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What’s coming up from BASF

New fungicides and traits are
coming from BASF for 2012 and beyond.

Earlier this month, BASF
invited agricultural media from around the world to its Global Agricultural
Solutions Press Info Day in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Here’s some of what’s coming
up:


Fungicide With Dual Action Modes

Xemium fungicide is on tap
for 2012, pending regulatory approval. It belongs to a fungicide class called carboxamides.
Xemium has a mode of action called Succinate
Dehydrogenase Inhibitor (SDHI). Carboxamides, new to the corn and soybean
market, gives farmers another choice to the strobilurin and triazole fungicides they now use.

Xemium will be marketed under several
different brand names. Priaxor will be the foliar fungicide brand you’ll see in
corn, soybeans, canola, and sunflowers. It will feature a 2:1 ratio of F500 and Xemium. F500 is the active
ingredient in BASF’s Headline strobilurin fungicide.

Strobilurin
fungicide-resistant Cercospora sojina, the causal agent of
frogeye leaf spot in soybeans, surfaced in 2010 and 2011 in fields in Tennessee, Kentucky,
Missouri and Illinois. One way to forestall resistance is to use multiple modes
of action. BASF officials say the dual modes of action in Priaxor are a step in
this direction.

Systiva will be the seed treatment
formulation of Xemium. Proposed crops include corn, soybeans, wheat, and other
crops.

Extending Fungicide
Application Windows 

Fungicides
perform best when applied at recommended times. In the case of BASF’s Headline,
company officials say the optimal time to apply Headline in corn is the VT
through R2 stages (full tassel through blister).

Aerial
applicators face a tight time schedule trying to cover all fields during this
time. BASF is researching formulations designed for chemigation and
encapsulation that could help widen this window.

Large-scale
application trials are again slated for 2012 for slow-release technologies
containing Headline that would help widen the current application window.

“It
is too early to declare victory,” says Markus Heldt, president of BASF’s crop
protection division. However, the technology is promising and may be appear on
the market in several years, he says.

Traits Are Coming

BASF
and Monsanto entered into a contractual relationship in 2007 to develop traits
to help crops resist stressors like drought and to help enhance yield. The
first product from this collaboration—first-generation drought tolerant
corn—will be conducted in the U.S. in 2012.  Pending regulatory approval, this product could be released
as early as 2013. First-generation drought tolerant corn will be aimed at the
western Corn Belt, where water is often the main yield-limiting factor.
Officials for the company say the products have shown a

6% to 10% yield increase in drought-stressed areas.

It’s all part of BASF’s goal to help farmers better
manage water. “The holy grail is improving water management, and finding
solutions for growers to improve water management,” says Heldt.

Up
later this decade from this collaboration will be yield traits that well, boost
yields of corn, soybeans, canola, and wheat. Ditto for a trait that resists
soybean cyst nematode in soybeans, and help better manage nitrogen in corn.

BASF
has also entered into agreements with other companies to develop traits for
crops that include sugar cane, sugar beets and rice.

“We
are not a seed company,” says Peter Eckes, president of BASF Plant Science. “Traits are only
relevant when they are in seed. So, we have found the best possible companies
to work with concerning seed. From that standpoint, that is an efficient way
and a relatively low investment of getting into a very attractive market. “

Healthy fatty acids

BASF
has entered into a partnership agreement with Cargill for canola plants that
produce oils containing high levels of EPA/DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty
acids have been shown to decrease heart attack risk if regulatory consumed.
Currently, these fatty acids are most commonly consumed through fish
consumption. Adding them via canola oil will enable them to be available in a
key ingredient in many foods, say BASF officials.

“The
first generation of traits appealed to farmers in terms of pest protection,”
says Eckes. “Subsequent generations of traits will appeal to consumers.” 

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