R&D Pipeline Advancing Sustainability
By Milton Stokes, PhD, MPH, RD, Director, Global Health and Nutrition Outreach
At Monsanto, we recently highlighted several key developments in our R&D pipeline – including work in data science, plant breeding, plant biotechnology, crop protection and ag biologicals. We invest in these projects to help farmers improve their productivity regardless of where they farm, the size of the operation or agricultural practices they choose to deploy. Farmers in developing countries are among those most at risk for food and nutrition insecurity. By creating tools for small stakeholder farmers, we can improve lives and reduce hunger. Monsanto’s innovations go beyond just our work in plant biotechnology or GMOs, even though this subject often occupies the headlines. Here are a few of the projects we are working on:
White Head Cauliflower - Often, cauliflower heads are discolored by the sunlight, requiring farmers to cover the heads in the field. Brilliant White Cauliflower is designed to resist discoloration, which has the potential to eliminate the need to cover the heads and reduce harvest loss. The product also offers the potential for an improved shelf life, and better-looking cauliflower may result in less food waste. Let’s hope this encourages more vegetable consumption!
Measurement Tools - Access to data can help farmers make better decisions about their farming practices and use resources and land more efficiently. We are developing an in-field sensor network that will provide more frequent measurements from the field to farmers to help with the important decisions they make each season to protect and increase harvests. Better data – better decisions – more sustainable agriculture!
Microbial BioControl Platform - The BioControl platform is being developed to use fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms to help protect plants against diseases or insects. This microbial platform has the potential to provide U.S. corn and soybean growers with another tool for controlling disease and insects in their fields. This tool, derived from nature, is showing great promise for farmers!
Weather - Accurate weather updates and forecasts are critical to farmers. We are developing insights from field-level weather events unique to their farms and critical day-to-day decision making. Timely decisions help farmers use inputs wisely, which can help to optimize yield and improve their profitability. Once again, better data helps identify even more ways to make agriculture more sustainable!
Monsanto’s work in R&D is aimed at helping: 1) reduce the footprint of global ag production through better harvests, 2) protect harvests from increasing threats, and 3) ensure that we can collectively deliver continuous improvement to global ag production. You can learn more about these projects at www.monsanto.com/pipeline.
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