What is sustainable agriculture?
Brandon Mitchener
UCL ResearchTalks “Planet, what’s up with my food?”
May 13, 2013
Overview
• The world we live in
• Our vision
• Who we are
• What we do
2
Global population continues to grow, expected to reach
~10 billion by mid-century – mostly in developing world
Global Popu...
Higher living standards lead to changing diets (mostly not
vegan)
5
66 – 85 million hectares of land
at current yields
36 million tons of
annual meat production
177 million tons of annual
...
Water is scarce. Agriculture consumes most of it.
Future demand will outstrip supply, especially in Asia.
6Source: Water 2...
Global warming is real…
7
Source: NASA
...and makes harvests less predictable: Much of
Europe saw severe drought conditions in 2012
8
World grain supplies are already historically low
and will provide little relief if more harvests fail
9
Source: IGC
So what is sustainable agriculture?
Assuming that different production methods are equally
safe and the resulting food is ...
French school children are taught that
there are only two kinds of agriculture
11
Source: My 14-year-old son’s homework
Monsanto’s vision of sustainable agriculture
• Producing more
• Conserving
more
• Improving lives
12 Monsanto Company Conf...
A company100% dedicated to agriculture
The old Monsanto
Business areas in 1975
Monsanto today
Business areas in 2012
Agric...
Monsanto in Europe – a leader in conventional
(e.g. non-biotech) seeds and crop protection
$7.367
$1.716
$1.588
$837
$873
...
What We Do: Serve Farmers Around The World
Working With Growers Large And Small, Row Crops And Vegetables
Maximizing yield potential takes a system of solutions
CHALLENGE:
Breeding Biotech
Agronomic
Solutions
WEED
CONTROL
INSECT...
Integrated Farming Systems: Unlocking Farm
Data to Drive Yields to the Next Level
PRECISION
SEEDING
Planter systems
enabli...
Modern Technology Requires Modern Policies
18
Thank you
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ResearchTalks Vol. 5 - What is Sustainable Agriculture? Using technology to improve food, agriculture and people’s lives

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Forget everything you think you know about food. While it is popular nowadays to demonize modern agriculture and promote a vision for farming and food production that revolves around small farms and artisanal methods, companies such as Monsanto are using modern technology to improve agriculture in ways that provide benefits to farmers, consumers and society as a whole. Contrary to popular myths, this is not (all) about biotechnology!

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ResearchTalks Vol. 5 - What is Sustainable Agriculture? Using technology to improve food, agriculture and people’s lives

  1. 1. What is sustainable agriculture? Brandon Mitchener UCL ResearchTalks “Planet, what’s up with my food?” May 13, 2013
  2. 2. Overview • The world we live in • Our vision • Who we are • What we do 2
  3. 3. Global population continues to grow, expected to reach ~10 billion by mid-century – mostly in developing world Global Population 2050 8 – 10.5 billion 2100 6.25 – 16 billion Source: UN; US Census Bureau
  4. 4. Higher living standards lead to changing diets (mostly not vegan)
  5. 5. 5 66 – 85 million hectares of land at current yields 36 million tons of annual meat production 177 million tons of annual corn and soy production In the next 10 years the world will require an additional…
  6. 6. Water is scarce. Agriculture consumes most of it. Future demand will outstrip supply, especially in Asia. 6Source: Water 2030 Global Water Supply and Demand model; agricultural production based on IFPRI IMPACT-WATER base case 3.003 4.531 3.534 693 1.531 688512 843 Basins with surplus Domestic 6,906 81 4,222 Basins with deficits Agriculture Industry Planned supply 2030 4,208 2005 demand1 2030 demand2 2,765 Groundwater Surface water 2.0% Billion m3, 154 basins/regions - 40%
  7. 7. Global warming is real… 7 Source: NASA
  8. 8. ...and makes harvests less predictable: Much of Europe saw severe drought conditions in 2012 8
  9. 9. World grain supplies are already historically low and will provide little relief if more harvests fail 9 Source: IGC
  10. 10. So what is sustainable agriculture? Assuming that different production methods are equally safe and the resulting food is healthy and nutritious… • Is agriculture more sustainable if it – Uses less land, or more land? – Uses less water, or more water? – Requires fewer chemicals, or more chemicals? – Requires less tillage, or more tillage? – Results in less waste, or more waste? – Results in more stable yields, or less stable yields? – Results in more affordable food, or more expensive food? 10
  11. 11. French school children are taught that there are only two kinds of agriculture 11 Source: My 14-year-old son’s homework
  12. 12. Monsanto’s vision of sustainable agriculture • Producing more • Conserving more • Improving lives 12 Monsanto Company Confidential
  13. 13. A company100% dedicated to agriculture The old Monsanto Business areas in 1975 Monsanto today Business areas in 2012 Agriculture Chimie industrielle polymères Textiles autres Source : Rapport annuel Monsanto 2012 semences et traits protection des cultures
  14. 14. Monsanto in Europe – a leader in conventional (e.g. non-biotech) seeds and crop protection $7.367 $1.716 $1.588 $837 $873 $541 $385 $197 FY2012 Net Sales (in Millions) US EMEA Brazil Asia-Pacific Argentina Canada Mexico Other 14 Source: 2012 annual report
  15. 15. What We Do: Serve Farmers Around The World Working With Growers Large And Small, Row Crops And Vegetables
  16. 16. Maximizing yield potential takes a system of solutions CHALLENGE: Breeding Biotech Agronomic Solutions WEED CONTROL INSECT CONTROL STRESS TOLERANCE DISEASE CONTROL OPPORTUNITY: Multiple R&D platforms = Multiple Solutions In between the planting and harvesting of a crop, a lot of factors can limit yield. Maximizing Total Yield Potential TOTAL YIELD
  17. 17. Integrated Farming Systems: Unlocking Farm Data to Drive Yields to the Next Level PRECISION SEEDING Planter systems enabling variable rate seeding & row spacing on a field by yield environment zone VARIABLE-RATE FERTILITY Variable rate N, P & K “Apps” aligned with yield management zones FERTILITY & DISEASE MANAGEMENT “Apps” for in-season custom application of supplemental late Nitrogen and Fungicides YIELD MONITOR Advances in Yield Monitoring to deliver higher resolution data BREEDING Significant increases in data points collected per year to increase annual genetic gains DATABASE BACKBONE Expansive seed by environment testing makes on-farm prescriptions possible USER INTERFACE Integrated user-friendly interface and “Apps”
  18. 18. Modern Technology Requires Modern Policies 18
  19. 19. Thank you

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