Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

AI Is Becoming a New Weapon in the Battle Against Crop Pests

Artificial intelligence already is making strides in the development of new drugs, and now the pesticide industry wants in on the action.
Switzerland’s Syngenta AG has teamed up with Insilico Medicine to use its deep-learning tools to produce sustainable weedkillers. As well as taking on some of the early-stage work traditionally conducted in a lab, AI could design molecules used in crop-protection tools that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly, the companies said Wednesday.
AI is among new methods emerging as environmental and health concerns spur a quest for sustainable alternatives to traditional pesticides used by farmers. Demand also is being supported by regulatory pressures and lawsuits, most notably Bayer AG’s $11 billion settlement deal over claims its long-used glyphosate herbicide causes cancer.
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