Bremen / Monheim, March 22, 2012 –
Cotton farmers who use crop protection products to safeguard their harvests are acting in a sustainable manner and contributing to climate protection. This is the verdict of a study called "Climate change and plant
health" ("Klimawandel und Pflanzengesundheit") conducted by the Berlin-based agency agripol on behalf of Bayer CropScience. The findings were presented to the public at the 31st International Cotton Conference in
Bremen, Germany. They supply facts about the impact of pesticide use on the carbon footprint (CO2 balance) using cotton-growing as an example.
"We determined the energy consumption and all other CO2 emissions involved in the production and use of crop protection agents," explained Dr. Rüdiger Schaub, Head of Sustainability at Bayer CropScience AG,
at the presentation to the audience of international experts. On the other side of the equation were the increased biomass produced and the resulting additional carbon dioxide taken out of the earth's atmosphere.
During the course of the study, 14 crops were examined in 16 countries. The analyzed data for cotton in the three most important growing countries show that the plant absorbs many times more carbon dioxide than
is released by the use and production of the crop protection agents. In the investigated cases, the additional CO2 uptake outweighed the emissions by a factor of 25 to 50.
Irrigated farming in India: 20 times better carbon footprint
A sample calculation for irrigated farming in India makes the situation clear. The repeated use of pesticides made necessary by insect infestation leads to an additional consumption of 49.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide
per hectare. Compared to untreated fields, however, approximately 1,900 kilograms more of the greenhouse gas is converted per hectare. The footprint is even more positive if other influencing factors for the yield
such as irrigation are taken into account in the calculation. "In the search for solutions to protect the climate and the importance of agriculture, well-founded information about the impact of agricultural
inputs use is very important. This study should provide new arguments to consider in the public debate," said Schaub.
Cotton: king of natural fibers
Cotton is the world's most important natural fiber and is currently grown on more than 30 million hectares of agricultural land in more than 80 countries. Measures to combat plant diseases and pests are essential to
safeguard yields. Bayer CropScience is a global leader with products for cotton-growers and offers a wide range of seeds and traits along with products to control pests, diseases and weeds. This extensive
portfolio is rounded off by a full range of harvest-aid agents. Bayer's renowned Fiber Max™, Stoneville™ and Surpass™ seed brands have been designed specifically to meet the needs of farmers, the fiber-processing
industry and the end consumer.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 7.255 billion (2011),
is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive
service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is
available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.
Hermann-Josef Baaken, Tel. +49 2173 38-5598