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Excellence on display among winners of Crop Science Awards

05 November 2021 Sanjiv Rana

The 14th instalment of the annual event, held online on November 3rd, saw a wide variety of companies from across the globe participate in a live webcast to celebrate the achievements of industry peers.

Competition was intense across most categories. In eight categories, in addition to winners, high commendations were given to certain applications. Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta ended the evening with two awards each.

Bayer's Crop Science division won the Best R&D Pipeline award on the strength of its pipeline spread across seeds and traits, crop protection and digital agriculture. In 2020, the winning company advanced eight new crop protection active ingredients, with about ten ais in the current pipeline.

But the Best New Crop Protection Product or Trait award went to Corteva for its "naturally-derived fungicide", Inatreq (trade-mark name of fenpicoxamid). It is the first member of a new class of fungicides providing the first new target site of action in wheat and bananas in 15 years.

The award for Best New Biological Product (Biopesticide) went to US company Vestaron Corporation's bioinsecticide, SPEAR - Lep, which is the first novel neuromuscular mode of action on the market since 2007. A high commendation was also given to French company Agrauxine by Lesaffre's Romeo SC, a micro-organism-based product registered for Asian soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) in Brazil.

Syngenta subsidiary Valagro took the award for Best New Biological Product (Biostimulants) for Talete, which helps improve water use efficiency. The product acts on the plant physiology, helping crops increase crop water production. A high commendation to the yeast-based microbial soil amendment, Pantego, from Locus Agricultural Solutions.

Brazilian company Biotrop won the award for Best Formulation Innovation. Its entry was a biological product based on the biosynthesis and stabilisation of indoleacetic acid (IAA) for agricultural application. Within the company's formulation, IAA is obtained through biological pathways. This eliminates the need for synthetic sources, making it an "ecofriendly" technology. A high commendation was also given to Russian company Schelkovo Agrohim for its seed treatment technology using a microemulsion formulation based on nanoparticles.

FMC took the award for Best Innovation in Digital Farming Technology for its Arc Farm Intelligence Platform. The company claims Arc to be the first mobile solution to predict weekly pest pressures with up to 90% accuracy.

The award for Best Precision Application Technology Innovation went to Canadian company Bee Vectoring Technology. The company's entry involved a system that uses commercial bees to deliver crop protection products, bypassing the issues inherent to conventional application methods.

The award for Best Industry Collaboration went to a partnership between UPL and Agbitech. The partnership between the two companies and African research groups in five countries involved testing, scaling and distributing the Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus-based bioinsecticide, Fawligen, to combat fall armyworms (S frugiperda). A high commendation was given to a deal between Genective and AgBiome to accelerate discovery and commercialisation of Lepidopteran and Coleopteran control traits with unique modes of action.

Corteva also won the award for Best Public Outreach Programme for its work in setting up the Ag Women Leadership Academy (AWLA) in collaboration with the Brazilian Association of Agribusiness (ABAG). The aim of the initiative is to support and encourage the advancement of women in agribusiness. It seeks to help participants with learning, collaborating and advocating for agricultural technologies, including crop genetics and crop protection. A high commendation was given to CropLife Canada for its "Nature Nurtured" campaign, which sought to enhance public perception of the benefits and safety of genetically modified plants.

Syngenta's other win was in the Best Marketing Programme category. The company's entry involved a "global effort" to pioneer a digital only approach to product introductions. The company implemented this approach for the registrations of its insecticide, Elestal Neo (spiropidion), in Paraguay and Guatemala. The campaign based on "deep insights" into grower behaviour led to "record" engagement levels. A high commendation was given to UPL - Argentina for its programme to highlight the company's activities and its OpenAg purpose.

Bayer received its second win in the Best Stewardship Programme category. Its entry comprised a multi-stakeholder platform spreading the message of safe use of pesticides to millions of farmers and to society. The programme's core is the collaboration with universities to train students as "ambassadors" on safe use. High commendation was given to two other companies within this category - FMC and UPL, for their programmes run in India and south Asia, respectively.

Indian company Coromandel International won the award for Best Company from an Emerging Region. The win came on the back of the company's efforts in expanding the global footprint of its portfolio of chemical pesticides as well as biopesticides. Its business exhibited resilience across markets and segments despite Covid-19 challenges. Brazilian company Biotrop received a high commendation in the category.

We received a number of excellent applications for the much-respected Lifetime Achievement award. In a break from tradition, we conferred the award on two worthy individuals rather than a single winner.

FMC nominated Maria de Lourdes Setten Fustaino for her outstanding 40-year career in the agrochemical industry. She began her career at FMC in 1982 where she served in many roles, including as the R&D director for the Latin America region. Ms Fustiano has been a proponent of educating the public and agricultural community across the region. This devotion to education led to her recognition by the National Association of Plant Protection (ANDEF) in Brazil with the Phytosanitary Merit Award.

ADAMA recommended Shaul Friedland in recognition of his distinguished career that spanned over four decades in the company. Mr Friedland's influence on the agricultural industry and growers around the world manifests in his exceptional and unique contribution to the formation of ADAMA as the leading off-patent crop protection company. He inspired and mentored generations of ADAMA employees around the world to passionately address farmer needs.

Posted 05 November 2021 by Sanjiv Rana, Editor-in-Chief (Crop Science Market Reporting), S&P Global Commodity Insights



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