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Monsanto and Novozymes set new ten-year acreage increase target

Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new acreage target for 2025 that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next decade.

The two partners in The BioAg Alliance are develop new microbial solutions for global agriculture and project that their products will be used on 250-500 million acres globally by 2025, equivalent to 25-50% of all US farmland.

Currently the Alliance’s products are used on around 65 million acres.

The new target is the first that has been communicated since The BioAg Alliance was announced in December 2013.

Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s executive VP and CTO, believes that emerging agricultural biological technologies can supplement every farmer’s toolbox.

‘These products complement the integrated systems approach that is necessary in modern agriculture, bringing together breeding, biotechnology, and agronomic practices to improve and protect crop yields,’ Fraley says.

Microbial-based solutions are derived from various microbes such as bacteria and fungi.

There are approximately 50 billion microbes in one tablespoon of soil, and new methods of microbial discovery, fermentation technologies, DNA sequencing, and analysis have made it possible to identify the ones most beneficial to farmers.

Each applied microbe product counts towards the total, so if two or three products are used on the same acre of farmland, this will count as two or three acres towards the target.

The target reflects a belief in a continued increase in demand of current and upgraded products as well as a significant contribution from new microbial products early next decade.

The BioAg Alliance is currently leading the world’s largest microbial research programme to develop the next generation of products.

This year the Alliance tested more than 2,000 microbial strains across 500,000 field trial plots in more than 50 locations in the US, which it says produced promising results across broad geographies.

The top new microbes in the 2015 research programme increased corn yields by 4-5 bushels per acre and soya yields by 1.5 bushels per acre.

The Alliance emphasises that it plans to continue seeking collaborations with academics, public institutions, and other researchers, as well as companies who are looking at the power of microbes.