b'PARTNER CONTENTMAS Seeds is Breaking Ground with its New R&D DepartmentRESEARCHERS ARE DOING A DEEP DIVE INTO DIVERSIFICATION AND AGROECOLOGY AND TAKING CUSTOMERS ALONG FOR THE RIDE.W ith a rich history in corn and sunflower crops, MAS Seeds recently made a significant leap by establishing a ded-icated research and development department focused on diversification, agroecology and product development. The team members work on developing innovative solutions for sustainable farming. They are based in different research centers across Europe, and collaborate with farmers, agrono-mists, and other experts to improve the environmental and social performance of agriculture.The diversification aspect of that title is crucial. MAS Seeds is known for corn and sunflower, but we are now extending our focus to include crops like winter oilseed rape, soybean, alfalfa, sorghum, and mixed crops, says Colin Guillaume, head of diver-sification and agroecology product development at MAS Seeds.Our objective is clear: to support the portfolio construction for these diversification crops, as they are going to play an even more important role in the farming of the future, says Guillaume.The structure of the new R&D team offers crucial insight into its goal. With members dedicated to specific aspects like agroecological solutions, product evaluation, and collaborative projects, MAS Seeds ensures a holistic approach to its research.Agroecology, the R&D departments second pillar, signifies MAS Seeds commitment to bringing ecologically sound solutions to the market. The goal is to integrate agroecology at the core of the teams strategy.Some of the projects they are working on in this vein include:Developing cover crop mixtures to enhance soil health, biodiversity, and crop productivity. E valuating the impact of intercropping maize and sun-flower with legumes on nitrogen fixation, weed control,From left to right: Colin GUILLAUME, Head of Diversification and Agroecology and yield stability. Product Development, Marie BONCOMPAIN, Agroecological Solutions Designer and Olivier Maes, New Crops Product Evaluator. T esting the potential of conservation agriculture practices such as no-till, mulching, and crop rotation to reduce soil erosion, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. movement towards regenerative agriculture, responding to the challenges posed by climate change.GUIDING THEIR WORKThe team has identified four main areas to guide its work: soil fer- NEED TO EDUCATEtility and carbon, protein and energy autonomy, climate resilienceOf course, education is key to convincing growers to diversify and water, and biodiversity. These all reflect MAS Seeds commit- rotations and is a key driver for successful implementation and ment to addressing the evolving challenges faced by growers.adoption of agroecological solutions. Our teams forward-looking perspective aims to adapt farm- MAS Seeds formalized a strategic partnership last spring ing systems to water scarcity, improve genetic tolerance, andwith Bordeaux Sciences Agro and Masadour revolving around integrate biodiversity into landscapes, says Marie Boncompain,three key areas: agro-ecology, digital advancements in agricul-agroecological solutions designer at MAS Seeds. ture, and human resources. One of the teams major efforts is on cover crops.We have a strong desire to engage in participative Why cover crops? They play a pivotal role in achievingresearch, involving farmers directly in the innovation process. multiple objectives, ranging from improving livestock farm pro- This shift toward collaborative innovation aims to ensure that tein autonomy to enhancing soil fertility and structure, and evensolutions align with the practical needs of those working the contributing to the development of the biofuels industry, addsland, says Guillaume.Boncompain.MAS Seeds is not only innovating in the field but also chal-Cover crops can also help address crucial issues such as thelenging the perception of what agriculture stands for and how it carbon footprint reduction of farming. is done, he adds. The team is actively engaged in trials, collecting data onWe envision a future where agriculture is not only about pro-various species, and contributing to carbon sequestration efforts.ductivity but also about fostering positive relationships between Its dedication to sustainable solutions aligns with the globalfarmers and their communities.SEEDWORLD.COM/EUROPEISEED WORLD EUROPE I 21'