Publication •  6/13/2019

How Corteva Spares Beneficial Insects

Written By Anne Alix

When using a treated seed, farmers expect a range of benefits such as the ease of handling and use, seedling protection and vigor, prevention from disease transmission, seed-borne diseases, vector-borne diseases, the predation of seed and seedling, and also the facilitation of early planting, and the yield benefits associated with the provided protection above mentioned. In addition, with negligible exposure to beneficial insects and pollinators, treated seeds enters in a number of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies for diseases and pests.

The development of a seed treatment shows the successful combination of an application technique responding to precision agriculture criteria, with a molecule selected for chemical, toxicological and environmental properties that allow an optimized efficacy on targets while meeting the high standards of safety to humans (users and consumers) and the environment.

Indeed, seed treatments, in applying the formulation on the seed itself, are a way to apply the product precisely where it is needed. Exposure of non-target organisms is mostly limited to the contact to the seeds themselves and their immediate (millimeters) surroundings, where the product residues (active substance or degradation products) are more likely to be present. As the plant grows, only phytophagous insects that feed off the plant may be exposed to pesticide residues, which confers the so-called selectivity of the treatment towards the pests, sparing the insects that do not feed off the plant. This makes of seed treatments a useful partner in IPM alongside beneficial insects being used on later stages of the plant growth. For each use of a product, a complete risk assessment is performed that evaluates the exposure of humans, non-target organisms and beneficial insects. For seeds applied with pneumatic drillers, an additional risk assessment ensures that a high-quality dressing or coating is achieved so that the risks related to an exposure to seed dust at drilling meet all safety criteria.

Corteva has developed a range of seed treatments that gather the properties to be effective and safe to human health and to the environment. The two anthranilic diamide insecticides, Lumiposa and Lumivia, which are effective on root flies and beetles, and Lumisena, an oxysterol-binding protein fungicide against all races of downy mildew (Plasmopara halstedii), gather these selectivity properties giving them an environmental footprint compatible with the achievement of high safety standards and with their use in IPM programs.