Chat with Bayer CropScience: on sustainable crop protection

01/10/2013 08:47:00 AM
Tom Karst

With more and more growers looking for help in delivering sustainable solutions to the supply chain, Bayer CropScience aims to be there with some answers.

With $6.5 billion earmarked for research and development between 2011 and 2016, Bayer CropScience is well positioned to aid growth of its newly acquired biological pest control portfolio, company officials say.

In August last year, Monheim, Germany-based Bayer CropScience completed its nearly $500 million purchase of U.S. biological pest control company AgraQuest. Bayer believes the so-called “biologics” market - also called biopesticides - will reach almost $4 billion by 2020, company officials have said.

Bayer CropScience said it plans to achieve $3.9 billion in its fruits and vegetables business by 2020, with the acquisition of AgraQuest upping that number further. At the time it was acquired, AgraQuest offered “green” biopesticides in more than 30 countries.

 Bayer CropScience said it will further invest in the research and development site in Davis, Calif., with the aim to become a world class center for “green” product research, Bayer said. Additionally, Bayer said it was planning to expand to expand existing manufacturing operations of green products at Tlaxcala site in Mexico.

At Bayer’s annual press conference in September, Chief Executive Officer Sandra Peterson said the company’s $6.5 billion investment in research and development through 2016 will focus on cultivating a winning portfolio of agricultural products in the areas of seeds, chemicals and biologics.

 Late in 2012, I had the chance to interview Marcus Meadows-Smith, Head of Biologics, Bayer CropScience, and former chief executive officer of AgraQuest. Here are excerpts from the interview:

 Tom Karst: How has it been integrating with Bayer and expressing your vision for what the now combined company will do with its research efforts? Has it been about what you expected?

Marcus Meadows-Smith Marcus Meadows-Smith: Honestly it has been better than I expected. It has been a tremendously warm welcome from our new colleagues at Bayer, a really first rate research and development company. Our strategies dovetail so well together that we really feel a needed and welcome part of the team. So this strategy, building on us having an integrated offering to the grower around seeds, traits, chemistry and biologics in order to deliver the best possible efficacy, the best profitability, and with many of our products from the biologics side, offering a yield increase. It is really about delivering to the grower what he wants in many areas. I think the addition of biologics in addition to the chemistry of Bayer, it means (we) can be talking to growers around specific residue management issues, resistance management issues and some of the those specific benefits that the biologics products bring in addition to the great things already provided by the chemistry.


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