Growing up on a farm in Illinois, I am no stranger to the challenges created by bugs, disease, and weeds. And today, there’s nothing more insightful for me than walking a field with a farmer as they inspect a mid-summer crop and evaluate their prospects for the season. It is exhilarating when everything is lining up for a great harvest yet heartbreaking when difficult conditions set the stage for a bad harvest.

Across the industry, we’ve continued to deliver new technologies to help farmers through the daunting series of critical decisions they must make every year to successfully grow their crops. But Mother Nature has her way of keeping farmers—and those focused on helping them—on their toes; whether it is climate change, drought or evolving pests and diseases.

The good news is that technology continues to advance on multiple fronts to meet these challenges. Also, we’re finding new ways to combine these technologies to make them all more effective. In many cases, these integrated solutions deliver benefits that are exponential—delivering customized solutions to support each farmer’s individual circumstances and objectives. Farmers need progress like this to meet the daunting challenges they face in feeding a growing population while also reducing their use of natural resources.

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The good news is that technology continues to advance on multiple fronts to meet these challenges. Also, we’re finding new ways to combine these technologies to make them all more effective. In many cases, these integrated solutions deliver benefits that are exponential—delivering customized solutions to support each farmer’s individual circumstances and objectives. Farmers need progress like this to meet the daunting challenges they face in feeding a growing population while also reducing their use of natural resources.

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In the not-too-distant future, we’ll be walking with farmers through integrated fields. These fields will be the result of decisions made via data insights … where machine learning helps to optimize the right seed for every foot of every acre … one where imagery tools and AI combine to identify diseases before they have a major impact.

Our research and development initiatives are expanding to deliver this integrated field approach. We’re advancing both individual technologies as well as innovative combinations of these technologies to provide farmers with a full range of options in how they manage their operations.

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Taking a Holistic View

Every field is different, and every farmer has his or her own objectives and priorities. It’s our job to provide a wide variety of tools to help each farmer to succeed in a way that best matches his or her circumstances and priorities. To do that, we’re advancing research in a number of areas.

We’re working on new and better ways to capture data insights and put them to use to help farmers with every decision they must make over the course of a season. Field health is a substantial area of focus as we look to better predict disease vulnerability and to diagnose disease in the field.

We’re pursuing new innovations in microbials, which use beneficial fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms to help plants to better absorb nutrients and ward off pests and disease. These solutions can supplement, or in some cases might even replace, chemistry-based options for protecting crops.

This plus the work we are advancing across all R&D platforms allows us to continue to fuel innovation for the integrated field through our broad-licensing approach.

Integrating the Field

We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with the integrated field. We’re advancing data applications every day to help farmers better understand their field conditions—soil conditions, nitrogen, water and potential disease or pest impacts—and act on this information at every stage of every growing season. This data-centric approach enables us to make the most of every technology that we deliver—from selecting the perfect seed for every acre to determining when and how much fertilizer or which crop protection method to use, to timing of harvest.

[unex_ce_basic_banner_split layer-name="Layer Name" layout="align-center-left" id="content_0huvjevv0" post_id="14819" semplice_styles_background_color="transparent" semplice_styles_background_image="https://monsanto.com/app/uploads/2018/01/image-4.jpg" semplice_styles_background_size="auto" semplice_styles_background_position="50% 0%" semplice_styles_background_repeat="no-repeat" semplice_styles_padding_top="0px" semplice_styles_padding_bottom="0px" semplice_styles_padding_left="0" semplice_styles_padding_right="0"] <h2>Integrating the Field</h2> <p>We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with the integrated field. We’re advancing data applications every day to help farmers better understand their field conditions—soil conditions, nitrogen, water and potential disease or pest impacts—and act on this information at every stage of every growing season. This data-centric approach enables us to make the most of every technology that we deliver—from selecting the perfect seed for every acre to determining when and how much fertilizer or which crop protection method to use, to timing of harvest.</p> [/ce_basic_banner_split]

Data insights are really the glue that enables us to integrate solutions to make those impactful benefits a reality for farmers. Data enables us to use each solution more precisely, improving effectiveness and reducing waste. Consider the potential of the following combinations:

  • When we combine seed that can help farmers protect their harvests in water limited conditions with data insights that help farmers better understand their field conditions, we can reduce the amount of fresh water needed to sustain crops.
  • Our research is looking at digital solutions to measure and monitor nitrogen in the soil. When used along with biological seed treatments farmers can improve nutrient absorption and reduce need for nitrogen applications.
  • We’re combining breeding with data-based scripting – essentially a detailed prescription detailing which seeds to plant where – to improve seed selection and placement on every acre.

Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges

We often talk about these technologies in relation to the big-picture societal issues that we all face. And we need to, because they are massive. The population is growing, but available land and water for farming is shrinking, and climate change is having an impact on our ability to grow food. Farmers need integrated tools that deliver results today and protect the sustainability of their operation for the future, because the challenges they face are not going away.

I’m proud of the fact that our work contributes to each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and many of the projects in our R&D pipeline reflect our commitment to climate-smart practices in modern agriculture.

I encourage you to review our research and development pipeline to learn about our latest progress in developing tools for the integrated and sustainable field, and to return for updates on new products over the course of the year.