Production Blog

Digital Technology Meets Agronomy

A crop sprayer lumbers across the landscape at Bayer's Laacher Hof concept farm near Monheim, Germany, to demonstrate how smart sprayers can target just areas where weeds escaped earlier treatments. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DUSSELDORF, Germany (DTN) -- Spraying for agronomic pests is getting smarter. That was one of the messages today as journalists around the world gathered at Bayer's Future of Farming Dialogue.

Drones buzzed overhead a tractor and spray boom projected images to simulate how spray nozzles can use new technology to spray only where weeds had escaped previous controls and address only those problem areas. It's called Field Manager and it is already being tested in Brazil, said Bayer's Digital Farming Global Commercialization Manager Rosyln Chua. The company is also heavily testing the concept in Canadian canola fields and the first U.S. applications are expected to come in testing fungicide treatments in the Corn Belt, she added. The whole idea is to find ways to use crop protection chemicals, but in more economical and environmentally friendly ways.

The concept offers potential in resistance management, too. The theory is weeds could be identified, assessed and targeted with alternative active ingredients.

Earlier this month, Bayer announced a three-year research collaboration agreement with Bosch to develop "Smart Spraying" technology. Bayer will contribute the agronomic decision-making components and knowledge of pest management, formulation and application technology. Bosch, the maker of many high-end consumer goods, brings expertise in sensor technology, smart analytics and selective spray systems.


Don't know Palmer amaranth from waterhemp? Bayer has an app for that. It's called Weedscout and it's accomplished by simply taking a picture of the weed with a smartphone. The picture is analyzed by Bayer's algorithm, which compared it to thousands of referenced images to find the best match. Weedscout already has about 150,000 users and can currently identify 60 weeds with an 85% accuracy rate.

Insect, disease, leaf damage estimates and status of nitrogen uptake apps are other examples of more intelligence headed to the field. Availability will vary based on region -- with weed, leaf damage and disease recognition aimed at the U.S. markets, so far. Read more here:…

To bring digital farming ideas forward, Bayer has entered into a number of long-term cooperations. For example, Planet Labs Inc., a San Francisco company, designs and manufactures miniature satellites that continually scan the earth and form the basis for even better farming decisions.

FaunaPhotonics develop sensors that can identify, count, and distinguish insect pests from non-target insects, including beneficials and pollinators. In a joint software project and technology licensing agreement, Yara grants Bayer permission to use its mobile imaging technology to determine current nutrient status and nutrient requirements of plants using a smartphone application.


Ever have trouble reaching the top of the spray tank? The company has found a solution, said Armin Lind, of Bayer application technology team.

EasyFlow is a closed system transfer system for liquid plant protection products. It can be used from sealed or non-sealed small containers and allows users to do partial or complete transfers. The system avoids contamination and cleaning of measuring jugs and has continuous adjustable flow rates. An automatic relocking system prevents unintended opening of the chemical container.

So far, Lind said the Bayer developed system is being marketed in Europe by agrotop (

The conference continues through Sept. 21 with a Twitter chat scheduled for Sept. 19 using #AgVoChat. Questions will come from @Bayer4CropsUS



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