Creating a new product for the seed treatment market is never an easy process. Not only does it have to be worthy of growers’ time and attention, it has to do something truly new and innovative for them.
But understanding why a seed treatment is important is key to creating a product that will actually benefit growers.
“When they put seed in the ground, growers want to know they’re protecting it for the first 21 days of its life,” says Kate Sanford Mitchell, Canadian marketing manager for Arysta LifeScience.
“It’s the environmental conditions that seed encounters that chip away at its yield potential. Whatever we can do to mitigate those environmental factors is important.”
Brian Hergott, who farms canola, wheat and barley in Bruno, Sask., was looking for just that when he first used an Arysta LifeScience product called Rancona® Pinnacle on his wheat and barley seed.
“I always want a product that I know will do a good job. Seed is a big investment for me,” Hergott says.
Rancona Pinnacle combines two fungicides that protect seed against yield-robbing diseases in cereals — ipconazole, a highly active and novel triazole that controls Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, smuts, bunts and seed rot — and metalaxyl, a foundation fungicide that broadens the disease spectrum and also provides control of Pythium.
It’s a powerful combination that he says has worked well for him, but he recently made the leap to try something with added value and an extra ingredient — carbathiin — which adds to the fungicidal activity and supports early seedling vigour and growth. Arysta LifeScience, which manufactures the product, calls it Rancona Trio.
“We knew we wanted to improve on Rancona Pinnacle,” says Brian Schilling, Canadian development manager for Arysta LifeScience. “The question was how. How do you add extra value for the grower? It had to be a significant improvement that would be worth their while.”
Arysta LifeScience realized that something doesn’t have to be new in order to be novel.
“Carbathiin is an older active ingredient, but Trio represents a new formulation. We’re using something tried and tested and combining it with other modes of action, which makes for something new and exciting in the seed treatment world,” Schilling says.
Carbathiin is a succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) fungicide. SDHI fungicides prevent energy production in fungal cells and thereby arrest fungal growth.
“Combining carbathiin with other modes of action allows us to continue using it, even though it’s an older chemistry,” Schilling says.
Sanford Mitchell adds that selecting a new active ingredient is a careful process, one in which numerous factors are seriously considered.
“You need to be sure what that active is bringing to the party. There needs to be a good reason for it to be there,” she says.
As a farmer, Hergott is always looking for a product he trusts will actually do a better job.
“If I’m going to take the time and make the investment, there needs to be solid science behind the claims,” he says. “When you have three modes of action working together, to me that will always do a better job than just one or two modes. That way, I know I’m well protected.”