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Crop protection companies expect new products to improve efficiency

The world may not be getting smaller as clichés would have us believe but the amount of land available for agricultural production is shrinking rapidly, according to Jim Bloomberg, product development manager for Bayer CropScience.

Bloomberg, along with three other industry officials, participated in a panel discussion at the annual Ag Technology Conference in Commerce, Texas, last December.

He joined Eric Castner, regional technical service manager, DuPont; Gary Fellows, diversified region technical service manager, BASF Corp.; and Chad Cummings, crop protection research and development, Dow AgroSciences, to offer farmers and ranchers a look at what’s coming in crop protection materials.

Producers will need more efficient products, Bloomberg said.

“Only 3 percent of the earth is available for agriculture,” he said. And that percentage will drop. “By 2050, about one-half of an acre of land will be available to feed each person. Today, we have about an acre-and-a-half. So we have to become more efficient. The population will increase and we face pressure from climate change. Crop patterns will change and production areas will shift. Food prices will increase.

“Pest control is not getting any easier,” he said. “We could get as much as 42 percent more yield with innovation.”

He said Bayer has innovations on the way. “We anticipate seven new active ingredients and 26 new products out from 2008 through 2011.”

He said Prosaro, a fungicide registered in 2008 for cereal grains, targets fusarium head blight, rusts, leaf and glume blotch and powdery mildew.”

Axiom herbicide, an older product, is “getting new emphasis for resistant ryegrass management.” Huskie, a post-emergence herbicide for wheat and barley may also be registered for grain sorghum. “It is active on pigweed,” Bloomberg said.

Leverage is a new insecticide entry for the cotton market. Belt is a new product for foliar feeding insects.

He said Bayer will have a Liberty Link soybean available in 2009 along with a six-product soybean system. Trilex 6000 includes Trilex, Yield Shield, and Allegiance, seed-applied fungicides; Celgard; Gaucho seed-applied insecticide; and Pro-Ized Red Colorant in one seed treatment.

He said Vortex is a new disease control product for corn and he expects Poncho 500 to be introduced in 2009. Stratego Pro should be available in 2010.

Castner said DuPont also has “an innovative pipeline,” including Optimum GAT, herbicide tolerant corn and soybean seed with both glyphosate and ALS herbicide tolerance. Castner said the technology detoxifies glyphosate and prevents ALS herbicides from binding.

“These are new tools for managing herbicide resistant weeds,” he said. “They allow use of multiple modes of action and feature rotation and application flexibility.”

He said rotation restrictions based on previous herbicide use may be reduced. “This technology opens up the possibility of planting corn behind cotton with Staple use or behind wheat and Finesse.

Products should be on the market within one to five years.

Castner said a herbicide tolerant, non-GMO grain sorghum also is on the horizon, a cooperative venture between DuPont and Kansas State University. That should be available within three years.

He said a new, un-named brush control product shows promise as a broadcast application to control mesquite.

“DuPont is no longer just a chemical company,” Castner said. “We work with chemistry, biotechnology and elite genetics.”

Fellows said BASF plans several new product launches within the next few years. “From 2009 through 2012, we will launch six new active ingredients and 19 new products. From 2013 through 2016 we anticipate 8 new active ingredients.”

Metaflumizone, an insecticide, will target the cotton and fruit and vegetable markets. In cotton, it works on worms and beetles and is “safe to non-target species.”

He said TwinLine adds triazole to Headline fungicide for stripe rust control. “Headline was registered for cotton last year for mid-to-late-season disease control.”

Kixor, a post emergence, broadleaf weed herbicide, “has a synergistic effect with glyphosate,” Fellows said. “It can be used as a burndown but provides residual activity. The list of weed species controlled tops 100 and there are no crop rotation restrictions. It should be a good fit in Texas.”

He said several different products with this active ingredient will be launched for different crops. “We will do demonstration trials in 2009."

Initium is a new fungicide for specialty crops.

Cummings said Dow AgroSciences will offer new seed technology, including SmartStax, a multiple-trait platform with both insect and herbicide tolerance for the corn market. Cummings said the seed technology offers “resistance to several modes of action and both broadleaf and grass control products.” Insect resistance includes numerous damaging pests including cutworm, corn borers and corn earworm.

Sure Start herbicide is designed for use in Roundup Ready corn. Sonic herbicide is for use in Roundup Ready soybeans.

He said Power Flex may not be a good fit for northeast Texas “because of resistant ryegrass problems in wheat.”

For pasture weed control, Grazon Extra offers good broadleaf weed control with no grazing restrictions and only a seven day harvest interval. Cummings said Chaparral herbicide has just been registered and contains no 2, 4-D.

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