Bayer To Invest $5.6 Billion In Weed-Control Technology

Bayer hung new signs at the former Monsanto St. Louis sites. ( Sonja Begemann )

On nearly the eve of Bayer’s first anniversary of its acquisition of Monsanto, the company announced today that it will invest approximately 5 billion Euros ($5.6 billion U.S.) in new methods to combat weeds over the next decade.

“We're really bringing the promise on what these companies coming together were meant to do from the beginning, which is bring more innovation to growers—aimed at better weed management--and this is us making good on that promise,” says Darren Wallis, vice president of communications for Bayer’s North American crop science division.

Bayer completed its acquisition of Monsanto on June 7, 2018, for $63 billion dollars including debt.

According to a company news release, the “research and development investment will go towards improving the understanding of resistance mechanisms, discovering and developing new modes of actions, further developing tailored integrated weed management (IPM) solutions and developing more precise recommendations through digital farming tools.” 

Along with new innovations, Wallis says the company is committed to keeping its current weed-control products, including Roundup (glyphosate) and the Xtend technology, in U.S. farmers’ toolkits.

“We absolutely stand behind both of those and continue to work with our retail chain and our distributors to make sure farmers have access to these tools,” he says.

Just as important, Wallis notes is that the company is looking at the future of technology that can help farmers.

“We’re looking at the future which is about more tools and more modes of action, because weeds and bugs and pests continue to be challenging,” Wallis says. “It's about more innovation and it’s bigger than just any one tool or technology; it's about all of them working together in concert.”

Along with its focus on weed-control technology, Werner Baumann, chairman of the board of management of Bayer AG said the company plans to reduce its environmental impact by 30 percent by 2030. “Bayer aims to achieve this by developing new technologies, scaling down crop protection volumes, and enabling more precise application. This will help to restore and retain biodiversity, combat climate change, and make the most efficient use of natural resources,” he said in a prepared statement.

The company will measure the progress by comparing the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) against the current market standards. The EIQ was established in the 1990’s by Cornell University (U.S.) and relates volume to toxicity and therefore represents a more meaningful measure system than volume only. Bayer will seek to continuously improve the EIQ of its crop solutions by investing in world-class innovation for seeds and traits, digital farming, biological solutions and new low-residue and reduced rate application products. Furthermore, the company will invite global experts and stakeholders to participate in a Bayer Sustainability Council to bolster the company-wide efforts.