Bayer CropScience LP and Monsanto Company have entered into an exclusive agreement on a new fungicide seed treatment for corn.

The treatment, expected to be commercialized in conjunction with the planned launch of Monsanto's SmartStax seed offering in 2010, will provide corn farmers better early-season protection against seedling diseases and insects.

“We're pleased to be partnering with Bayer CropScience to deliver new seed-based technology to corn farmers,” said Carl Casale, executive vice-president for Monsanto. “We feel the product will be the best seed treatment package available to match with our corn trait offerings, like SmartStax.”

“We look forward to this opportunity to provide growers with advanced technology that combines Bayer CropScience innovation in seed treatment with Monsanto innovation in seed,” said Bill Buckner, president and chief executive officer of Bayer CropScience LP. “This combination will help ensure corn growers have access to the increased options they seek to best control pests, weeds and disease and maximize yields.”

The new seed treatment will be based on the Bayer CropScience product Vortex, a new fungicide providing broad spectrum disease control and seed safety for corn seed.

SmartStax combines eight different herbicide tolerance and insect-protection genes into top-performing hybrids for the most complete control ever available to farmers. The improved disease control provided by the new fungicide technology from Bayer CropScience further expands the benefits of the Monsanto hybrids for corn growers.

Under the agreement, Monsanto will have exclusive rights to commercialize the new seed treatment offering under its industry-leading corn brand DeKalb and the regional brands of American Seeds Inc., as well as to license the product through its business which serves more than 180 corn seed companies throughout the United States and Canada.

Vortex will be used in conjunction with Bayer CropScience's seed treatment insecticide Poncho, as well as other novel fungicide formulations, to deliver breakthrough seed treatment solutions.