In 2021, the German firm spent about €900m (US$973.8m) on R&D in the agricultural solutions segment.
This week, it outlined how it is investing in innovation in seed and trait development, seed treatment, biological and chemical crop protection, and digital farming technologies for key crops worldwide, aiming for improvements to climate resilience, biodiversity preservation, precision applications and reduced CO2 emissions.
The financial gains from do so will be significant. It forecasts peak sales potential of more than €7.5bn arising from those efforts.
Controlling soybean diseases
In terms of soybeans, BASF said it is looking to harness innovation in seed, crop protection and digital solutions, tailored to the needs of Latin American farmers, developing products that it claims will provide effective control of soybean diseases, including Asian Soybean Rust, and help manage resistance.
In addition, soybean farmers will benefit from a novel trait in development for tolerance to nematodes, pests that induce yield losses of around 30%, said the chemical giant.
To control weeds with precision inputs, BASF, together with Bosch, has developed an approach that combines its agronomic intelligence with Bosch’s high-tech camera sensor technology and software.
That technology, Smart Spraying, offers real-time, automated pre- and post-emergence weed identification and management, reducing the risk of weed resistance by using specifically developed herbicide formulations and optimized rates, and ensuring that herbicide is applied only where and when needed, said BASF. “Through spot application, it can reduce herbicide volume use by up to 70%, depending on prevailing field conditions and weed pressure. The Smart Spraying solution is expected to launch in Brazil, North America and Europe within the next 18 months.”
Growing canola in hotter and drier environments
Looking to its optimization efforts in terms of canola crop production, BASF said it is continuing to improve its InVigor canola products through selection for hybrid vigor, while also developing yellow-seeded canola hybrids to be grown in historically less productive farmland of Canada and the US where conditions are drier and hotter.
The combination of traits and genetics will allow farmers to produce a high-value oil crop under challenging conditions like drought and heat stress, it added.
To meet the needs of a growing global population, wheat farmers need to increase their yield by 1.7% annually for the next 20 years, noted BASF.
It said it will contribute to this by researching approaches that optimize agricultural outcomes and sustainability. “Ideltis hybrid wheat will be launched in the second half of the decade.”