Seed Care Stands Strong
As an ag retailer, if there’s one sure-fire way to upset valuable grower-customers, it’s probably selling them a bag of today’s expensive seed and then having it die in the ground due to insufficient seed treatment or, perhaps even worse, a treatment ill-suited for that grower’s production climate, that the retailer recommended.
Either way you slice it, it’s just bad business, and if it occurs frequently enough it’s probably going to lead to no business.
One of the easiest ways to avoid that dreaded “What the heck, Mister Trusted Advisor” phone call is to stay abreast of all the latest seed applied chemistries on the market, as well as new innovations coming online in the near future.
So, in that vein, here’s a roundup of what we’re seeing in seed treatment active ingredients, as well as what some would consider “secondary” treatment chemistries such as inoculant, colorants and polymer formulations for the coming year.
Biotech titan Monsanto spent 2014 advancing the launch of its newest treatment, Acceleron, which debuted for the 2013 season. Acceleron is labeled in corn, soybeans and cotton, and features a single insecticide mode of action (imidacloprid) alongside two fungicides (pyraclostrobin, metalaxyl).
For 2014, Syngenta launched CruiserMaxx Vibrance, a premix formulation of its popular CruiserMaxx and Vibrance treatments, according to Bruce Howison, Seedcare product line head.
“Customers are pleased with the performance they are getting from Vibrance, and we are seeing it adopted in almost all of the soybean treatment mixtures customers are using such as CruiserMaxx Beans with Vibrance, and Clariva Complete Beans seed treatments, both combinations of separately registered products,” he says. “In addition, in 2014-15 we are launching Vibrance on corn, and we expect that most of our seed company customers will adopt Vibrance in their CruiserMaxx Corn or Avicta Complete Corn offerings in the next season.”
The next couple years look to be busy times at Syngenta’s Seedcare division, as according to Howison, the company expects to launch a solution against sudden death syndrome for the 2015 season, as well as receive label approval in sugar beets for Clariva in 2015 and Vibrance in 2016. In cotton, Syngenta just received registration for Avicta COT 202, a new premix that increases ease of use for cotton seed treaters.
“And in cereals, we will launch two new products: Vibrance Quattro and Cruiser Vibrance Quattro,” adds Howison. “These products increase the disease spectrum by bolstering protection against fusarium and true loose smut, and add a fungicide-only, ready-to-apply formulation.”
Not one to be left out, Valent U.S.A. is priming for a particularly historic launch this season. Its newest seed protection system, INTEGO SUITE (ethaboxam+metalaxyl) in soybeans, as well its “straight goods” fungicide companion, INTEGO SOLO, received federal registration in February 2014.
What began six years ago with a brainstorming meeting between Valent colleagues has spawned the first new seed protection fungicide chemistry (ethaboxam) for Pythium and Phytophthora in the last 30 years, according to Trey Soud, seed protection business manager.
“Where INTEGO really fits into is, in the soybean disease spectrum there’s a couple really prevalent diseases causing the most yield loss and damage, and those two diseases are Pythium and Phytophthora,” says Soud. “The chemistry that growers have used traditionally against those diseases is metalaxyl, which is 35 years old, and it’s become evident that it doesn’t control as broad a spectrum of species of those two diseases as what we once thought it did.
“INTEGO SUITE is the first new product in 35 years that controls Pythium and Phytophthora as a seed treatment, but it doesn’t just do that. It controls a much broader spectrum of Pythium species, and it controls Phytophthora much better than metalaxyl will. On top of that, ethaboxam tends to stay around the seed zone and will protect that seed zone for a longer duration than metalaxyl, which moves quickly through the plant.”
According to Soud, after six years of joint university and private research evaluation of the new active, the results show about a bushel yield increase over the aforementioned CruiserMaxx and Acceleron.
“We kind of soft launched it this year with a few of our key retailers in specific geographies,” says Soud. “For 2015, INTEGO SUITE will be broadly available and we’re very excited to get this thing going.”