Seed World

A Step Towards Tackling Farming’s Biggest Pressures

A recent report from a global management firm came across my desk a few days back. The report detailed the results of a large-scale survey conducted in 2022 which asked row and specialty-crop farmers to identify key opportunities and most concerning pressures they face. While farmers expressed general —if cautious — optimism in the survey, they also identified a long list of pressures and challenges. Some of the major themes from the survey included:

Commodity prices. While 65% of the survey’s respondents see improved crop prices and improved yields as the top two near term profit opportunities, the volatility and variability in the market, together with high input costs (especially of fertilizer) and a host of unknowns make farm finances nearly impossible to pre-plan.

Rising operating costs. Of all the things keeping them up at night, farmers’ biggest concern is the cost of operating a farm today. 80% of farmers surveyed ranked rising costs as the number one risk to profitability. My first question, and a question I hear from farmers every time I talk to them, is: how does a farmer cashflow major and necessary purchases? Second and more broadly: how can a farmer attempt to grow the business when costs are high? Thirdly, how can agriculture draw young talent given the current cost challenges facing new entrants?

One of the key concerns I hear from farmers, though (interestingly) it was not identified in the report, is resistant weeds. Genetic improvement and trait advancement have seen huge gains in recent years, and more are in the pipeline as breeders deliver higher and higher potential varieties. Yet, resistant weeds keep creeping in. The good news is that industry continues to innovate to deliver on new varieties’ potential. Keeping up with Mother Nature is challenging but we continue to work on this every single day, and we’re making important strides forward.

In my role at Bayer, I like to think I’m a small piece of a solution to farming’s biggest challenges. Farms need every possible leg-up in crop yield and quality in order to bring in the dollars necessary to keep up with rising costs and increasing financial pressures. Solutions need to be both financially reasonable and highly effective.

Highly effective, easy and cost effective describe our Acceleron seed applied solutions in a nutshell. Our seed treatments, seamlessly integrated into every bag of Bayer corn seed sold, aren’t included as some afterthought or marketing opportunity. They’re exactly the opposite: they’re extremely carefully formulated and designed entirely to get a crop started strong, delivering highly targeted, cost-effective pest protection and a boost to early seedling vigor. At Bayer, we can’t fix skyrocketing land values or a fickle market, but we are committed — every single day — to helping our farmers maximize productivity so they can keep feeding the world today, tomorrow and into the future. It’s a promise that this farm-boy, along with and our whole Bayer team, is proud to make.