Rothamsted and Bayer to collaborate on delivering "smarter crop protection"

Hertfordshire's Rothamsted Research has entered into a strategic framework agreement with chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer, leading to more research collaborations.

Image: HW
Image: HW

The two say they are now forming a "strategic alliance to support a digital revolution for detecting and managing biotic threats such as pests, pathogens and weeds more sustainably", with findings from laboratory and field work "helping to support a transition to smarter crop protection".

This will include real-time detection of pests, gaining understanding of the evolution of resistance, identification of new modes of insecticide action and novel approaches to pest control.

Rothamsted director and chief executive Achim Dobermann said: "Research institutions such as ours need to partner with others, including industry, to achieve real breakthroughs and have bigger impacts. This alliance will provide us with a whole new opportunity to work together on complex challenges, towards making farming more precise, more productive and more sustainable."

Bayer's head of digital farming Tobias Menne added: "New technologies that detect stress factors long before they become visible to the human eye can help farmers to make better informed decisions earlier and more precisely. Fertiliser and crop protection can be applied at the best possible time and at the optimal dosage, using no more or less than needed by the plant."

The two parties have already collaborated, including on a major ongoing project which seeks to understand how bees metabolise insecticides and to inform the design of more selective chemistry.

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