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BASF to help farmers produce more

By Jennifer Carrico

Farmers care for the land and the crops and animals on the land. Farming is the biggest job on earth.

That was the message at the BASF global press conference in Limburgerhof, Germany, in early October.

Markus Heldt, president of BASF crop protection division said his company will be working more toward tailoring to the needs of the farmers in each area of the world.

“Nitrogen is responsible for sustaining 48 percent of the human civilization. Research from the past 35 years has helped BASF help farmers raise more food for the growing world population,” he said.

With new demands of sufficient calories and micronutrients, an aging population, more energy and water consumption and increased urbanization, Heldt said many new challenges have come forward for farmers. These challenges include increasing productivity and quality, optimizing resource uses, meeting consumers’ expectations and tailoring production methods to local conditions.

BASF continues to have a large investment in research and development with fungicides to help farmers fight diseases in their crops and improve long-term efficiency.

Heldt said the researchers’ work with nitrogen efficiency in modern farming is ongoing, as a lot of nitrogen is lost or not optimized properly.

Herbicide resistance is on the forefront of their research as well. Heldt said as far back as 1995, BASF was discussing herbicide resistance, but at that point it was mostly still a scientific discussion.

“Even then there was seen a strong need for something to complement glyphosate in fighting weeds,” he said. “Down the road we think we need to see new modes of action in herbicides. Right now it is too early to say what they are specifically, but many promising modes of action are in our pipeline to help with herbicide resistance.”

The Functional Crop Care is a new path for BASF in finding ag solutions related to soil solutions, soil management and crop care. Heldt said this will provide benefits and advantages for farmers to use sustainability and is BASF’s new program to help with customer service to farmers.

Jürgen Huff, senior vice president functional crop care, BASF Crop Protection said this program will help with innovations for and beyond crop protection.

“We will used technology to help farmers with weed control, disease control and pest control and this could help for a yield increase of up to 40 percent,” Huff said.

Cold and heat stress and nutrient deficiency can also help with increases in yields by as much as 43 percent.

Water management is also a challenge for farmers in many parts of the world. Water scarcity and conditions challenge agriculture production. BASF is developing products that enhance the growing conditions of plants and technologies that optimize distribution of water in soil. These products are expected to launch some time in this decade.

Seed enhancements and biostacked technology also help to increase yields for farmers.

By 2020, BASF plans to have an increase in sales of 500 million Euros or $679 million U.S. dollars, related to crop care.

“Our job is to provide new tools for farmers to grow more,” Huff said.

Jennifer Carrico can be reached by phone at 515-833-2120 or by email at jcarrico@hpj.com.

Date: 11/11/2013

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