Bayer and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) have collaborated to study the relationship between pollinating insects and soybean production. They intend the study to further scientific knowledge on the impact these agents have on crop production.
“It is a project with great international relevance, and it is extremely important for Brazil,” commented Decio Gazzoni, a project leader and researcher at Embrapa Soy. “The issue is understudied here, and we are sure that we will be positively surprised, establishing technological opportunities that are very interesting for the soybean production system and mapping the direct and indirect impacts of pollinators in this system.”
The joint venture will last for five years and will focus its research in six production regions of Brazil. One study in particular will examine the behaviour of pollinating insects on crops, with the intention of offering solutions to maintaining the health of these essential pollinators.
“With a deeper understanding, we can formulate strategies that align plague control with having a minimal impact on pollinators,” explained Gazzoni.
“At Bayer, we’re committed to improving our understanding of the health requirements of important beneficial insects that contribute by pollinating different crops,” said Bernard Jacqmin, Bayer’s agronomic development director.
The study will try to identify the composition of chemicals excreted by soybean plants that affect the crops’ attractiveness to pollinators. These findings could pave the way for further research on genetic improvement.
“One of our active hypotheses is the presence of pollinating insects could encourage the fertilization of soybean flowers, thus increasing yields,” commented Gazzoni.
Another study will examine the influence domestic native bee diversity and population has on soybean yields. The partnership did not disclose the financial details of this collaborative study.
“Approximately 80 percent of all flowering plant species rely on insects for pollination, which in turn affects 35 percent of global crop production,” noted Dr. Aubrey Longmore, Head of Global Agriculture at Challenge Advisory. “Pollination is therefore crucial to agricultural production systems and, ultimately, food production. That is why partnerships such as this one between Bayer and Embrapa are so important to the future of sustainable agriculture and food security.”