De Ruiter and Seminis seed brands discuss sustainable and tailored solutions / Industry collaborators demonstrate new advances in digital automation technology
As farmers face increased pressure to provide fruits and vegetables that are more flavorful, more sustainably produced and delivered faster and fresher to consumers, they need innovative and tailored solutions that can also help them maintain a successful and profitable operation. To help farmers meet those challenges, Bayer, with its Seminis®and De Ruiter® vegetable seed brands, hosted its first-ever Agriculture and Innovation Showcase this week in Woodland, California. The event provided the latest insights and innovations from some of the industry’s most pioneering organizations.
“Bayer’s position as a leading innovator in this space has given us the unique opportunity to meet and partner with exceptional companies who are helping to drive the industry forward. The Agriculture and Innovation Showcase is just one way we can connect our vegetable seed customers with those valuable resources,” said Dr. Jacqueline Applegate, President of Global Vegetable Seeds and Environmental Science for the Crop Science Division. “Whether it’s soil moisture monitoring, new irrigation technologies, sustainable and efficient transplanting options or weeding automation, there are a number of smart companies that have developed innovative solutions that enhance farmers’ ability to be more efficient and sustainable at all levels of their business.”
Bayer’s research and development activities are driven by approximately 7,300 dedicated scientists and researchers operating at more than 35 research and development sites and 175 breeding sites. Today, Bayer serves growers in over 160 countries, providing more than 2,000 vegetable seed varieties covering 22 crops sold under the De Ruiter®and Siminis® brands.
The Agriculture and Innovation Showcase took place on August 13 at Bayer’s Woodland research site, which is one of the largest seed research centers in the world. The event featured consumer trends, best practices and the newest technologies that will aid produce growers as they make decisions about their whole operation. Specific features included interactive field stations showcasing the latest sustainability advancements, in-field solution demonstrations on seedling transplant, irrigation, as well as soil monitoring and analysis. Speakers highlighted the grower’s need for tailored solutions based on innovations and technologies that will help drive the future, such as autonomous weeding robots that make agriculture more sustainable. Another key topic which was discussed is shifting food trends – how consumers influence agriculture and the ever-changing landscape of food.
“There has never been a greater need for innovation in agriculture, and it will take the collective power of the industry to keep it moving forward,” said John Purcell, Head of Vegetable RRD. “Bayer is the leader in horticulture as well as vegetable seeds and is committed to inspiring and maintaining that momentum while providing farmers and customers across the value chain with the custom solutions they need at all levels of their operation. So, while this was the first Agriculture and Innovation Showcase at Woodland, we hope for many more in the future.”
The special keynote session was a highlight of the event, featuring Google’s Chavanne B. Hanson, MPH, RD who spoke about its “Food at Work” program. Hanson provided an overview of the company’s focus on using food to bring its employees together and how it has expanded into promoting healthy food choices. She specifically shared the importance of educating employees on all aspects of food, including nutrition, the supply chain, and where she sees the future challenges and opportunities for today’s food system.