BASF to switch core seed treatment after determining “myriad of factors” caused InVigor canola establishment issues

BASF is switching the main seed treatment package on its InVigor canola varieties for 2023, after determining “many, many factors” led to certain canola fields getting off to a noticeably sluggish start in 2022.

The company, which has long held the largest market share in canola seed in Canada, published a statement in late June acknowledging an issue with slow establishment — that some fields planted with certain InVigor hybrids appeared to stall in their development after emerging from the ground.

The issue, which BASF says was limited to a very small portion of overall InVigor canola acres across Western Canada, coincided with the launch of a new seed treatment, called Vercoras, on a portion of InVigor seed.

“What we know is that many, many different environmental conditions have come into play this year. And as the team continues to collate and analyze the data, one of the things that we believe will give us the best opportunity in 2023 will be to adjust our core seed treatment package,” says Brent Collins, head of seeds and traits for BASF in Canada, in the interview below.

BASF plans to introduce Helix Vibrance — made by Syngenta — as the core seed treatment package for InVigor varieties in 2023, says Collins. The company will also launch Bayer’s Buteo Start as an insecticide option on InVigor varieties in 2023, while continuing to also offer seed treated with Corteva’s Lumiderm insecticide.

As for Vercoras, Collins says they’re moving away from the new seed treatment “out of an abundance of caution,” noting it’s too early to say if it will still have a place in the Canadian market moving forward.

“We’re not in a position to say that yet,” he says. “We’re continuing to evaluate the results from the field. And our hope is that we will be able to optimize and and pinpoint further insights into what those interactions were that we saw on the field in 2022.”

Given the lengthy process for bringing a seed treatment such as Vercoras to market, he says what happened in select fields this spring was “unanticipated and unusual and it certainly defied what we learned through the development of our new seed treatment, as well as the launch of our new InVigor hybrids.”

Collins says the company is working with farms that have reported the issue on their fields. “We’re working with each one of those growers to ensure that we arrive at an amicable position based on our product assurance policies. Absolutely, it’s priority number one that we work closely with our growers, because we want them to continue to be very satisfied with with the performance of Invigor.”

Listen to BASF’s Brent Collins discuss what the company has learned while investigating the canola establishment challenges seen this spring, future seed treatment plans, the potential impact of this issue on the InVigor brand, and more (this interview originally aired on the August 31 edition of RealAg Radio):

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