India: Bayer launches new rice hybrid seed Arize AZ 8433 DT
Jan. 23, 2018
India had witnessed major losses to its Kharif rice production due to Brown Plan Hopper (BPH). Bayer Crop Sciences has launched a new hybrid rice seed claiming it to be more effective on pests like BPH and BLB. It may also trigger the hybrid v/s traditional seeds issue.
Brown Plant Hopper (BPH) is the most destructive pest in rice growing areas of India and caused huge losses to farmers in the 2017 Kharif season. At the same time, Bayer has launched a first-of-its-kind hybrid rice seed, Arize AZ 8433 DT with strong inbuilt tolerance to BPH and Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB).
Though there are many chemical solutions available to control BPH, these have not been able to control the insect effectively in cases of medium to heavy infestation. The usual practice is to spray when the insect build-up has already happened. As an alternative approach, Bayer has developed hybrid seeds, where pest tolerance has been achieved in the seed through innovative technologies based on marker-assisted breeding.
"Rice is a staple food crop for majority of India and a key focus crop for Bayer's Crop Science business in India. Bayer has been working closely with rice farmers to improve rice yields and quality through its innovative hybrid seeds, crop protection products, and integrated crop management solutions,” says Peter Mueller, Head of the Crop Science division at Bayer South Asia. "The introduction of Arize AZ 8433 DT is another step towards improving rice productivity in India. Since its launch, the cultivation of Arize AZ 8433 DT has expanded to more than 10,000 acres in major rice-growing belts of the country,” adds Peter Mueller.
In the event of a BPH and BLB attack, Arize AZ 8433 DT from Bayer offers a yield advantage of up to 20 to 30 per cent over other susceptible open-pollinated varieties (OPVs), where yield losses could be up to 100 per cent. Besides superior yield attributes, another advantage of cultivating the said seed variety includes a significant saving on pesticide application.
A single round of spraying pesticides costs Rs. 500-600 per acre. Even with the moderate infestation, rice farmers spray three to four times, depending on the incidence of BPH. With Arize AZ 8433 DT, farmers are advised to scout their fields periodically and go for one spray, only if the BPH count exceeds economic threshold levels, or if hopper burn damage is observed in adjoining fields. However, farmers will have to use pesticides for other pests such as white-backed Plant Hopper (WBPH) and Stem Borer etc.
How a farmer can be benefited?
Bayer has shared few success stories of few farmers, Havesh Pradhan, a rice farmer from the Bargarh district in Odisha who has been cultivating rice on eight acres of his land, cultivated from the seed by Bayer in one acre of his land. Sharing his experience, he says, “Life would have been very good, had I been cultivating this seed on my entire land.” Havesh had to incur a considerable yield loss on account of hopper damage in other varieties which he had grown. Despite four sprays; he had not been able to control BPH, whereas with Arize AZ 8433 DT, only one spray worked wonders.
Another farmer, Sumeru Ram Sahu from Dhamatari district of Chhattisgarh, cultivated from the same seed in four acres of his land. “Even under such a heavy infestation, the tolerance exhibited by the seed variety with one spray was nothing short of a miracle,” says Sahu.
Pradhan and Sahu’s story resonate with 5,000 other farmers who have experienced the success of Bayer’s new rice seed, which can open doors to new competition in R&D industry in agriculture. According to Bayer, all of these 5,000 farmers in are now looking forward to a bumper rice harvest.