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New seed treatment in a different class

A new mode of action could help confound several pests in eastern Canadian corn

Corn growers across Eastern Canada looking for help against early-season insect pests such as wireworms, black cutworms and armyworms will likely have a new option for the 2017 growing season. The timing may be ideal, considering the frustration over new regulations governing the use of neonicotinoid-based seed treatments, which will further tighten for the coming growing season.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency finalized the registration for Lumivia this past June. It’s a new non-Class 12 seed treatment, marketed by DuPont Crop Protection and accompanied by high expectations for protection against early-season insect pests.

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Lumivia is a first for Canada, featuring the active ingredient chlorantraniliprole (Rynaxypyr), a Group 28 anthranilic diamide insecticide. Lumivia offers protection from wireworms and suppression of seed corn maggot, in addition to control of black cutworms and armyworms. DuPont is also hoping to add grubs (both European chafer and June and Japanese beetle) to the label within the next year.

(Note PMRA standards say an insecticide must reduce a pest population by 80 per cent or more in order to claim control.)

How Lumivia works

Chlorantraniliprole acts on insect muscle fibres (specifically, on the ryanodine receptors in those fibres) causing depletion of calcium ions. That depletion prevents contraction of the muscle fibres, leading to paralysis that in turn stops the insects from feeding, which eventually becomes the cause of death.

Based on research into its protective capability, Lumivia has been determined to translocate from the treated seed and into the roots to above-ground parts of the plant, from germination through to the V5 stage of crop development. The highest concentrations are found in the seed and mesocotyl, than the seminal roots and the radical, and higher accumulations are also found at the margin and apex of the leaves.

Researchers and co-operators have been testing Lumivia and the company says they have reported excellent broad-spectrum pest protection and efficacy against key pests that can affect corn, and very good early-season vigour.

“We’ve been talking with those folks and have had them out in the field, and they’re pleased to see a new seed treatment with a new mode of action,” says Kristin Hacault, seed treatment sales and marketing leader for Canada at DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer. “We’ve seen really positive results from growers and industry personnel.”

The other benefit to Lumivia is it has a minimal impact on beneficial insects or pollinators when applied according to label directions and in keeping with best management practices (BMPs) for seed treatment stewardship. It also boasts a very high rating for seed safety.

Lumivia has been in the development and registration pipeline for about seven years. The anthranilic diamides were first developed predominantly for use as foliar insecticides in 2006. At the time, they were heralded as an important discovery, necessary to stem the development of insect resistance.

“The formulation that we’re using as a seed treatment is very specific, and the target pests on which Lumivia is active have not really been exposed to this chemistry in the past,” says Hacault. She adds there is much less of a concern regarding resistance at this point. “However, we would still recommend that growers follow proper integrated pest management (IPM) practices and product stewardship to stem any development of resistance, regardless of the product they’re using.”

It’s also not intended to be used as a stand-alone. Instead, it is to be mixed with a fungicide treatment to give protection against seed and soil-borne pathogens as well as insects.

Non-farming concerns

Some industry stakeholders have raised concerns that the registration and marketing of non-Class 12 chemistries may be misinterpreted by those outside of farming. One suggestion in particular referred to the “coincidental” registration of such seed treatments at roughly the same time as the restrictions on neonic-based seed treatments.

The concern is that agriculture is sending the wrong signal, implying the industry had options to neonics in their pockets all along, and only moved them along when the neonic controversy erupted.

Hacault says nothing could be further from the truth, largely because of the time required, not just for registering a new insecticide or herbicide, but in the near-10-year period needed to develop any active ingredient.

“Because product development is such a lengthy process, we started developing this active as a seed treatment long before things (relating to neonic seed treatments) were going on in Ontario,” she says. “The intent was to always bring Lumivia to the marketplace as a seed treatment. It’s been a seed treatment in the U.S. for a couple of years so it’s relatively new. But the bottom line is that we can’t sell and commercialize a product until we have the registration, and that’s happened this year.”

Hacault says Lumivia will be available as a seed treatment for 2017 for use in combination with fungicides. It’s recommended growers check with their dealers regarding availability of the seed treatment and fungicides they can use for next year’s growing season.

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CG Production Editor

Ralph Pearce

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