Weed Scientists Invade Germany

March 23, 2009 07:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
You really can't take weed scientists away from the farm. We were barely off the plane in Dusseldorf, Germany when Western Illinois University weed scientist, Gordon Roskamp, was digging through the grass along Kasernen-Strasse looking for weeds. "They have dandelion, chickweed and mouse ear too,” he was heard to mutter.
I'm here in Germany as part of the Bayer CropScience Herbicide Innovation Tour. There are a couple dozen crop scientists traveling with me. Over the next few days I'll be bringing you some print and video reports from the experience.
Today we visited Bayer's headquarters in Monheim. Professor Friedrich Berschauer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer CropScience AG, says the company is planning to invest a total of $3.4 billion (Euro) in research and development between 2008 and 2012. Almost $2.7 billion Euro of this will be allocated to research and development into crop protection active ingredients and another $750 million Euro will be devoted to developing new seed and plant biotechnology products.
Bayer has already been spending to modernize existing facilities and construct new ones. A new product plant aimed at producing glufosinate-ammonium (Ignite) is being built near Cologne, Germany and is scheduled to come on stream this year.
From 2007-2008, Berschauer says the company's sales increased 10.2% in Europe; 4.8% in the U.S.; 5.6% in Asia-Pacific and 16.6% in Latin America. Bayer has launched several new active herbicide ingredients—including Huskie, a HPPD inhibitor for cereals. Laudis, Balance Flexx and Corvus are new residual corn herbicides. Ignite and LibertyLink soybeans, a nonselective alternative to Roundup Ready soybeans, are also being launched in select markets this growing season.
Berschauer admits the economic scene is tougher than a year ago, but he believes the long term fundamental drivers for the agricultural industry remain intact. Rising world population, increasing nutritional requirements, low inventories world wide and the impact of climate change will continue to demand innovative products, he believes.

For More Information
Innovations in Corn Herbicide Technology

You can email Pam Smith at psmith@farmjournal.com.

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