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Nematodes: Emerging Problems and Integrated Management Solutions in Latin Americaqrcode

Aug. 3, 2018

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Aug. 3, 2018
Editor's Note: Nematodes cause average losses of ~ US$ 200 per hectare in crops in Brazil (average of soybean, cotton, sugarcane and coffee). In 2015, the Brazilian Nematological Society estimated the country's economic losses caused by nematodes at $10 billion per year, making  this group of pests accountable for the largest economic loss (even greater than that caused by soybean rust). The intensive use of the soil, the lack of crop rotation and the use of varieties without resistance are decisive factors responsible for the proliferation of these worms that attack the plant roots and affect the water and nutrient absorption.

Accordingly, AgroPages recently invited three key players in this field: Syngenta, Bayer CropScience and ADAMA to share their insights on the general situation of nematodes in Latin America, major impact factors, emerging problems, as well as integrated management solutions etc.

Q1. Could you please describe the general situation of nematodes in Latin America and major impact factors? Could you also share the overview of nematicides registration and use in Latin America? What are the key factors that drive the growth of nematicides?

Syngenta: Nematodes are present in the agriculture of Latin America (similar to other important agricultural regions) and have become an important group of pests, causing losses estimated to be 10-15% of global production.

They attack annual (soybean, corn, cotton, dry-beans, vegetables, etc.) and perennial crops (sugarcane, coffee, bananas, citrus, etc.) in South America, Central America and Mexico.

In 2015, the Brazilian Nematological Society estimated country economic losses caused by nematodes at $10 billion per year, making this group of pests accountable for the largest economic loss (even greater than that caused by soybean rust).

The management of nematodes requires the use of integrated tools such as genetic crop resistance, crop rotations (the use of non-host crops), chemical nematicides and biological nematicides (As shown in Figure 1).

In terms of chemical nematicides,the main molecules registered in Latin America are abamectin, cadusafos, carbofuran, fenamifos, fluensulfone and fluopyram.

The big impact on the yield of  crops, the intensification of agriculture (nematodes in the agricultural environment are obligate parasites), the limited availability of genetic resistance and the continuous regulatory restrictions to old molecules (such as carbofuran) are the main drivers of the growth of nematicides in Latin America and other regions.

Bayer Crop Science: Nematodes are present all over Latin America. They have great economic importance in export-oriented crops such as bananas, tomatoes and pineapples. However, many other crops (e.g. potatoes, cucurbits, sugarcane, coffee) are seriously affected by nematodes. Typically, average yields are reduced by 10 to 20%, with the risk of much more damage and up to total loss if the situation is very severe. The main impact factors are the lack of relevant crop rotation (rotation of crops that reduces the population of the problematic species), tropical climate, lack of availability/use of resistant/tolerant varieties and the overall lack of awareness/knowledge of the local problem and how to manage it. Damage caused by nematodes is often underestimated mainly because they are hidden pests, they cannot be seen with the naked eye, they live below the surface and their above-ground symptoms are often attributed to another cause (e.g. lack of water, malnutrition, water lodging, soil compaction, herbicide damage).

In general, the nematicides used in Latin America were introduced to the market between 1960-80, so they are over 40 years old. The highlight is Verango®, Bayer’s new nematicide launched in 2014. The old products for nematode control are used at high dose rates and are very difficult to use under the new societal and market requirements, due to their environmental and safety profile that needs to be used under instructions.

The best identification of a hidden pest (nematodes) is very often confused with other problems. Another important aspect is the introduction of products with better safety and environmental profile; this will support a more safe use, following all the new agrochemicals standards.

ADAMA: Plant-parasitic nematodes, also known as roundworms, are among the most problematic pests for growers, severely impacting crop development and yield, and responsible for an estimated $80-125 billion of annual plant losses globally. Latin America is equally affected by these destructive creatures, with Brazil alone suffering estimated annual yield losses of more than $10 billion country-wide in crops such as soybean, sugarcane, cotton, coffee, tree fruits andvegetables.

Tiny, numerous nematodes live in the soil and with the average length of 1mm it is not possible to see them with the human eye. Although some species create visible symptoms such as knots and galls on the roots, they often act invisibly
within the roots and cannot be seen even after pulling the plant out of the ground; however, they interfere with the plant’s ability to extract water and nutrients, weaken them, make them more susceptible to disease, affect the external appearance and quality of harvested crops, and ultimately reduce crop yields. Some nematodes are considered quarantine pests, which leads to the produce being banned for export.

The demand for nematicides is high and is expected to rise, due to factors such as grown area expansion, closer rotation of sensitive crops, increased awareness of nematodes and their damage, more convenient solutions, and finally, the need for higher yields and better food quality.

