Bayer AG, the multinational pharmaceutical company, is set to enter the Arizona market with a new solution that will help improve the state’s ability to grow corn and improve farmers’ ability to access advanced technological solutions.
According to an official press release published on March 4, the German firm has officially launched what it called a “smart, state-of-the-art, automated greenhouse facility” in Marana, Arizona.
The facility, which is the first of its kind being developed by the firm, will help serve as a research and product design center for corn – the only crop that will be grown there.
Perfect Conditions for Sustainable Research and Crop Development
Estimates pointed out in the release show that the facility cost the German firm up to $100 million. While Arizona isn’t especially known to be a big producer of corn, Bayer has explained that the state has a particular temperature and climate that could make it prime for greenhouse growing conditions.
It will now be looking to capitalize on this by leading the production of several corn varieties.
The firm has explained that it will apply various advanced agricultural practices to help achieve this goal, including automation, seed chipping, data science, and advanced marker technology.
Overall, the greenhouses will occupy about 300,000 square feet of space and will use sustainable inputs for its operation. As Bayer officials confirmed, the water used will be recycled, thus helping them to both conserve and optimize their resources.
The harvested material will also be used for compost, while beneficial insects in the area will help them to reduce their dependence on pesticides.
Bayer officials also touted the location of the greenhouse, pointing out that Marana and the Arizona desert region pose the benefit of increased sunlight and warmth, as opposed to the traditional corn-growing regions of Midwestern America.
As the firm explained, these weather conditions will help researchers maintain their plants in a year, with about 3 to 4 corn crop cycles expected to occur in a calendar year.
They also explained that they could use the greenhouses‘ controlled environment to limit the exposure of their crops to adverse weather conditions in the indoor breeding process.
This, in turn, will help optimize the development of new seeds and help researchers to customize growing conditions and simulate various climate conditions across the world too.
Agricultural Advancement for a Better World
The news is just the second environmental sustainability effort that Bayer will be embarking on in as many months. In February, the firm announced that it would be conducting pipeline advancement projects and a new research and development pipeline for its Crop Science Division.
As the firm explained at the time, it invests about 2.3 billion euros (about $1.15 billion) in crop science R&D yearly, which will help to drive pipeline growth and bolster its ability to serve more customers.
It is set to continue the tradition in 2020 as well, after being buoyed by the results shown in 2019 – 450 newly commercialized hybrids and varieties of corn, soybeans, cotton and vegetables, and 55 project ad formulation advancements.
“At Bayer, we are driven to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. In agriculture, this means helping feed the world without starving our planet.
Farmers with operations of all sizes need innovation not only to grow enough nutritious food, but also to do this in a sustainable manner that respects our planetary boundaries,” said Liam Condon, the President of Bayer’s Crop Science Division.