New growth regulator offers yield protection for cereal growers


Crops that lodge due to high moisture or severe wind conditions may suffer lower yields due to poor grain fill or even lost grain. Lodged crops may also be more susceptible to disease infection, which impacts quality.

Late last year, Syngenta received the all-clear for a new plant growth regulator (PGR) called Moddus, that helps strengthen stems to reduce lodging risk.

Moddus contains trinexapac-ethyl, a proven active ingredient for managing cereal crop lodging. The product works by redirecting the plant’s production of gibberellic acid, a hormone responsible for growth, to reduce cell elongation, which results in shorter, thicker stems and improved standability overall.

“Moddus has been around for decades, globally, in other countries in use on various cereal production acres,” says Randy Retzlaff, technical lead for fungicides at Syngenta. “We’re so happy to have it in Canada now starting in 2021.”

Moddus is registered for use on all classes of cereals including spring wheat, winter wheat, durum, barley, and oats, adds Retzlaff.

Syngenta has performed small-plot trials and applied product on full fields to compare a Moddus-treated acre and non-treated acre. On average, in spring wheat, Retzlaff says the results were 3.5 bushels per acre of yield preservation, six bushels per acre in winter wheat, and three to five bushels on oats and barley.

RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin and Randy Retzlaff discuss where Moddus fits on the farm. Story continues below interview

“Moddus doesn’t increase the yield of a cereal plant, it just protects the investment the producer has already put into play, in the instances of lodging,” says Retzlaff.

The new product also has a wide and flexible application window and is deemed very crop safe. It can be applied at the start of stem elongation (BBCH 30) up to flag leaf staging (BBCH 39).

Moddus has been approved for use on crops bound for export markets. End market access is a concern of course and in conjunction with the PMRA registration, Syngenta is in communication with Cereals Canada, to ensure that Moddus is appropriate for application on crops destined for export.

Retzlaff says that the product is ideal for farmers in high yielding areas with good moisture, who may be pushing nitrogen applications and reaching for those higher yields, for farmers who want to grow a variety that is prone to lodging, or for those who want better harvest efficiency.

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