21 March 1997

Move into biotech

LATEST company to join the biotech bandwagon is DowElanco, following its acquisition of a major shareholding in US firm Mycogen.

DowElanco already had substantial interests in conventional maize and soya breeding in the US and France, says UK manager Everett Germon. Last year that was supplemented by the Mycogen deal, giving access to the Bacilus thuringiensis (Bt) gene for insect resistance.

Combined with DowElancos existing chemical insecticides that could make for powerful integrated anti-pest programmes, Mr Germon suggests. The company already holds more patents for insect resistant crops than any other, he claims.

However, modified lines for the UK market are unlikely for at least 10 years. Indeed, Mr Germon sees biotechnology as being far more significant for the output, rather than input, side of farming. "The ability to modify food quality offers far more scope for improving profitability than replacing some relatively low cost crop inputs," he notes.

&#8226 Quinoxyfen is the latest cereal mildewicide to hit the UK market, with trial amounts expected this season. Prolonged protectant activity and good systemic movement are the key claims.

It is available as a straight product under the Fortress brand name from manufacturer DowElanco or in a formulated mix with fenpropimorph as Griffin from Dalgety.

The fungicide is rainfast in one hour and redistributes itself around the plant to provide lasting protection. A new mode of action minimises the risk of resistance developing, adds DowElanco.