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Bayer evalutes, rates new fluency agent

Sept. 17, 2013, Calgary, AB - Bayer CropScience says field trial results of its new seed application technology has shown to reduce potential dust exposure to honey bees during a typical planting process, while offering improved handling efficiencies to corn farmers.

The use of lubricants, such as talc and graphite, are a standard recommendation by seed planter manufacturers to reduce friction and improve uniformity. But Bayer says recent scientific publications on this topic have triggered a debate as to the relationship between the already low level of exposure of dust from these planters and potential acute effects on bees. As an alternative, a new Bayer fluency agent – made of a polyethylene wax substrate – was shown to significantly decrease dust and emissions during laboratory testing, including 90 per cent reduction in total dust versus talc, and 60 per cent reduction in total dust versus graphite.

This past spring, Bayer conducted large-scale field studies – covering more than 40,000 acres – throughout North America with growers and in collaboration with major planter manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada. The purpose of these trials was to evaluate the new fluency agent's commercial viability under field conditions.

Bayer says that based on feedback, growers who participated in the trials thought the new fluency agent performed equal to or better than comparable talc or graphite lubricants; was less dusty during application and was easier to avoid dust when checking boxes; and, showed equivalent results at significantly lower use rates than talc when comparing planting uniformity.

Bayer will finalize its analysis of the results of the field trials and work with growers, planter equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders to determine the commercial viability of its fluency agent.