The world of crop fungicides has exploded in the past 13 years. And the market continues to rise as farmers find that crop diseases are the latest yield-robbers in their fields.
In a media event that offered a little tongue-in-cheek mystery, BASF unveiled a new tool that farmers will get access to for the 2020 season. Having a little fun with the idea, media got “redacted” documents for the event that kept the name of the product secret until the launch ahead of Commodity Classic in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27. The new ingredient is Revysol fungicide, which is a new-generation “azole” fungicide that will join the product family that already includes pyraclostrobin — sold as Headline — and the carboxamide Xemium.
BASF has carved a solid niche in the fungicide market that started with Headline. Matt Bradley shared some history of the product, noting that in 2002, for corn producers, only about 2 million acres were treated with a fungicide. “This was mainly white corn or food-grade corn,” he said. “In the first year of Headline in 2007, that market grew to 8.4 million acres; and in 2018, it was applied to 21.6 million acres of corn.”
The company saw similar growth with Headline and Xemium — sold as Priaxor for soybeans, which has grown to cover 18.8 million acres. But the new product, Revysol, shows the promise of expanding acres further.
“The market for fungicides could grow 150% in the next five years,” he explained. “Revysol is the result of 10 years of research and development.”
Looking back, looking ahead
It was 40 years ago when the first DMI fungicide in the “azole” class was launched. Often called the triazoles, these active ingredients were curative: stopping diseases immediately, but not known for any residual performance of any great length. Over time, there have been different versions of the DMI fungicide class launched; the last was in 2002 — until now.
Paula Halabicki, technical marketing manager, explained that Revysol, the new DMI for 2020, wasn’t an easy task. “When BASF was looking for a new DMI for the market, we wanted efficacy and a favorable regulatory profile,” she said. “We screened thousands of different molecules, and we have a new active ingredient that is different than any other DMI on the market.”
Halabicki talked about the technical difference in the new molecule that is Revysol. It includes a isopropanol link that makes the molecule more flexible in its ability to latch onto a disease and offer control. She likened the flexibility to a molecular vacuum-cleaner ball that offers the flexibility to get to hard-to-reach places.
“This provides a broader spectrum that’s stronger and lasts longer,” she noted. “Broader, stronger and longer. That matters.”
This new active ingredient controls a wide range of crop diseases, including such major corn diseases as gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, southern corn leaf blight and southern rust. In soybeans, the product is active on frogeye leaf spot, septoria brown rot, cercospora blight and aerial web blight. And it’s active on a range of diseases that impact other crops. “With more ‘flex,’ the product has a wider spectrum of activity, and we have seen Revysol show activity on some pathogens that have become resistant to DMI fungicides,” Halabicki said.
Beating the legacy DMI resistance is possible due to that flex in the molecule’s design, which allows it to bend and work its way into the pathogen more easily. “We’ve seen activity on DMI-resistant apple scab, powdery mildew and septoria in wheat,” she added.
And this new product offers residual control. “DMIs are not known for residual activity, but Revysol creates reservoirs under the leaf surface,” Halabicki noted. “One day after application it has moved into the plant, and it is steadily translocated to the leaf tip.”
Branding and crops
For 2020, farmers will get Revysol combined with BASF Plant Health fungicides. There will be two products:
• Veltyma (pronounced vel-TEE-ma), which will be the leading corn brand that’s on track for approval during the summer of 2019. It also shows activity against tar spot and provides stress management with BASF’s plant health approach.
• Revytek (pronounced REV-e-tek), will be the lead brand for soybeans and also includes components for plant stress management. It is also on track for approval during 2019, in time for the 2020 application season.
More information will be available as the new products are approved for the market.