Data Analytics Can Help Boost Genetic Gain
“Central to our strategy has been the innovative use of data analytics to maximize genetic gain,” says Joseph Byrum, Ph.D., senior R&D strategic marketing executive at Syngenta. “We’ve learned from other industries that analytics can enhance what they do, such as delivering packages more efficiently, enhancing medical research and scheduling airline flights to minimize delays. Syngenta is the first in agriculture to apply the same techniques to the breeding of plants, and the results have been tremendous.”
From the millions of new lines that Syngenta soybean breeders develop each year, the data-rich selection process allows them to hone in on those lines that have tolerance to specific pests and diseases and targeted genes. “What we’re doing is making better breeding choices, which means we’re better able to spot winning varieties right from the start,” Byrum says.
“Central to our strategy has been the innovative use of data analytics to maximize genetic gain.”
Syngenta is also seeking partnerships inside—and outside—ag that can help push soybean yields to new highs. The Syngenta Crop Challenge, an annual initiative sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences in coordination with Syngenta, invites people with expertise in data analytics to apply their skills in devising a data-backed method of increasing yield.
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Syngenta will continue to advance its research and development toolkit by adding sophisticated new analytical tools in 2018. “Our suite of data analytics tools has achieved impressive results, but there is more to be done,” Byrum says. “The tools undergo constant revision and improvement. We never assume the job is finished, because we know there will always be a better way of doing things.”
The Good Growth Plan Gains Ground on Food Insecurity
A progress report from Syngenta shows significant advances toward reaching the goals of The Good Growth Plan.