Climate change is causing more frequent environment changes, leading to an increased demand of products that are better adapted to that. Pests and diseases that before were not particularly important to farmers are now becoming a real problem. In addition, crops are suffering more from abiotic stresses, with more extreme swings in temperature, drought, and excess precipitation. Hence the need for better seed applied technologies (SAT’s) that are giving plants a competitive advantage.
European Seed (ES): Andre, which are the major benefits of the Corteva SAT portfolio?
Andre Negreiros (AN): Most of our portfolio is composed by new active ingredients that are more suitable to the new regulatory demand. Products with lower usage rates, lower environment impact, very safe to farmers, to seed treatment operators and to beneficials (microorganisms or non-target insects). Besides that, our company is investing massively on bringing biological offers to be able to assist our customers in all their needs.
ES: Is disease pressure increasing with climate change?
AN: The general demand of products more adapted to the current environment changes is increasing. We can see a big shift of pests and diseases that before were not very important to farmers, and now are requiring some different solution. Besides, farmers are also having a harder time managing crops that are suffering more with abiotic stresses. Every year, they are facing situations as colder springs in some areas, relevant drought, or excess of rain in other areas. The company that will be able to offer something here to help crops and therefore farmers will definitely be recognised among the others.
ES: How is the portfolio contributing to sustainability?
AN: In 2020 our company implemented over 5 million hectares of hybrid crops with their brand-new growth nutrition seed treatment LUMIDAPT TM. A new type of organic mineral fertilizer engineered to enhance plant’s metabolic activity, physiology, and stress durability in a proactive manner. The solution brings plenty of benefits for the crop establishment with visible early stage effects on germination, plant root development and young plant’s strength/height, all leading to potential higher yields. In several fields affected by unusual very cold spring (early frost), this season, it was easier to observe plants treated with our product as it was germinating faster and recovering quicker from the stress versus untreated plants. Our goal for 2021 is to reach over 10 million hectares with this solution and bring to the market a new standard for hybrid crop establishment.
ES: In which way would the portfolio contribute to more food per hectare?
AN: In general, seed treatment is protecting every single seed since their early stages of germination. It helps the farmers to protect the whole crop potential. First, they won’t need a very common extra investment to increase seeds population per hectare in order to mitigate potential loses of affected seeds. Second, they will save on several inputs (potentially fertilizers, replanting activities, etc.) for areas that are beaten by pests, diseases, or abiotic stresses. And at last, they will avoid higher applications with foliar crop protection usage once the pests/diseases are already under control since very early stages. Trials with our different SAT products have shown a clear benefit on the use of those technologies. The average yield gain easily reaches more than 10% in challenging areas for several hybrid crops.
ES: Is your company explaining the benefits also to the general audience?
AN: One of the key goals of our company today is to start having an open dialogue with all stakeholders trying to make sure that the general audience is aware of this reality, but more than that, feel welcome to contribute and participate with us on this journey. We have developed a clear goal with our company’s Sustainability initiatives, which is a set of 14 ambitious targets that lead us in a consistent direction working on our plan to continue to enrich lives together through sustainability. Several of the targets that we have with our seed treatment initiatives go towards these goals as a company and, together with our partners, we transform that into actions and commitments. Our approach is to build on best practices and global sustainable frameworks that will help us give visibility for the cause, learn every day and start to make this part of our ways of work – we’re in it for good: for sustainability. For more info please check: https://www.corteva.com/sustainability.html