Iktos, Bayer Use AI to Develop Sustainable Crop Protection Products

Farmer uses protective spray on crops

(Credit: Bayer)

by | Dec 18, 2023

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Bayer’s Crop Science division and Iktos are collaborating to develop new sustainable crop protection products, using Iktos’ generative design software, Makya, in Bayer’s agricultural research.

Bayer scientists will use Makya to design novel molecules used to reduce the environmental impact of the agriculture sector. These molecules are used to make insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, helping farmers protect crops from weeds, diseases, harmful insects, and fungi. Bayer uses methods that aim to help farms meet their yield targets while using fewer natural resources in the process.

Makya is able to bring new insights into molecular discovery with its data-driven chemical structure generation technology. With the AI-based tool, scientists can analyze billions of molecules in a virtual environment, making possible deeper exploration of chemicals than previously possible. The platform’s Software as a Service (SaaS) platform also allows for a user-friendly, secure experience for researchers.

“The world’s farmers need dependable and sustainable solutions to overcome current and future challenges including climate change, the increasing resistance of pests to existing solutions, and the growing societal expectations about the food we eat and the health of our planet,” said Rachel Rama, head of small molecules at Bayer’s crop science division. “Bayer’s CropKey approach to crop protection innovation is made possible by data-driven breakthrough technologies such as those made accessible by Iktos. They will allow us to unlock a new way to protect crops, food security, and the environment and, in doing so, set a new benchmark in the industry.”

Bayer Develops Additional Data-Based Agriculture Solutions

This new collaboration with Iktos follows a number of recent technologies developed and used by Bayer to improve agricultural sustainability.

In October of this year, Bayer introduced a direct-seeded rice system meant to lower emissions by up to 45% and save water by up to 40%. As a part of this system, Bayer provides farmers with its FarmRise digital platform, which includes access to advisory services, machinery, and other data-driven insights.

Also this year, the company launched new features to its FieldView service, which allows farmers to analyze seed performance and crop management practices being used on their fields. The new additions include performance assessment of applied products, such as insecticides and fertilizers, and other added features meant to help support farmers as they shift to regenerative agricultural practices.

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