Novozymes and Monsanto Company leaders this week highlighted how the companies’ BioAg Alliance is working to develop innovations for agriculture to boost productivity and further support the management of natural resources on the farm.
The Alliance is expected to expand the research and commercialization of a new generation of microbials to help farmers meet the world’s demands for food and feed in a sustainable way. This year, the companies conducted research across 170,000 field trial plots in 70 locations throughout the United States, and the companies expect to more than double the number of research field plots next season.
“The early results from 2013 showed a lot of promise - we discovered several microbes that are demonstrating increased yield in corn and soybeans. We have expanded testing this year and believe we are on track to discover transformational microbial products farmers can add to their toolbox,” says Robb Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Monsanto.
Microbial-based solutions are derived from various microbes such as bacteria and fungi. The BioAg Alliance is researching the next generation of these solutions, and has already introduced two types of microbial products: inoculants products, which help plants take up nutrients, and biocontrol products, which help protect plants against pests, disease and weeds. The products can be utilized by farmers that grow broad acre crops such as corn and soy, and on fruits and vegetables.
“Microbials have a significant potential to transform modern agriculture and help meet growing global demand for food. The goal of The BioAg Alliance is to bring cutting-edge innovation in microbials to farmers, so they can produce more crops with fewer inputs,” says Thomas Videbæk, executive vice president for business development, Novozymes.
Microbials make up about two-thirds of the agricultural biologicals industry today, and build on the successful application of microbes in everything from personal healthcare to food processing and production. Today, microbials such as Rhizobium offer farmers ways to replace or complement traditional fertilizers, while Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) sprays continue to be used in organic and conventional agriculture.
Novozymes and Monsanto formed The BioAg Alliance in February 2014. The Alliance brings together Novozymes’ capabilities for discovering, developing, and producing microbes and Monsanto’s discovery capabilities, field testing, and market reach.