INSIDERSSeed Applied TechnologiesNew Opportunities for Corn Farmers in Italy

New Opportunities for Corn Farmers in Italy

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Italian corn growers should have a professional approach to the crop because the cost of the land, the limited size of the fields and the high input costs makes the cropping expensive. Only a top yield performance can cover the cost and drive proper margins to the corn growers.

In consideration of this, farmers are always looking for innovative and performing solutions to overcome the possible seasonal challenges. Wireworm and cutworm are pests that can reduce corn profitability by impacting the crop final stand count in a wide range of growing phases. As we know, the stand count can have a significant impact on yield performance, mainly if we use the modern hybrids that are able to hit the top yield with the right planting rate. Based on that, it is crucial for farmers the preserve the plant population during early crop stages. Unfortunately, first wireworm and later cutworm can have an important impact on plant losses from planting till the V4-V5 leaf stages.

Currently, farmers can use insecticides that are specific for both pests. Usually, the damage distribution is strongly related to crop rotation, and the damage among the field is not consistent and predictable.

For wireworm, over the years the best consolidated control practice has been seed treatment, where the active ingredient is exactly positioned close to the seed and the seedling. This is an added value to reduce the damages with as low environmental impact as possible.

The best results have been obtained with systemic active ingredients, like products from the neonics family. Over the years this family of active ingredients has been retired due to non-target environmental effects, and the current products on the market look poor and are not able to provide the right level of protection requested by farmers.

For cutworm, the best protection practice used by farmers involves field monitoring to organize insecticide spray applications as soon as the problem is detected. Of course, the intensity of scouting in a sensible growing phase improves the possibility to apply the product at the right time and this can minimize the problem.

In this scenario, our product Lumiposa will provide an important innovation offer in advance protection, able to solve two main problems of the farmers with one solution. Our product is a systemic active ingredient, so the product will stay in the seedling longer than a non-systemic common insecticide. Thanks to this mode of action, the protection will be extended versus conventional insecticides. Lumiposa can protect corn in early stages against wireworm and, later in the season protect corn against cutworm. These Lepidoptera species usually eat seedlings at the bottom part, close to the soil surface, so only a systemic product that is present in the plant tissue, can be effective to control the larvae as soon as they eat the tissue. And farmers are very excited to use this technology, also because it is more environmentally friendly than solutions used in the past.

For Lumiposa, the 2021 season is a kickoff campaign, and we had a special commercialization permit to sell this innovative insecticide in the Italian market. Officials recognized the lack of innovative solutions that are able to support corn growers, so they allowed the special authorization.

Just to have an idea about the interest in this innovation: in 2021 more the 60% of the total seed volume has been requested with LumiGEN Premium Plus, the innovative seed treatment, powered by the Lumiposa insecticide.