Agtech Seedlings: Bayer aims to launch first bioinsecticide for arable crops | Corteva sells fungicide assets

By Staff
6 Min Read

Beetles begone: Bayer inks exclusive deal for new biological insecticide

Bayer AG has gained exclusive rights to a biological insecticide aimed at countering a global pest problem affecting oilseed rape and cereal crops.

The product, developed by AlphaBio Control, has the potential to be used against the cabbage stem flea beetle, a pest that invades fields and feeds on leaves, resulting in stunted growth and poor plant health.

This will be the first biological insecticide available for crops like oilseed rape and cereal. It adds to the line of sustainable products licensed by AlphaBio for Bayer, according to the press release.

“Biocontrols are a perfect fit to our approach to scaling regenerative agriculture, and we’re excited to work to bring a new biological crop protection option to farmers,” Benoit Hartmann, head of biologics at Bayer’s crop science division, said in a statement.

In recent years, the pesky beetle has caused serious economic and crop losses throughout much of Europe, accounting for up to 15% of lost yields in the U.K. or roughly $90 million per year, according to 2019 research from the John Innes Centre.

The yet-to-be-named product is slated to hit shelves in 2028 pending further development and registration. 

Bayer also distributes Flipper, a biological insecticide trademarked by AlphaBio targeting pests that feed on strawberry, tomato and cucumber crops.

— Nathan Owens

Corteva’s global fungicide assets acquired by competitor

UPL Corporation Ltd., an agrochemical giant based in Mumbai, India, has completed an acquisition that would give it access to certain formulations of mancozeb-based fungicides previously owned by Corteva Agrisciences.

The deal expands UPL’s portfolio to include Dithane, a multi-site fungicide commonly used for growing potatoes, peppers, onions and tomatoes, as well as license to Rainshield technology that protects crops in wet weather conditions. 

The completed acquisition of Corteva’s global mancozeb business is limited to solo formulations of the fungicide, including all data, registrations and trademarks for the products, with the DowDupont spinoff retaining ownership of premix formulations.

China, Japan, South Korea and European Union member countries are left out of the deal. It also excludes manufacturing and formulation facilities.

“We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition for all customers, and look forward to helping growers produce sustainable crop yields and future-proof food security,” Christina Coen, UPL’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

No financial details were disclosed.

— Nathan Owens


China-based DJI launches new agricultural drones

The world’s largest drone maker unveiled two products for precision nutrient application on farms both large and small.

DJI’s Agras T50 and Agras T25 represent the China-based manufacturer’s next-generation of agricultural drones. The T50 is tailored for larger-scale growing operations, while the T25 is a lightweight model for smaller fields.

The enhanced drones feature strengthened stability and increased flow, allowing for a variety of applications from fields to orchards, according to a release. Both drones are compatible with the upgraded SmartFarm app, which farmers can use to streamline crop protection management.

The new products come as lawmakers consider severely curtailing DJI’s presence in the United States due to its ties to the Chinese government. Proposed bipartisan legislation would block the company from using the country’s communications infrastructure.

— Sarah Zimmerman

Climate forecasting startup debuts AI crop yield tool for farmers, brewers and more

ClimateAi, a climate resilience platform, has introduced its latest product offering designed to forecast yields and provide weather-related insights for a range of commodities, such as corn, potatoes and hops.

The Monitor Yield Outlook, which leverages machine learning technology, provides weekly crop outlooks from planting through harvest to help farmers and industry stakeholders better navigate extreme weather and its effect on the global food supply.

“This volatility will only increase year over year, so it is imperative that both businesses and governments understand the impact on production, imports, exports, and food prices with enough time to react,” Himanshu Gupta, CEO of ClimateAi, said in a statement.

The tool offered by the San Francisco-based startup predicts yields using patented weather forecasts and agronomic risk expertise from various customers, including Suntory, a Japanese brewing and distilling company. Suntory relies on ClimateAi’s forecasts to manage climate risks associated with corn.

“Understanding county-level yield predictions of different commodities is quite impactful for us,” Brian Golden, Suntory’s head of global supply solutions, said in a statement.

The tool can aid farmers, procurement, and sourcing professionals with contracting strategies, risk anticipation, and market action.

— Nathan Owens

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