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Meristem unveils a biological solution corn rootworm control

GUARD X is the first EPA-approved corn rootworm biological treatment using BIO-CAPSULE Technology.

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Meristem Crop Performance announced the release of GUARD X, the first-ever EPA-approved corn rootworm biological delivered through the patented BIO-CAPSULE™ Technology seed fluency system. This innovative solution offers farmers an alternative to expensive trait stacks and difficult-to-handle insecticides.

GUARD X is designed to provide a new mode of action for overcoming corn rootworm resistance, protecting roots, and doing so in a cost-effective manner. Mitch Eviston, CEO and co-founder of Meristem, highlighted that GUARD X will be used on 200,000 acres this spring, saving farmers about $2 million.

Corn rootworm resistance has been increasing, causing significant damage and yield loss. According to the USDA, corn rootworm issues cost American farmers about $1 billion annually. GUARD X addresses this by inducing plants to produce natural defense exudates that repel CRW larvae and promote root regrowth if damage occurs.

“Farmers need a way to fight back against resistant rootworms without reverting to in-furrow insecticide kits,” said Shane Brockhoff, regional director for Meristem. “GUARD X offers a solution for less than $14 per acre, protecting corn from rootworm damage.”

GUARD X utilizes pink pigmented facultative methylotrophs (PPFMs) to protect the root zone and mitigate feeding damage. Meristem’s patented BIO-CAPSULE system ensures the beneficial microbes remain vigorous until their point of use.

John Tiarks, a farmer from Underwood, Iowa, expressed confidence in GUARD X, stating it provides additional insurance against rootworm damage, which can cost growers 30 to 40 bushels per acre if not properly managed.

Meristem’s launch of GUARD X follows EPA approval of METALAXYL ST for soybeans, also delivered through the BIO-CAPSULE system. This approval adds to Meristem’s portfolio of innovative products aimed at increasing productivity and reducing costs for farmers.

“Bringing this sort of innovation that cuts waste and enhances productivity is key to Meristem’s growth,” said Eviston. He highlighted other Meristem products like UPSHIFT® C and AQUADRAFT® C that offer significant savings and efficiency improvements for farmers.

John Gertz, Meristem’s COO, emphasized the role of local businesses in delivering these innovations, stating that independent, local businesses can better meet the needs of their communities than distant national distributors.

GUARD X’s release marks a significant advancement in sustainable and effective agricultural practices, providing farmers with a new tool to combat corn rootworm and improve crop yields.

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