Sometimes innovation feels as if it came about just for the sake of innovation. You know, like the difference between DVD and Blu-ray. Really, what’s the point?
Bayer CropScience is not in the business of innovation for innovation’s sake. “We feel that Bayer is giving potato growers the best platform to maximize his investment in his crop,” says Nevada Smith, fungicide product manager at Bayer CropScience. “What we’re trying to do is bring innovation—and not just innovation for the concept of innovation, but innovation for value. We try to bring safer tools for safer work environments and overall quality.”
Smith says that Bayer’s primary goal is to build a scientific platform of its tools to give growers the best opportunity at good return on the significant investment they make. That ???? is what drives the company to create products like its Luna and Serenade platforms. Bayer has recently filed a global patent on its Serenade Soil fungicide, which directly attacks diseases in the soil including Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and some strains of Phytophthora. Serenade Soil also promotes stress resistance and growth, and it activates the plant’s natural defenses by priming systemic responses in the plant.
“Serenade Soil provides a better utilization of phosphorous, potassium and iron, meaning that those nutrients in the soil profile for the potato are being able to be absorbed more because you have Serenade Soil on that crop,” says Smith.
Smith points out, though, that Serenade Soil is primarily a fungicide that provides an “armor” system around a plant’s roots to give it the best chance to be protected from disease. Secondary to that is the plant health effect the product brings with it. “I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve seen growers have greener, thicker plants because they’ve used Serenade Soil,” says Smith. “The bottom line is that when you use Serenade Soil, you get more No. 1s, and that’s kind of what we build our platform on.”
Another of Bayer’s top products is Luna Tranquility, a fungicide that protects potatoes from white mold, black dot, Botrytis leaf spot and early blight. “Luna is great for in-furrow application against white mold, and we have a great late-season white mold tool in Serenade,” Smith says. “So it’s a great full-season program offering that offers growers the most value, the most connections, the most innovation.”
Smith stresses that each growing area needs to have its own unique spray cycle and program. He adds that Bayer is working year-round not only to come up with new products but to learn more about its current products and their capabilities.
“Another thing we also want to focus on in 2014 is the diseases we’re bringing control or suppression to, such as silver scurf,” Smith says. “We’re really trying to provide a scientific platform of our tools to giving the growers the best opportunity at return on their investment and I think that proof is in the data.”