14 september 2017

Bayer and Bosch develop new, digital Smart Spraying solutions

Research cooperation agreement supports farms in becoming digital:

· New technology helps farmers use crop protection products more efficiently
· Herbicides are only applied to the parts of the field where they are really needed
· Concept to be presented at Agritechnica 2017 in Hannover

Monheim, September 14, 2017 – Bayer and Bosch have signed a three-year research collaboration agreement with the objective of developing the Smart Spraying technology to make the application of crop protection products more efficient.

Bosch’s research work is focusing on highly effective sensor technology, smart analytics and selective spray systems. In its partnership with Bosch, Bayer is contributing the lessons it has learned in the field of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), including the development of algorithms that serve as the basis for agronomical decision-making, integrated pest management as well as formulation and application technology. The Smart Spraying technology concept will be presented at this year’s Agritechnica trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

“We want to venture together with Bosch into new territory, combining different technologies to ensure that herbicides are only applied in areas where they are really necessary,” says Tobias Menne, head of
Digital Farming at Bayer. Weeds are difficult to identify, especially in the early stages of growth. Using camera sensors, the new technology can determine what is growing in the field and can then adopt a targeted application technique to spray crop protection agents specifically on weeds.

“Smart Spraying provides sustainable weed control. It protects the harvest and is environmentally compatible at the same time,” adds Markus Heyn, member of the Management Board of Robert Bosch GmbH.

More intelligence in the field

Field crops such as corn or wheat compete against weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients, which leads to poorer harvests. Efficient control of the undesired plants usually involves the widespread use of herbicides even though weed growth is not always distributed consistently across the entire field.

As Dr. Johannes-Joerg Rueger, President of the Commercial Vehicles and Off-road group at Bosch, puts it, “Smart Spraying brings more intelligence to the field.” The difference between Smart Spraying and existing systems on the market is that the latter can only identify greenery but cannot distinguish between crops and weeds.

A quantum leap in weed control

This is how it works: before the farmer sets off for a field, a digital “Field Manager” helps him assess the situation on the field and recommends the optimum timing for treating the weeds. Accurate identification of the weeds and application of the crop protection agent are performed in a single work step while driving over the respective area. To this end, several cameras distributed over the entire working width of the field sprayer continually take pictures of the surface. The different weeds are identified and the optimum method for treating them is determined. The final step involves spraying the necessary quantity and mix of herbicide on the appropriate weeds using the right application parameters, while weed-free areas are left untouched. The process is incredibly fast, taking just fractions of a second.

According to Björn Kiepe, head of Agronomy in Digital Farming at Bayer, “Smart Spraying constitutes a quantum leap in weed control. We are combining state-of-the-art weed detection technology with the means of applying different agents on a case-by-case basis and extremely accurately on an area of less than one meter. This will make it even easier for farmers to practice sustainable crop protection.” One very important aspect is that the system incorporates pretreatments, alternates active ingredients and focuses on herbicides with the greatest possible efficiency to prevent weeds becoming resistant.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

Bosch: Invented for life
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 390,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2016) 12/31/2016). The company generated sales of 73.1 billion euros in 2016. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 120 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 59,000 associates in research and development. Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-presse.de, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.

Note to editors:
A print-quality photo can be downloaded from our website at www.news.bayer.com.

TV editors can download or order current film footage about Bayer free of charge at
www.tv-footage.bayer.com.

Contact:
Bayer AG
Utz Klages, phone +49 2173 38-3125
Email: utz.klages@bayer.com

Robert Bosch GmbH
Inga Ehret, phone +49 711 811-16476
Email: inga.ehret@de.bosch.com

Find more information at www.bayer.com.
kgs (2017-0141E)

Forward-Looking Statements 
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.