One year into her role as CEO of Bayer CropScience, Sandra Peterson is rejuvenating the crop protection business and seeking a strategy for rapid growth for the global crop science company.
“We are living and operating on a very hungry planet,” Peterson said today during Bayer’s annual international press conference at its headquarters in Monheim, Germany.
Farm Journal Media was among journalists from more than 20 countries gathered in Germany this week to hear the latest from Bayer CropScience.
“Because of the speed of change in food demand, and because the stakes are so high, Bayer will be accelerating its progress in crop protection and bioscience,” Peterson stated. “What we’ve accomplished in the past is good, but it’s not good enough. We are going to challenge ourselves as a company.”
Bayer will drive progress by restructuring its crop protection business, including phasing out older products, such as all Class I insecticides by the end of 2012. An element of the restructuring is that the company will focus efforts back on key brand families and core crops, such as soybeans.
Total R&D budgets at Bayer are expected to rise 20% by 2015, Peterson said. The company will refocus innovation with an increasing emphasis on its BioScience business unit and new growth areas in agrochemical research.
Focus on soybeans. There is much opportunity to increase soybean yields, added Lykele van der Broek, chief operating officer for Bayer. In an effort to better serve soybean producers in the U.S. and globally, Bayer will be entering the soybean seed and trait markets in 2012 utilizing a unique soy trait pipeline.
Bayer plans to be the first to introduce a triple stack herbicide product for soybeans.
“I think we have the best trait pipeline in the industry for soybeans,” Peterson said.
Bayer also will be launching a soybean nematode control product in 2012, on the heels of its Votivo product, a corn seed treatment against nematodes launched in 2010.
The company is coming off of record sales for the first half of 2012, driven by its crop protection and bioscience businesses. Total sales are up 11% over 2010; North American sales lead the way with 21% growth stemming from the introduction of Stratego YLD, Poncho/Votivo and the expansion of Bayer’s InVigor canola seed business.