Peter Eckes, BASF Plant Science Division president, knows the struggles farmers face in today’s agriculture industry.
“The grower wants to produce more with less. The grower wants to manage the risks that he has either with weather or also with commodity prices and at the end, farming is an incredibly tough business,” Eckes says.
Eckes welcomes these struggles, confirming that the answer to many of them have been discovered through innovation at BASF.
“I think we are really recognizing the challenges,” Eckes says. “Innovation is our life. Innovation means bringing a technical new solution to consumers, customers and in our case ag growers. If you look at our 150 year history, that’s our DNA.”
Eckes says BASF Plant Science focuses on three main areas to help farmers. These areas include attention to new traits, fungal resistance and herbicide tolerance.
Recently, BASF has expanded their advancements by partnering with other agriculture companies.
“We have now launched jointly in partnership with Monsanto the first new generation product in the area of yield and stress,” Eckes says. “This is absolutely novel because it combines the first yield and stress trait, it combines an adapted germplasm for drought conditions and grower recommendations. So, with this product we care about the farmers in the western part of the Corn Belt and I think that pays out because the farmer gets an average of five bushels per acre and a yield advantage.”
Monsanto successfully launched the product last year and this year will be the full launch for new product.
“Plant science for us is an important growth field and we are committed to this field in bringing innovation to customers,” Eckes says. “In that respect, this is a great opportunity for us.”
Eckes proudly states that BASF is committed to the future in the field of plant science.
“I have been with BASF for more than a decade and it has never been more exciting,” Eckes says. “There will be more people asking for more food, more fiber, more fuel and I really see that in BASF we are getting innovation going. I think we have a very well equipped pipeline and with that we can support growers and that’s where our passion really is.”