Q2. What products/integrated solutions against nematodes have been launched by your company in Latin America and the global market?

Syngenta: Syngenta has been the pioneer of nematode control in seed treatment, with the launch of AvictaTM (abamectin) in the USA and other countries in the last decade. In case of Latin America, AvictaTM?was first launched in Brazil for cotton growers (in 2008) and for soybean and corn growers (in 2010).

Syngenta has increased its investments and focus in this area of research in the last decade. These actions allowed the launch of Clariva™, a biological solution based on a bacteria for soybean and sugar beet growers in the USA and Canada.

This novel biological technology will be also available in 2018 for soybean growers in Brazil. Clariva™ controls soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines), regarded as the nematode species with the biggest yield impact on soybean in Brazil, Paraguay, and the USA.

With that, Syngenta is enlarging its offer to growers for managing the nematodes populations: resistant varieties, Avicta™ (the chemical nematicide) and Clariva™ (the biological nematicide).

Bayer Crop Science: Verango® is the long-awaited solution for efficacious nematode control. Verango® brings a much safer and better environmental profile for sustainable agriculture, a new standard in efficacy with very low application rates (50 to 20 times less than the standard products) and is widely trade-enabled. It protects crops' roots early on and secures yield and processing quality features. Verango® has flexible application techniques.

Verango® was launched successfully on many fruit and vegetable crops such as bananas, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes etc. Verango® is the lowest toxicological classification chemical- in its class for the protection of the root, it is a suspension concentrate formulation (fluopyram).

ADAMA: Aware of the need for new solutions to combat nematodes, ADAMA took steps to introduce a solution that was much safer and easier to use than previous solutions. ADAMA introduced its revolutionary NIMITZ®  nematicide based on the novel chemistry Fluensulfone, after extensive trials that started in 2007. In Latin America, NIMITZ® is already available in Mexico, Chile, Panama, Dominican Republic and Brazil, and with ongoing registration processes occurring in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Another ADAMA product based on the same active ingredient is LEGADO for sugarcane and citrus, which has already been registered in Brazil in the near future.

This advanced platform based on Fluensulfone brings a simple and powerful solution to farmers that has 100X less toxicity than any other nematicide in the market. It offers a highly effective and simple-to-use solution for farmers for the control of nematodes. NIMITZ® is changing the way growers manage nematode populations, since unlike older nematicides, it is simply sprayed onto the ground or applied through drip irrigation equipment, so there is no need for specialist application equipment, rigorous safety equipment, or restrictive crop or harvest intervals. Nimitz acts quickly, without harming beneficial organisms in the soil, such as free-living or beneficial nematodes. This is in stark contrast to organophosphate and carbamate-based solutions, which simply paralyze the nematodes, allowing them to recover once the nematicide is washed away by water movement.

True to ADAMA’s mission to create simplicity in agriculture and to continually bring additional value to growers, the company is bringing to the market nematicides that are simple to use, and highly effective.

Q3. What are the latest issues and challenges with regard to nematode control in Latin America and corresponding/potential solutions?

Syngenta: There are “new emerging species” of genus Rotylenchulus (cotton, soybean), Helicotylenchus (soybean, corn) and Aphelenchoides (soybean) that are a growing cause of concern, as they might become new agricultural problems.

However, the growing frequency of nematodes in the samples of roots and the soil of species of “more traditional genus” such as Heterodera, Pratylenchus, Meloidogyne, Globodera, Radopholus and their mixed populations on the same agricultural field are really the biggest challenges for agricultural systems.

As a consequence, the use of more integrated tools (as the genetic resistance won´t be able to cope with all the nematode species at the same time) will be critical for nematode population management.

It will require the development and launch of superior chemical and biological solutions, both integrated to genetic resistance and crop rotations.

These have been and will remain the commitment of Syngenta in the nematodes arena.

Bayer Crop Science: The challenge is how to increase productivity in a sustainable way. This means growing production with the use of less and lower toxicological products. In the past, nematicides were responsible for a large part of the chemicals used in some crops. This had its influence on applicators and our environment. With Verango®, we made a quantum leap in terms of reduction in the amount of active ingredients and a much better toxicological profile. We expect that new products from Bayer and other players in the market will also help move this market towards better and safer control of nematodes.

ADAMA: There have been several challenges in the fight against nematodes; on the one hand because they lurk invisibly in the soil, growers are not always aware of their connection to crop damage and to other biotic/abiotic stresses. On the other hand, the number of nematicides available in the market has dropped considerably, since many of the older nematicides have been banned due to their environmental effects.

If you are also the player in the field of nematicides and would like to join the above topic discussion/promote your products worldwide(including but not limited to Latin America region), pls contact us via:

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