Sustainable activities in the agriculture segment
Through innovative products and services, BayWa helps its customers to meet global challenges, such as climate change and the growing global population. To this end, BayWa is driving the development of forward-looking, digital technologies for the agricultural sector.
BayWa continues to develop concepts for climate-resilient agriculture
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, BayWa is also increasingly concerned with the physical risks of climate change and the impact on its own business activities. A long-term shift in climatic conditions and extreme weather events could fundamentally change global agricultural production and the flow of goods. Agricultural trade and logistics are thus directly affected. To better understand the impacts in the agricultural sector and increase resilience in the agricultural value chain, BayWa has been using scenario analyses and cross-divisional workshops since 2019 to identify and assess risks and opportunities and develop strategic guidance.
Smart farming: Agriculture 4.0
The agricultural sector is undergoing a digital transformation. Data on soil conditions, water requirements and plant growth obtained from agricultural machinery or satellites has long since helped to calculate the optimum amount of fertiliser needed and to increase yields per hectare. BayWa subsidiary FarmFacts has now developed an interoperable system for this purpose: NEXT Farming helps farmers collect the right data, use it intelligently and thus optimize processes on the farm as well as in the field. The system has a modular design and can be adjusted according to farm size and cultivation method. In 2020, BayWa also launched sales of its Dino agricultural weeding robot, which is controlled via satellite navigation, being particularly gentle on the soil and low in pesticides by combating weeds mechanically.
Climate Farmer Initiative
Humus is in many aspects a valuable ecological resource as an important carbon storage, but also as protection against changing environmental conditions, such as increased dry periods or heavy precipitation. In addition, humus-rich soils improve biodiversity and the water balance. That is why the BayWa subsidiary FarmFacts has launched the Climate Farmer Initiative (ICL). The participating farmers agree to use farming systems that promote the humus content in the soil and biodiversity – and are financially rewarded for it this. Local authorities, companies or individuals become sponsors and receive documentation proving the farmers’ performance of the contract. Soil samples are taken to measure humus content to accompany the cultivation agreement – at the start and again after three years. Sampling is GPS-controlled and digitally logged in the field according to an audited process.
Can an optimised cultivation method improve the carbon footprint of quality wheat production? BayWa is exploring this question in the Green Grains initiative launched in 2021. The reduced application of mineral nitrogen and the adaptation of energy-intensive tillage make the biggest contribution to climate friendliness. Satellite maps identify the different potentials of the cultivated land so that good yields can be achieved through targeted use of resources. Here, the greenhouse gas savings are attributed not to the area but to the quantity of the products produced. The fields used have a crop rotation with a positive humus balance within three years.
The greenhouse gas accounting takes place based on the BEK calculation standard (the calculation standard for single-farm carbon footprints), which was developed by various farming organisations, including the Thünen Insti tute of Organic Farming and the Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft (KBTL) (Board of Trustees for Technology and Construction in Agriculture). The aim is to achieve greenhouse gas savings of 20%.
Increasing heat waves and drought pose major challenges for farmers, as they lead to global yield losses and require more artificial irrigation. With the help of "VariableRain", an application from BayWa, farmers can keep an eye on the individual water requirements of their crops and control the efficient use of water in a targeted manner. This is made possible using satellite data to create irrigation maps. The smart service saves water, energy and time and gives the plant exactly the amount of water it needs.
Organic production methods, regionality and fair production conditions are an important component for future-oriented agriculture. BayWa Agrar meets the growing demand for organically produced products with a fully comprehensive range of products for organic farming, from suitable seeds and organic fertilizers to the right technology. In addition to the stationary trade, organic farmers also have access to the BayWa Portal with around 500 selected products from the areas of animal husbandry, soil fertility or seeds. Organic products are recorded at five locations and organic farmers are supported in marketing their products. In addition, BayWa has five Key Account Managers Öko, who advise farmers on crop cultivation on organic farms as well as on conventional farms that are about to embark on new paths.
CRS - Certified Responsible Soya
Global demand for soy has increased significantly in recent years and continues to do so. To make global soy supply chains more sustainable, subsidiary Cefetra developed the Certified Responsible Soya (CRS) Standard in 2008. Farmers seeking certification under the CRS standard must meet a wide range of sustainability requirements that include environmental and social aspects as well as good agricultural practices. To prevent the global clearing of forest land for soybean cultivation and ensure deforestation-free production, the CRS standard also includes a zero deforestation and zero conversion criteria. Large, medium and small sized farms around the world can be certified according to CRS.
Roundtable on sustainable palm oil
Cefetra Group B.V. is also a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Three companies within the group are (chain of custody) certified to deliver RSPO certified material: Cefetra B.V., Cefetra Feed Service B.V. and Cefetra Ltd. The latter has an Ecovadis silver medal status. As such, these companies deliver sustainable palm kernel (derivatives) to European customers. Cefetra Feed Service B.V. has been member since 2006, Cefetra B.V. is certified since 2020 and Cefetra Ltd since 2021.
Climate change-resistant fruit production
The BayWa Global Produce subsidiary T&G Global Limited joined the international and cross-sector breeding program "Hot Climate Programme" as a commercial partner in 2019. The aim of the program is to develop apple and pear varieties that are adapted to growing regions with high temperatures. As a result of climate change, it is becoming increasingly important for fruit growers to cultivate plants that can continue to produce high yields and quality despite dry and hot climates. In addition, plant varieties require less fertilizer and water. In 2020, T&G launched the marketing of the first climate change-resistant apple, named "HOT84A1".
State-of-the-Art Technology for a Longer Shelf Life
Fruit tastes best and contains most vitamins when it is harvested ripe. However, some exotic fruits are exported just ripening due to the long transport routes by ship and only then ripened at the destination.
BayWa Global Produce has invested in the innovative Softripe® technology at various sites in the Netherlands and the UK. The technology works with artificial intelligence and ripens avocados and mangoes with pinpoint accuracy. It monitors the atmosphere and individually adjusts it to the fruits’ metabolic processes. This ensures better quality and a longer shelf life without the use of additives. As a result, there is less loss of food. The ripening period is also shorter and less energy is needed.
Feedstuffs based on wood
agromed Austria GmbH, a subsidiary of RWA, uses wood to make healthy, natural and sustainable animal feed. Specifically, the company uses the natural ingredient lignocellulose, which animals need for a number of reasons, including a healthy digestive and immune system. The natural fibers for the products are harvested from untreated, freshly cut wood from sustainably managed forests in Europe – primarily Germany – that have been certified in line with the GMP+ and PEFC standards.
Online Platform for Second-Hand Agricultural Machinery
Whether tractors, forage harvesters or sowing technology: customers can find a broad range of second-hand agricultural machinery from various manufac turers on the BayWa Börse platform. BayWa diagnoses, repairs and recon ditions the machines – which means they can be re-marketed. BayWa’s second-hand machinery business extends the product life-cycle of agricultur al equipment. The machines largely come from BayWa’s sales territory – if, for example, a customer buys a new machine, BayWa will, on request, take the old machine in trade-in for it. The market is however not only restricted to Germany, Austria and Switzerland – BayWa supplies second-hand agricultural
machinery around the world.