Bayer adds Heads Up to biological seed treatment lineup

Heads Up contains a naturally occurring substance extracted from Chenopodium species. When applied to soybean seed, Heads Up triggers the crops’ defense systems against diseases upon germination, said product development manager Jennifer Riggs.

Bayer CropScience LP has announced it has finalized a licensing agreement with Heads Up Plant Protectants Inc. for access to Heads Up seed treatment. The terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Heads Up contains a naturally occurring substance extracted from Chenopodium species. When applied to soybean seed, Heads Up triggers the crops’ defense systems against diseases upon germination, said product development manager Jennifer Riggs.

“It effectively creates an early warning system so the crop produces naturally occurring disease-defense mechanisms before infections can get a head start,” she said. “Growers will have an innovative natural seed treatment solution that can safeguard their crops and potentially increase yields. When used with seed-applied fungicides, Heads Up brings an additional mode of action to protect young soybeans from soil diseases that are present in the environment when soybeans are traditionally planted.”

All plants have built-in defenses against pathogenic diseases, Riggs said. These natural defense mechanisms are not always activated in time for protection, she added.

Oftentimes, by the time they are activated, seedling diseases have already overwhelmed the crop. Heads Up induces an anti-fungal response in plants before disease pathogens have a chance to attack.

By enhancing a crop’s defenses, Heads Up limits damage from seedling disease pathogens, including Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Fusarium. More than 30 replicated trials in 2007-08 have demonstrated a 1 to 3 bushels per acre yield advantage in soybeans over base seed treatment systems.

“Biological-based seed treatments have the opportunity to be game-changers,” said product manager Paul Hewitt. “Heads Up is the newest product in a robust biological seed treatment platform currently offered by Bayer CropScience.”

For more information on Heads Up, contact your local Bayer CropScience field representative.

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