FMC, an agricultural sciences company, has submitted two new active ingredient microbial pesticide strains, RTI 301 and RTI 477, to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division. The company expects approval in late 2020.
The unique combination of these two strains of bacilli can be used for seed treatment, in-furrow and transplant application to offer growers another option for suppressing sudden death syndrome in soybeans as well as fusarium, rhizoctonia and phytophthora in a variety of crops.
For Kaustubh Borah, North America commercial manager and business development lead for plant health at FMC, the ability to offer farmers these new solutions is exciting.
“What our research trials have shown in the U.S. and globally is that the combination of these two bacilli strains when added to seed treatment or applied in-furrow offers an additional and alternative mode of action to suppress these diseases,” he says.
The new biologicals are especially exciting because there is currently no biological or chemical treatment that works as well to suppress SDS, which can wipe out soybean fields.
“The really good news is that these strains can be used at low levels in combination with other seed treatments,” he says. “We are not trying to replace any existing treatment but rather to offer an additional product that improves efficacy which can be measured in yield improvement.”
The biopesticides work by producing spores that form a biofilm on plant roots and release metabolites that keep fungal diseases at bay, he says.
Other FMC biopesticides have shown success in preventing damage from nematodes in sugar cane and soybeans in Brazil, and Borah says they are seeing strong growth for this segment in the marketplace.
“A product like this reduces the dependence on synthetic chemicals. You can see good results with the use of these biological even at reduced rates,” he says. “Our goal is to help a farmer get that additional few bushels in difficult conditions.”
Borah says the new biologicals will be labeled for use on cereal crops as well as cotton, sugarbeets, soybeans, field corn, sweet corn, popcorn and corn grown for seed.