its biodiversity in a diverse range of healthy ecosystems and organisms. In so far the protection of biodiversity is of key importance for us. There are several ways in which Integrated Weed Management can contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.
All our herbicides are thoroughly evaluated for their environmental safety according to the latest state of science and following the most recent regulatory requirements. This helps to keep their potential impact to the environment to a minimum. Possible adverse effects to off-crop habitats can even more be reduced by modern application technologies which optimize a targeted application of the products. A smart use of herbicide can reduce soil tillage and thereby benefit soil biodiversity. And last not least, Integrated Weed Management enables more efficient crop growing and a better yield per area unit. This reduces the use of land for agricultural purposes and allows to set aside more land for the preservation of natural habitats.
Learn more on our initiative the Bayer Bee Care Program.
Demonstrating Best Practices in Real Life
To showcase best agricultural practices in real life, Bayer has set up an outstanding network of Forward Farms. These are independent farms, established as knowledge platforms to demonstrate sustainable agriculture in practice. They offer opportunities for dialog among stakeholders along the value chain and for understanding better how farmers make decisions and how a farm is organized in line with best agricultural practices to optimize the sustainability of the production systems. Each farm has established an Integrated Weed Management plan. Jan & Josse Peeters, who own and operate the Hof Ten Bosch farm in Huldenberg near Brussels, Belgium, have extensively combined crop rotation, chemical practices, soil cultivation and cover crops in a very efficient way.
The Ten Bosch farm IWM brochure (PDF) is available here.
Learn more about Bayer Forward Farming here.