Taking a Tailored Approach to Sustainable Farming

October 15, 2019

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to sustainable farming.

Recognizing this, Bayer teamed up with independent farmers to create Bayer ForwardFarming, a knowledge platform that demonstrates sustainable agriculture in practice.

The platform focuses on demonstrating the importance of seeds and traits, crop protection, digital tools, and related services, with the end goal of sustainably increasing yield by making the best use of all resources, while preserving the environment.

In partnership with the farmers, the initiative creates opportunities for demonstration, dialogue and collaboration on Bayer ForwardFarms around the world. Tailored solutions, proactive stewardship measures, and partnerships are implemented to show how modern agriculture can go hand in hand with environmental and social responsibility.

These ForwardFarms are independent farms that are representative of the region in which they are located. The farmers proactively seek improvements in sustainable agriculture practices, and in return their farms serve as a hub for exchange of ideas and insights that can be implemented locally and globally.

These farms benefit from partnerships with both the public and private sector to support their business and produce high-quality food, feed, and renewable raw materials, while at the same time preserving farmland and natural resources such as water, soil and biodiversity.

Bayer ForwardFarming promotes and demonstrates proactive stewardship to protect human health and preserve the environment through education and training. 

Safe Use of Crop Protection Products

Bayer uses the ForwardFarming platform to deliver information about the responsible handling and application of products. Using online tools, individual farmers can find tailored information about proper personal protective equipment. Bayer also developed a device, called easyFlow, that allows operators to measure and translocate crop protection products without being exposed to them.

Enhancement of Natural Habitat

On each farm, coexistence with the natural surroundings is important not only for the environment, but for the health of the crops. Depending on the local habitat and species, farms implement diverse features including:

  • Mixed plant hedges act as a windshield for fruit crops and help prevent spray drift.
  • Flowering strips and mixed hedges ensure that bees, wild pollinators, and other beneficial insects have food and shelter throughout the year when active.
  • Nesting boxes are provided for small birds and resting places for predatory birds.
  • Insect hotels provide habitat and encourage activity, especially by wild pollinators.
  • Open plots allow skylarks to land and build their nests in the surrounding fields.

The Impact of Bayer ForwardFarming on an Individual Farm Level

On the Brazilian farm Nossa Senhora Aparecida, soil health is a top priority. The Fiorese family who owns the farm has turned to sustainable agriculture practices to maintain the ecosystem, soil fertility, and value.

With the Bayer ForwardFarming partnership, the Fiorese family works with advisors and soil consultants who strengthen the farm’s soil preservation strategy. The Fioreses now use a no-till technique that helps to reduce and eliminate soil preparation tasks and has given the family more flexibility and efficiency in farm management. They’ve also employed a multi-cropping approach for their soy, corn, beans, wheat and sorghum, and use cover crops such as oats.

These changes have resulted in an improved soil structure, an increase of organic matter in the soil, and improved water infiltration and water holding capacity. Consequently, the water is available to the plants growing and the farm and soil compaction and erosion is reduced.

Because of the complexity of the practices and the precision required in understanding soil health, the Fiorese family has been able to lean on the support of experts through Bayer ForwardFarming. The initiative is powering a sustainable movement down to the individual farm level — and everyone benefits with higher quality food and a healthier environment.

 

Endnotes:

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