Mar. 17, 2016
Bayer is about to enter a new era in Australia with the release of a biological weapon in the war on crop pests and disease.
The moves continue a big push into the biological crop protection field for Bayer.
Bayer has bottled a soil bacterium for use in Australia under the brand name Serenade. The product has been used in other parts of the world for years and is regarded as suitable for a range of fruit and vegetable crops.
Bayer has the necessary approvals to begin selling the product in Australia this year.
It relies on a bacterium called bacillus subtilis to combat diseases such as botrytis, powdery mildew and sclerotina as well as soil-based problems.
Bayer technical manager of biological control agents Bernd Springer said the company saw the potential to reduce chemical residue in food and slow the emergence of resistance to chemical sprays.
Dr Springer, the former head of Bayer crop protection services in Australia and now based at its Monheim research headquarters, said biologicals had huge potential when used in combination with chemicals to boost crop yields.
He said Bayer was giving farmers options and ultimately moving closer to its real customers — food consumers — with research showing growing demand for safe and sustainably sourced produce.
Bayer has gobbled up a string of biological crop protection companies since 2009 and stepped up its own research. It has also invested $US92 million in a dedicated research facility in Sacramento, California.
Serenade is registered for use in 39 countries and used on oilseed rape and pulses as well as fruit and vegetables.