DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Bayer has announced it will not sell its seed treatment known as NemaStrike for the 2020 growing season, citing ongoing safety concerns with the nematicide.
The company says the product, which is designed to protect crops against nematodes, has caused skin irritations with some individuals who have handled the product. Acceleron NemaStrike ST was commercially available as a premium seed treatment on corn, cotton and soybean in 2019.
This is the second time that NemaStrike has been sidelined. In 2018, the broad-spectrum nematicide was halted after some workers involved in the manufacturing process experienced rashes when their skin came into contact with the product, Bayer told DTN in interviews last fall. The company told DTN at that time that NemaStrike would be sold with strong messaging to wear chemical-resistant gloves, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and socks and shoes while handling, as part of a larger stewardship and safety initiative.
Tioxazafen, the active ingredient in NemaStrike Technology, represents a new class of nematicides that is reported to affect the worm's mitochondria, which is the energy factory of cells.
Bayer divested some products from their portfolio to BASF as part of the remedy process to retain NemaStrike when purchasing Monsanto.
"Bayer was obligated to make certain divestments in order to obtain regulatory approval of its acquisition of Monsanto Company," said a Bayer spokesperson. "These divestments are determined primarily by regulatory agencies' judgement concerning the steps necessary to preserve competition in relevant markets. That said, Bayer believes in the potential grower value of NemaStrike Technology."
Bayer provided the following statement to DTN, but did not indicate what the future was for the nematicide:
"After a careful assessment of the applicator and grower experience in 2019, Bayer has made the decision that NemaStrike Technology will not be offered broadly in 2020 for corn, cotton or soybeans. While the vast majority of applicators and grower customers had a positive experience with NemaStrike Technology this year, a limited number of individuals experienced skin irritations after handling Acceleron(R) NemaStrike ST or seed treated with the product. While this was a small number relative to the total number of users, we strive to ensure a positive user experience for all our customers and therefore decided to take this action.
"We will provide additional information to our customers in the coming weeks, including which alternative products will be available for the 2020 planting season. NemaStrike Technology has demonstrated consistent yield protection performance of 5+ bu/acre in corn, 2+ bu/acre in soybean, and 80 lbs. lint/acre in cotton on average in the U.S. over five years of field trials. This technology offers significant value to growers, and we are committed to evaluating options to improve the user experience."
Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.firstname.lastname@example.org
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