Ag retailer representatives got a look at some intriguing offerings from Syngenta during a recent central Louisiana crop tour.

Agrisure Viptera 3111, a new trait stack for corn registered for use beginning in 2011, generated some buzz among the participants. It combines the Agrisure Viptera trait with the Agrisure 3000GT trait stack. Agrisure Viptera 3111 features Vip3A, a new mode of action in corn insect control. Vip3A is a non-crystalline protein that controls a broad spectrum of above-ground insects, including corn earworm, fall armyworm, Western bean cutworm, black cutworm, dingy cutworm, stalk borer and sugarcane borer.

“It gives us another resistance management tool for the multi-pest complex that causes $1.1 billion in yield losses annually. It is particularly good on lepidopteran pests and gives enhanced corn earworm and fall armyworm control,” says Mason Bennett, Syngenta Seeds district sales manager.

“For growers, it means they can take refuge acres down from 50 percent to 20 percent,” Bennett says.

Across tests in all locations last year, Agrisure 3111 provided a 4.5- to 5-bushel per acre yield increase.

“Where corn earworm was present, it resulted in a 14-plus bushel per acre yield increase,” Bennett says. “It also gives growers a tool to manage aflatoxin by protecting against corn earworm, which provides an entry point for the fungus. Agrisure Viptera 3111 is as good as or better than what is currently on the market. We are confident it will provide growers with another option in the marketplace. It will be available in NK Seed hybrids that are already out.”

Agrisure Viptera 3111 recently received crucial Japanese regulatory approval, allowing importation of U.S. corn with the trait stack for food or feed use in the country. That removes a hurdle for U.S. planting of the trait stack in 2011, says Robert Prince, Syngenta Seeds agronomist.

Syngenta also showcased Afla-Guard biocontrol agent, which was developed by USDA-Agricultural Research Service and licensed to Circle One Global, Inc., in 2002. Syngenta acquired it in 2009. Afla-Guard, registered for use on corn and peanuts, significantly reduces aflatoxin levels to improve the marketability of a crop. The product is a non-toxigenic strain of Aspergillus flavus that displaces the toxic, aflatoxin-producing strain of the fungus.

In 2007, USDA estimated corn farmers lose $200 million each year due to aflatoxin problems. Contamination in by-products such as dried distillers grain makes the industry’s actual loss a good deal more than that.
“Afla-Guard overwhelms the bad fungus and competitively displaces it. It eliminates about 85 percent of the aflatoxin in the field,” says Dave Ross, Syngenta technical brand manager.

Afla-Guard is applied to corn between the growth stages of V10 to V12 and R1 via a barley carrier coated with spores of the non-toxigenic strain of A. flavus.

“After being flown on the field, just like flying on fertilizer, the good fungus in Afla-Guard multiplies on the barley seed as a food source and immediately spores begin spreading to compete with the toxic strain of the fungus,” Ross says.

“We prefer that application be made four to five days before tassling. If the corn starts getting insects going through the husks, it will take the bad aflatoxin spores in. That’s why timing is important,” Ross says.

Tour participants also saw the company’s new soybean varieties for the region. “We have three late-season Group 4 varieties. Of those, S49-A5 Brand has new SCN technology and is a versatile bean. In Group 5, new S51-T8 Brand is versatile, has an excellent disease package and is an extremely good fit across Louisiana,” says James Harp, Syngenta Seeds sales representative based in Monroe, La.

“We now have a soybean that fits every situation in the Mid-South. We have an early bean, S47-R3 Brand, that has a good disease package. Then, in a medium bush type bean, there’s S44-D5 Brand, which has a 4.4 maturity, outyielded competitors five to seven bushels per acre 75 percent of the time, and does well on heavy soils. Another excellent candidate is S42-T4 Brand, which does well following sugarcane rows,” Harp says.