“Soybeans in the Americas” concluded the BASF Agricultural Solutions Media Summit at Durham, N.C., earlier this month. This was a panel discussion that in typical panel manner educated the audience of media and BASF employees in attendance.

Barbara Aguiar, head of global external communications and brand strategy, BASF Crop Protection, was the moderator. Panelists were Aurelio Pavinato, CEO of a Brazilian farming operation of about 800,000 acres; Brian Nenemaker, partner in a farming operation in Michigan as well as agricultural operations in Brazil; and Charles Hall, CEO, North Carolina Soybean Producers Association.

Paraphrases from the discussion are provided here:

  • We’ve replaced continuous improvement with the word sustainability at the farm level. ~ Nenemaker
  • Sustainable production systems involve the right fertility technology for the production system of no-till, minimum till and cover crops. ~ Pavinato
  • We like to have the Chinese economy doing well to buy soybeans. ~ Nenemaker
  • Every other row of soybeans grown in the U.S. is exported and one-half of those exported soybeans go to China; therefore, one in four rows of soybeans grown goes to China. ~ Hall
  • Aquaculture is an important market for soybeans and a lot of research is proceeding for aquaculture use. ~ Hall
  • Production in China is mainly small farms but moving to big farms for use of technology and increased per acre production. ~ Pavinato
  • We have to identify a full basket of tools for increasing soybean yields. ~ Hall
  • It will take a lot of little things to increase soybean yields. There isn’t going to be anything magic that greatly bumps yields. ~ Nenemaker
  • Driverless tractors/equipment will be adopted in large-scale Brazilian operations shortly. Follow the leader technology with the lead planter overseen by an operator and two more following planters having no driver is logical for the large fields of Brazil. ~ Pavinato
  • It appears better to go ahead and label GMO ingredient foods and not fight it. ~ Nenemaker
  • Expect the next generation to accept GMOs but everyone wants to know what is in their food. ~ Pavinato
  • Europe labels GMO ingredients as information, not as a negative call out. ~ Aguiar
  • There are 180 million hectares of pasture that could be transitioned to crop production in Brazil. ~ Pavinato