“Technology is the key to Brazilian cotton production” - Interview with Érick Cancian (Bayer Cotton Crop Protection Manager)
Jun. 19, 2020
By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
Cotton production reached considerable levels this season in Brazil, contributing greatly to the development of crop protection technologies. In this exclusive interview with AgroPages, Érick Cancian (Manager of Cotton Crop Protection at Bayer), revealed how this was possible, as well as what tools and solutions the company is offering to cotton growers, and how they are preparing for the future.
What will determine the outcomes of this Brazilian cotton season?
This year, two major factors affected the recorded crop output, both in Bahia and Mato Grosso, which are the climate and the fact that cotton farmers have adopted more technologies. Even considering the drought issue at the start of the planting season, producers have managed to circumvent possible threats and continue proper management to obtain good harvests.
How important is the correct application of fungicides and insecticides?
In Brazil, we are dealing with a very challenging scenario. We have a climate that favors diseases and illnesses that makes multiplication cycles shorter in relation to other countries, requiring an entire system in terms of management. We should always think about activities as a whole, maintain the correct use of products and activate active ingredients to reduce the resistance of pests and diseases.
Using products correctly is essential to obtaining the best performance from each one and know which is more reliable and profitable. One example is the control of ramularia, one of the most challenging diseases affecting cotton production. Years ago, this problem affected cultivation and small economies, but currently, this disease appears earlier and is considered the main cotton disease in the country, causing a reduction of up to 35% in activity.
Explain how and why the fungicide, Fox®Xpro, is decisive in this type of control?
We highlighted the example of Ramularia, but we also have a solution, which has already had a strong impact on soybean culture and has been gaining relevance in cotton.
Much of the nation’s cotton is produced in the off-season after the soybean harvest, so the disease can remain in the cultural remains of soybean and a source of inoculum for the culture. In order to effectively control this disease, farmers must always think about the entire production system.
With this in mind, Bayer developed the fungicide, Fox® Xpro, with three active ingredients, offering triple action in the cotton disease complex. A carboxamide present in the application of fungicides is an important ally for producers, contributing to other modes of action, whether they are specific locations or multisite.
The product acts in the various stages of a fungus’ life cycle, from inhibiting spore germination to the development and penetration of germ tubes in leaf tissues, in addition to assisting resistance management. Fox® Xpro also has an innovative joint effect with the Leafshield technology, which helps sheets absorb and distribute products more quickly, making spraying more effective.
A difference is that after a few hours, Fox® Xpro achieves better leaf absorption compared to other fungicides on the market, decreasing the likelihood of the product being washed away by rain, also know as “rainfastness.”
With regards to the Boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis), how or does Curbix show differentiation in control?
Curbix® is a product suitable for use during the final stage of cotton cultivation after 100 days of emergence. At this time, a plant has had its production potential practically defined, so management must be intensified, since it is the time when the crop is most exposed to pests.
In terms of efficient management, it is important to have a program to prevent resistance to insecticides. The ideal scenario is to use products with different active ingredients and seek prolonged control. This is where Curbix® fits in perfectly.
Curbix is an insecticide that causes massive shock and prolonged residual effects, or helping without control. It is recommended for use in insecticide resistance programs. In this way, it is possible to reduce the pressure of pest selection, lessen the use of pesticides, and maintain high levels of crop control.
What are the results of the use of biotechnology?
Biotechnology is undoubtedly one of the essential tools for controlling pests and diseases in cotton. Bayer leads in this consolidated market and is popular among cotton growers with cotton varieties that contain the Bollgard II RR Flex ™ technology.
The technology is part of Bayer's strategy for the management of insects in cotton cultures and benefits cotton grower by protecting their crops against damage caused by major caterpillars that affect their harvests, such as Pseudoplusia that includes Alabama argillacea, Pectinophora gossypiella and Heliothis virescens. It also increases protection against species of caterpillars in the Spodoptera and Helicoverpa complexes. Regarding weed control, producers have the flexibility to use glyphosate in their management, since biotechnology is compatible with this herbicide. It is, therefore, a solution that protects and enhances the productivity of cotton farmers. Several cultivars with Bollgard II RR Flex ™ technology are available to farmers, made available by some cotton breeding companies.
How important is the use of digital tools in this culture?
Everything produces data and the ability of digital technology to connect and leverage this information in a flexible way is clear in our daily lives. At Bayer, we are using these technologies to connect and leverage information about our products and operations, with the aim of bringing significant advances to agriculture for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the planet.
Using software tools that integrate data from satellites, field sensors, irrigation systems, drones and other input sources, we are providing farmers with detailed real-time assessments of growing conditions and crop health, to support a sustainable and abundant harvest. An example is Climate FieldView ™, which automatically collects and processes field data in a simple and integrated way, generating maps and reports in real time, all accessible on cell phone, tablet or computer.
Specifically in cotton, a culture with high added value and many technical requirements, this information has helped many cotton farmers to maintain the effectiveness of their operations, such as spraying.
What new technologies and solutions are coming?
Bayer continues to invest in the improvement of its services and high-performance products for cotton, while thinking about new forms of agricultural production that will contribute to producing more crops per hectare with quality, quantity and in a sustainable manner. It is worth mentioning that we are working closely with our farming customers and will continue to provide crop protection, seed and biotechnology tools, services and cutting edge digital tools, to enable farmers to be even more efficient and sustainable in their activities.
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