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Corn field

Proven biological product will get wide use in 2017

Hi-Tech Farming: Corn seed from some brands will be coated with an improved biological product this year.

The search for biological-based products received a big boost when Monsanto and Novozymes, both large, respected players in the ag market, agreed to work together to develop biological products that would be effective and have a fit in the marketplace. That agreement is paying off in a product anyone who plants Monsanto seed corn in 2017 will utilize.

Monsanto and Novozymes work through what’s called the BioAg Alliance. These entities recently released a corn inoculant, Acceleron B-300 SAT. Officials say it will be applied to all of Monsanto’s hybrid seed corn sold in the U.S. in 2017.

The fungus in Acceleron B-300 SAT was originally found in the soil. Representatives report an average yield increase of more than 3 bushels per acre in two years of testing.

This new product improves the plant’s ability to take up nutrients, officials say. It’s an improved version of Novozymes’ JumpStart inoculant.

The spores in JumpStart were only viable for about 120 days. Scientists from the two companies developed a formulation that allows the spores to remain viable for at least two years.

Many biological products have been tried, and many are on the market. Specialists generally report that some of them live up to their billing, while many fall short. Those that fall short have contributed to the reputation of “moon dust” that has plagued this industry.

Will the success of Acceleron B-300 SAT mean great things for all these products? Probably not. It may mean you need to be even more vigilant in sorting out claims and determining what really works and what doesn’t work.

Becks’, Atlanta, Ind., operates an extensive on-farm research testing program called Practical Farm Research,  issuing a huge book of results to anyone who wants it, customer or not.

Becks’ officials say their policy is to test any product that farmers have an interest in that appears to provide profit potential. Based on experiences to date, some of these products definitely work, some show potential, and some show little or no advantage. Starting this year, Beck’s is designating those products that have shown an economic advantage for three years in its tests with a special designation. Kevin Cavanaugh, director of research at Beck’s, says the intent is to help farmers determine which of these products have a proven track record and which need more testing.

New weed control partner
Valor EZ herbicide from Valent USA is a liquid formulation of Valor that will be available for use with some of the newer soybean weed-control systems gaining approval. Representatives say Valor EZ will be an ideal residual partner for the Roundup Ready Xtend crop system.  

Available in soybeans and cotton for 2017, Valor EZ can provide residual protection for waterhemp and Palmer amaranth for four to six weeks.

Neonicotinoid safe for aquatic invertebrate
A peer-reviewed summary of 100 studies concludes the neonicotinoid imidacloprid from Bayer provides minimal risk for aquatic invertebrates, and for birds and fish that feed on these insects.

This class of insecticides, commonly used as seed coatings, has been under fire for potentially harming honeybees when products drift into the air, attached to particles used to help seed move through planting equipment more easily. Bayer officials hail the release of this report as an important milestone in demonstrating that when used properly, this insecticide poses minimal risk to the environment.

 

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