August 27, 2014

Novozymes and Monsanto showcase new, sustainable innovations




At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, US, Novozymes and Monsanto will highlight how the companies' BioAg Alliance is working to develop sustainable innovations for agriculture.


The two companies formed the BioAg Alliance in February this year. The Alliance brings together Novozymes' capabilities for discovering, developing, and producing microbes and Monsanto's discovery capabilities, field testing, and market reach.


The Alliance is expected to expand the research and commercialisation 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," said 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 utilised by farmers that grow broad acre crops such as corn and soy.


Microbials make up about two-thirds of the agricultural biologicals industry today. Microbials such as Rhizobium offer farmers ways to replace or complement traditional fertilisers, while Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) sprays continue to be used in organic and conventional agriculture.

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