St. Louis / Missouri. What the farmer does not see is something that John Raines has for a fee of $ 1,000 a year through nimble algorithms. The manager stands in a light-flooded conference room of the seed and crop protection manufacturer Monsanto in Chesterfield near St. Louis, just bought by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, and dances the "Field View" app Tractor rides on the smartphone in real-time, where on their fields how much fertilizer sprayed, where seed must be applied accurately and with weed killers such as glyphosate to be helped.Raines radiates, as the software ejects on the screen, so on a number of model-acreage In the Midwestern States, harvests could be increased.
The message calibrated especially for a bunch of German journalists this week is intended to show that Bayer is doing something worthwhile and good after swallowing up the unfriendly Monsanto group in the US for $ 63 billion. In line with the Credos of Liam Condon. The boss of the Agrochemicals Division, an Irishman with an infectious smile, says that crop protection products and matched seeds are "no alternative" in "modern agriculture", "if you want to feed a world population of up to ten billion people in 2050".
Bayer has a huge stomachache
Alone, Bayer has a huge stomachache. Since California school superintendent Dewayne Johnson, who attributes his end-stage lymph node cancer to the use of glyphosate (brand name: Roundup), has been awarded $ 78 million in damages after a trial in court, Bayer is on the decline. The market value has fallen by 25 billion euros since the beginning of August. With more than 9,000 similar lawsuits pending in the US, analysts see a financial risk of up to $ 10 billion. Bayer is convinced that the world's leading "weed killers" are safe and that they want to "defend themselves against the verdict with all legal means". Investors fear, however, that the pharmaceutical giant could have gotten away from the Rhine.
Bayer board shows flag
Reason enough for Bayer CEO Werner Baumann to show their colors on the ground. He does this in a sometimes tidy, sometimes thin-skinned atmosphere in a steakhouse at the foot of the famous concrete arch and Kruppstahl ("gateway"), which symbolizes the gateway to the west in the former front town of the colonization of America. The 56-year-old considers Roundup the "proven, safe, effective and economical broadband herbicide" certified by hundreds of studies and licenses issued by state regulators around the world did not find a "smoking gun" when examining the Monsanto books; that is, proof of the claimants' claims that Monsanto experts knew about the risk of cancer but did not disclose it. Baumann: "We have nothing to blame."
Previously, Monsanto experts had thrown off demands with the suggestion that explanatory quotes from in-house researchers ("One can not say that Roundup is not carcinogenic, we have not done the necessary tests to make that statement") from the It is misleading, to say the least, that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which operates under the auspices of the World Health Organization, has classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".
Hope for decision until the end of 2019
Whether this reading will convince the three-person professional team of judges that has to settle in San Francisco on Bayer's challenge to the Johnson judgment, nobody knows today. Internally, the company, which is familiar with expensive product liability lawsuits and intends to use new lawyers and "another strategy", expects a ruling by the end of 2019. Should Bayer win, Johnson attorney Brent Wisner told the newspaper, the state of California Supreme Court would join At the same time, according to Wisner, "eight or nine" glyphosate processes begin next year. His opinion: "Our case is getting stronger. And it's getting worse and worse for Bayer. The group should get involved in a comparison. "
So far 9,000 lawsuits pending
Werner Baumann does not want to know about 9,000 pending lawsuits at the moment. The next few cases are "open-ended," he said, with practitioners like Mark Scott at his side. The 53-year-old manages a father-owned farm in Wentzville, just outside St. Louis, with 1,700 hectares of soybean and corn. Scott is a fan of glyphosate. "I've been using it since 1996. It works, and it's safe, I'll use Roundup while it's on the market." The judgment against Bayer, the farmer considers "absolutely wrong".