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Innovative crop technology protecting natural resources

Protecting What Matters

Innovative Crop Protection & Natural Resource Solutions

Farmers are curious people, and they are relentless in their conservation of natural resources and pursuit of improvement.

Crop protection is one area in particular where they are always looking to learn how to be more effective, more precise, and more efficient. Today’s farmers have access to technologies and practices that are helping them achieve these goals.

While some long-standing methods remain important, the industry has provided an array of advanced chemical, biological, and digital answers to crop protection challenges. Using a combination of tools, farmers are designing the exact solution required for each crop, during each growing season.

In the developing world, 40–50 percent of all crops are lost to pests, crop diseases, or post-harvest losses. To put this in perspective, the food currently lost in Africa could feed 300 million people every year. Even in the United States, post-harvest losses reach 20–25 percent. –USDA

[unex_ce_indent_outdent_images layer-name="USDA Quote" headline_markup="" img="3015" image-filename="New_CP_Image.jpg" image_caption="" image_caption_color="white" id="content_jmksxe1i6" post_id="1876"] <p style="font-size:16px;">In the developing world, 40–50 percent of all crops are lost to pests, crop diseases, or post-harvest losses. To put this in perspective, the food currently lost in Africa could feed 300 million people every year. Even in the United States, post-harvest losses reach 20–25 percent. <span style="color:#5f5e65;">–USDA</span></p> [/ce_indent_outdent_images]

Science in Action

Each type of crop protection tool serves a slightly different purpose. When multiple tools are used together, they are more effective. Let’s take a closer look at how four different crop protection tools work on a farm.


 

Cover Crops

The practice of planting crops in between cash crops, to provide cover for the soil, dates back more than 2,000 years. Today, modern and organic farmers use them to help decrease soil compaction, enhance soil fertility, improve soil moisture retention, and fight pests and weeds.

Cover Crops

The practice of planting crops in between cash crops, to provide cover for the soil, dates back more than 2,000 years. Today, modern and organic farmers use them to help decrease soil compaction, enhance soil fertility, improve soil moisture retention, and fight pests and weeds.


Advanced Chemistry & Spraying Technology

Chemistry has been a valuable crop protection tool for decades. The most modern innovations, such as the latest chemical solutions, combined with spray nozzles and guidance systems, offer unprecedented levels of precision.

Advanced Chemistry and Spraying Technology

Chemistry has been a valuable crop protection tool for decades. The most modern innovations, such as the latest chemical solutions, combined with spray nozzles and guidance systems, offer unprecedented levels of precision.


Microbial Seed Treatments

Alongside chemical products, biological products have emerged in recent decades as an ally of the farmer. Microbes—microscopic organisms that occur naturally in soil—have been especially helpful, contributing to nutrient management and crop protection plans.

Microbial Seed Treatments

Alongside chemical products, biological products have emerged in recent decades as an ally of the farmer.  Microbes—microscopic organisms that occur naturally in soil—have been especially helpful, contributing to nutrient management and crop protection plans.


Predictive Data Analytics

One of the most recent crop protection innovations involves the use of digital tools. As farmers have gathered information about yield and fertility over the past 20 years, they’ve been building a powerful tool: the data itself.

Predictive Data Analytics

One of the most recent crop protection innovations involves the use of digital tools.  As farmers have gathered information about yield and fertility over the past 20 years, they’ve been building a powerful tool: the data itself.


Customized Crop Protection

The precision of modern crop protection applies to both planning and application. Because every farmer faces a unique combination of threats from insects, weeds, and disease, planning must be individualized. With the help of digital tools like data analytics, it is now possible to precisely tailor solutions for each situation.

Advanced farming software platforms can take the data farmers are collecting about yield, fertility, and pest pressures, analyze that data, and provide a recommended prescription for applying crop protection products. And all of this is accessible via a mobile device.

Farmers will also frequently consult with agronomists to interpret software recommendations. Once they have a solution, the application of products can be done with more accuracy and efficiency than ever, ensuring every plant receives exactly what it needs to thrive.

[unex_ce_indent_outdent_images layer-name="Agronomists..." headline_markup="" img="3016" image-filename="agronomists1.jpg" image_caption="Image Caption Text" image_caption_color="white" id="content_06jxqbyz6" post_id="1876"] <p style="color:#5f5e65;">Farmers will also frequently consult with agronomists to interpret software recommendations. Once they have a solution, the application of products can be done with more accuracy and efficiency than ever, ensuring every plant receives exactly what it needs to thrive.</p> [/ce_indent_outdent_images]

Integrated Solutions

Not only are modern solutions customized, they also interact with one another. For example, cover crop strategies work together with precision spraying and microbial seed treatments, all coordinated by data analytics platforms.

In addition to analyzing tremendous amounts of data, these software platforms are sophisticated enough to help farmers combine solutions in the most efficient manner possible. For example, if a soybean farmer is having white mold problems, a platform might recommend the use of a specific seed and seed treatment combination, allowing the farmer to use less fungicide during the growing season.

Solutions are also integrated into the seeds themselves. Technology like Bt seeds, which incorporate insect resistance into crops like maize, soybeans, cotton, and eggplant, has been welcomed by farmers around the world.

[unex_ce_article_full_width_photo layer-name="BT Seeds" img="3017" image-filename="soybeans_bottom1.jpg" id="content_j2poa8l5e" post_id="1876"] <p>Solutions are also integrated into the seeds themselves. Technology like <a class="energy-conservation-txt" href="https://modernag.org/innovation/bt-agricultures-rock-star/">Bt seeds</a>, which incorporate insect resistance into crops like maize, soybeans, cotton, and eggplant, has been welcomed by farmers around the world.</p> [/ce_article_full_width_photo]

What Will the Next Tool Look Like?

As crop protection solutions continue to evolve in response to farmer needs, precision and efficiency will remain key priorities. A changing global climate adds a layer of complexity, as new and unpredictable weather patterns can make farmer efforts more difficult.

One thing is for sure: research and development in modern agriculture will remain focused on finding innovative ways to help farmers reach their operational goals and keep their crops healthy, while using resources more efficiently.

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