Home » Farming » How regenerative agriculture drives growth for farmers and lowers environmental impacts

Jessica Christiansen

Head of Sustainability and Business Stewardship, Crop Science, Bayer

Axel Trautwein

Head of Regulatory Science, R&D, Crop Science, Bayer

The future of farming is regenerative. Regenerative agriculture practices can reshape global agriculture and farming systems as we face the challenges of climate change and food security.

Regenerative agriculture, put simply, is about ‘producing more with less while restoring more.’ It will play an increasingly important role in supporting food security and sustainable food production. This is because, unlike conventional farming, regenerative practices offer a way to deliver long-term gains for nature while at the same time allowing for improvements in farm productivity and incomes.

Taking regenerative agriculture practices to farmers

If adopted widely, regenerative farming – with its focus on soil health – has the potential to boost harvests with less land, fewer resources and a lower climate and environmental footprint. This, in turn, can deliver positive outcomes for species and habitats, help restore ecosystems and improve soil conditions.

Scientific innovations may be created in the lab and the greenhouse, but they are always developed with the farmer’s needs in mind and deployed taking into account the specific conditions of each farm, whether large or small. Such a farmer-centred approach will help enable regenerative agriculture practices on a wider scale.

Bayer has the facilities to provide farmers with an entire system of agriculture solutions. Solutions were previously seen as falling into three separate categories: (1) Seeds and traits; (2) Crop protection; and (3) Digital technology. Now, we increasingly look at them as one holistic offering.

Matching solutions to the conditions of each farm

Resilience is a key focus of Bayer’s system approach. By treating each farm as an ecosystem itself and using digital tools to tailor solutions to the conditions on the ground, our systems can help farmers meet future expectations and adapt to uncertainty and change.

Farmers can then make informed decisions on what to plant at which density and when to apply nutrients, crop protection and water on their land. This means they can grow more crops with fewer resources and less environmental impact while improving the profitability of each acre.

Partnerships across the agriculture value chain will play a crucial role in bringing regenerative agriculture solutions to scale.

Modern, sustainable crop protection chemistry

Innovations in crop protection are one of the key building blocks of our system approach to regenerative agriculture. Crop protection directly supports farmers in feeding the world because it safeguards around 30% of yields worldwide — equivalent to feeding over 2 billion people.

Our tailored solutions help growers maximise the land and crops that feed, fuel and clothe the population — sustainably. They will also be able to adapt to changing climate or weather conditions more efficiently. We aim to provide growers with digitally enabled solutions for the precise application of modern crop protection — with the right input, in the right place, at the right time and in the right amount.

How biologicals can advance regenerative agriculture

Nitrogen-containing fertiliser is commonly used in agriculture today. But simply creating synthetic nitrogen fertiliser requires huge amounts of energy and accounts for about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why regenerative farming uses sustainable alternatives where available.

Biologicals can reduce the amounts of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers with nitrogen-fixing microbes. They also complement chemical crop protection for pest and disease control. Biological products, therefore, allow farmers to effectively protect their crops while limiting environmental impacts.

Shaping the regenerative future of agriculture

Agriculture solutions such as these give back to nature by prioritising soil health, removing carbon from the atmosphere, conserving water and maintaining or potentially restoring biodiversity. By attending to each farm’s needs, we can unlock the potential of regenerative farming practices.

Partnerships across the agriculture value chain will play a crucial role in bringing regenerative agriculture solutions to scale. That’s why it’s time to work together to make them more widely available while always being mindful of farmers’ specific needs and challenges.

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