Helm Agro, ISK Collaborate on New Herbicides

Published online: May 21, 2020 Herbicide, New Products
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Helm Agro US, Inc., a global manufacturer of high-quality crop protection and fertilizer products, and Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, Ltd. (ISK) have entered into a long-term collaboration for the commercial development of three novel crop protection herbicides.

Under the initiative, Helm will partner with ISK Biosciences Corporation (ISKBC) in the commercial development of the new market offerings beginning in 2020.

“Both companies are excited about the far-reaching potential of these new-generation products,” says Dave Schumacher, president of Helm Agro US. “Our strategic alignment with ISK is a significant milestone for us, and one that will enhance our commercial activities and ability to deliver greater value to the market.”

“For ISK Biosciences, this is truly a great opportunity to continue offering solutions to American growers,” says Naoto Tani, senior vice president of ISK Biosciences Corporation. “As a company focused in research and development, we are highly committed to continued innovation with integrity. We are excited as a company to be trusted in bringing new products to the U.S. market.”

The companies plan to launch three new herbicides that target top-of-mind weed control challenges faced by growers across multiple crop segments.

First in the lineup is a new PPO inhibitor herbicide developed from a new ISK molecule for rapid and effective pre-plant burndown of broadleaf and grass weeds. A novel active ingredient for the corn, cotton and soybean markets, this new technology receives high performance ratings in controlling a broad spectrum of weeds across a wide variety of crops and geographies, including ALS, triazine and glyphosate-resistant species.

Additional characteristics include an ultra-low use rate, broad tank-mix compatibility and expanded use as a desiccant for cotton.Classified as a Group 14 herbicide, the product will be formulated as a suspension concentrate with EPA registration expected in 2020.

Second on the list is a non-selective burndown herbicide for specialty crops featuring a new active ingredient from the ISK development pipeline. Grapes will be the first high-value crop to garner access to the technology for broad-spectrum control of grass and broadleaf weeds, including many resistant to other herbicide classes. 

EPA and state registrations for this new herbicide are anticipated for later this year. Further registrations for citrus, pulse crops and tree nuts are expected in 2022. To accommodate grower preference, the product will be developed in a water-dispersible granular (WDG) formulation.

The third upcoming product is a co-formulation of the active ingredients tolpyralate and nicosulfuron for selective postemergence broadleaf and grass control in field corn and seed corn. Product highlights include a low use rate, superior crop safety features and a wide application window. 

“The industry is on the brink of a new era of innovation,” says Schumacher. “We believe these three products will significantly work in growers’ favor to overcome many of today’s most serious weed control challenges.”

With a new strategy in place, Schumacher says Helm is on course for rapid growth over the next several years.

“Combining ISK’s research strengths with HELM’s product development and marketing expertise is an incredibly strong formula for success,” he says. “Helm is transforming itself to be laser-focused on the customer while sharpening its portfolio with cutting-edge technologies that improve on-farm productivity and profitability. We’re excited about the future and our plans for customer success in the adoption of this new technology.”