BASF Agricultural Solutions UK

Innovation in potatoes from BASF

Matthew Goodson, market manager speciality crops for BASF, introduces the presentation. In the next 5 years BASF are developing new products for blight control, weed control, wireworm reduction and aphid control.

Matthew Goodson is the market manager, speciality crops for BASF. He says that BASF want to support farmers to grow more and better produce while preserving the environment and ensuring food and worker safety. “Over the years BASF has been known for its strong cereal fungicide portfolio but now they want to be more involved in the speciality sector too. In March this year BASF announced that they wanted to be 3rd in the world for speciality crops as well as sustaining key positions in the cereal, rape and maize crops.”

“In the next 5 years we will have 2 blight fungicides (2022 and 2024), 1 herbicide (in 2023) and 2 insecticides (2023) adding a significant number of new products to the market for our growers.”

Matthew goes on to predict a flat line or small decline in terms of the potato cropping area this year so that growers will need to increase their yields.

He reports that over 10 active ingredients have been lost or restricted to the potato grower in recent years – herbicides linuron, diquat and glufosinate ammonium, insecticides neonicotinoids, pymetrozine, ethoprophos, fungicides, not lost but restricted due to resistant strains, phenylamides and fluazinam, sprout suppression in store CIPC and slug control metaldehyde. Worryingly he says that another 50 active ingredients are under threat from non-renewal in the future.

BASF are investing 900 million euros into R and D in 2020 which will bring forth fruit to the speciality sector. “There are exciting times ahead for us,” he says

Innovation in potatoes from BASF

  • Paul Goddard, BASF’s potato technical lead, says BASF is developing pipeline products for blight control, weed control, wireworm reduction and aphid control. A complement of existing conventional chemistry, biologicals and others are new chemistry.

BASF Agricultural Solutions has several products in potatoes – for blight; Percos (ametoctradin plus dimethomorph), for Alternaria, Signum (boscalid and pyraclostrobin), for weed control Stomp Aqua (pendamethalin), Laser (cycloxydim) and Basagran SG (bentazone) and ALLSTAR (fluxapyroxad), the kind, easy to use in-furrow treatment.

“In the Speciality crop sector, and for the potato crop in particular, we have a wealth of products in the pipeline,” according to Paul Goddard. “Potatoes are a key speciality crop for us,” he says.

In 2010 BASF introduced a new active ingredient ametoctradin (in coformulation with dimethomorph) as a blight fungicide, Percos. Paul explains that Percos is one of a limited number of blight fungicides that has tuber blight reduction on its approved label.

Paul points out that late blight can decimate the crop and the strains are changing rapidly over time. The new strains are more aggressive, have a faster life cycle and produce more spores. There is also a strain that is resistant to the active fluazinam which account for over 25% of the blight population. There is an increasing need for multisite fungicides, with mancozeb’s future being discussed.

In 2020 straight ametoctradin was made available as Enervin SC. Ametoctradin is from a unique class of complex III inhibitors (pyrimidylamines) with a different mode of action. It inhibits mitochondrial respiration to provide effective protectant activity by preventing spore germination. Within the group of respiratory complex III inhibitors, there are a number of subgroups where the target site of activity has already been confirmed e.g. Qol or strobilurins (famoxadone and fenamidone) and Qil inhibitors (cyazofamid and amisulbrom). Ametoctradin is different and is classified as a QoSI, binding to the stigmatellin subsite within the respiratory complex III. “Ametoctradin is the first and only active ingredient in this classification and is not cross resistant with other fungicides, “says Paul Goddard. “Enervin SC is an excellent complementary partner for other actives and will be a mixer product. “

The chemists in BASF have been working with ametoctradin and have developed a new highly effective coformulation with potassium phosphonate (KHP). This offers multisite activity with the Syn-Tec formulation delivering genuine synergistic characteristics. “Our chemists have optimised the formulation to deliver results in the field, above what was expected. BAS657 was one of the strongest blight products at both Eurofins and SRUC blight sites in 2019 and 2020. Ruairidh Bain said it was looking outstanding. The product helps to induce the host plants ‘own defences. It is not a CAA or QoI or QiI fungicide so is a ‘no brainer’ when it comes to fitting it into a programme. This is a very exciting product and will be registered late 2021, “says Paul.

“We are also developing an herbicide for grass and broad-leaved weed control in potatoes. Growers want an herbicide to be safe to the crop across all soil types and all varieties. Good weed control is fundamental to growing a profitable crop. With the loss of PDQ, diquat and linuron, weed control has already changed and is likely to continue to change as dose rate restrictions continue to bite. Weed control in potatoes will evolve further and consist of more complicated tank mixes. BAS656 is an active ingredient known in oilseed rape and vegetables - dimethenamid-p. But it will be a new mode of action in potatoes, being a K3 (acetamide). BAS656 has both root and shoot uptake, helping activity to be maintained in dry conditions. Weed control will increasingly be about building a ‘team in the tank’ for the job. BAS656 will be a useful ‘team player’ to give effective weed control, “explains Mr Goddard.

“Moving onto wireworm control, BAS 480 BCI is a biological product, based on Beauveria bassiana. The product will be delivered on a complementary granule to reduce damage by this pest. It is applied using current granule applicators and potentially applied overall or in-furrow. Wireworms are a significant problem in potatoes as there is a very low damage threshold and damaged tubers are difficult to grade out. Affected crops can lose value and may become animal feed. Wireworms can be a particular problem in crops of baby tubers when left in the ground before harvesting. There is already interest in this product as the mainstay wireworm treatment; Mocap (ethoprophos) has been withdrawn. BAS480 BCI has been shown to give control close to that from Mocap with a zero-harvest interval. Registration is due in late 2022. “

Another sector in need of a new solutions is aphid control in seed potatoes. There are already widespread resistance issues with pyrethroids and other actives being withdrawn, such as pirimicarb and the neonicotinoids. BAS550 is a new active substance with a new mode of action. It is a liquid formulation with efficacy beyond aphids and is 3 years away.

“BASF are repositioning with the intention of achieving the Global number three position in speciality crops, alongside strong innovative positions in the soya, corn and cotton sectors, wheat, oilseed rape and sunflowers and rice crop systems,” reminds Paul Goddard.