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September 2015

Nematodes

Addressing Nematodes

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Crop pests can come in all shapes and sizes, which is why farmers often need more than one solution to a problem. Take, for example, parasitic nematodes, also known as eelworms.
Responsible for destroying an astonishing 12 % of the world’s crop production, nematodes account for $ 100 billion in agricultural losses each year. Finding protection from these tiny parasites remains one of the greatest challenges facing farmers today. “The problem with nematodes is that they’re hidden in the ground – it’s hard to get to them,” explains Dr. Jürgen Benting, who researches pest control for Bayer CropScience in Monheim, Germany. To make things more difficult, there are also many different species of nematodes affecting a diverse selection of crops. Bayer CropScience recently streamlined its portfolio to focus on innovative solutions. Accordingly, Bayer has completely revamped its approach to nematode prevention in recent years, building a “tool kit” comprised of four areas: chemicals, biologicals, genetics, and breeding.
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New products

“It’s good to see new products coming out. We don’t want to get lulled into thinking just one thing is the answer,” says Ken Franklin, a grower helping farm some 3,000 ac of treated soybean and corn in central Illinois, USA. “The new chemistry seems to be working.” Bayer SeedGrowth’s chemical solutions include well-known products, like CropStar in Latin America. Shown to be effective against nematodes on various crops, these seed-applied products have an even more improved environmental profile. Highly targeted in their application, they aim to improve yields and quality for farmers growing crops such as soybeans and cotton, while minimizing exposure to non-target components of the environment.

The threat that nematodes represent should not be underestimated. From tomatoes and potatoes to corn and grapes – nematodes cause immense harvest losses of up to 50 % in all of these crops worldwide.

Nematode radar

In Brazil, Bayer is complementing its offer around the proven performer CropStar with a new service based on satellite technology. The new nematode radar is helping to predict nematode risk levels for growers, who can then respond with the appropriate seed treatment. The innovative approach, combined with a massive educational effort, has put Bayer in Brazil at the forefront of fighting yield losses caused by nematodes. Bayer’s multifaceted approach allows for tailored solutions to the unique challenges facing farmers around the globe, as they fight these extremely destructive parasites. “We’re always working towards the optimal solution,” says Dr. Benting. With plenty of options from Bayer’s nematode tool kit at your side, it won’t just be the proverbial early bird getting the worm.
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