Meristem Unveils GUARD X: CRW’s New Biological Foe

In a significant stride towards combating the escalating problem of corn rootworm (CRW) resistance, Meristem Crop Performance has officially unveiled GUARD X, the first EPA-approved corn rootworm biological to be delivered directly to the furrow using their patented BIO-CAPSULE™ Technology seed fluency system. This innovative product launch comes at a crucial time when corn rootworm resistance to conventional traits has been on the rise, presenting severe challenges for American farmers.

Corn rootworm, often dubbed the “billion-dollar bug,” has been a formidable adversary for corn growers, causing extensive damage and yield loss. According to the USDA, the financial toll of CRW damage and mitigation strategies is estimated at around $1 billion annually. “This is a fully integrated planter box system to provide a new mode of action for farmers to overcome corn rootworm resistance, guard those roots, and do it in a convenient, cost-effective way,” stated Mitch Eviston, CEO of Meristem, during the product announcement.

The introduction of GUARD X is poised to make a significant impact on the agricultural landscape. Eviston further elaborated that the product would be deployed across 200,000 acres this spring, potentially saving farmers approximately $2 million. This development not only promises to enhance productivity but also aims to lower the per unit cost of production, offering a much-needed economic reprieve to growers.

GUARD X Corn Rootworm (CRW) Management + Root Regeneration employs a novel approach to protecting corn roots from CRW larvae. By inducing the plant’s genes to produce natural defense root exudates, GUARD X confounds the CRW larvae, prompting them to move away from the roots. This biological defense mechanism is further bolstered by promoting root regrowth in the event of any larval damage.

At the core of GUARD X’s efficacy is a unique strain of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria known as pink pigmented facultative methylotrophs (PPFMs). These PPFMs play a crucial role in safeguarding the root zone and mitigating the feeding damage caused by CRW. The biological activity of these bacteria not only protects the roots but also supports the plant’s overall health and resilience.

Chris Thrasher, Meristem’s Director of Innovation and Product Management, emphasized the future potential of pairing biologicals like GUARD X with EPA-approved chemical solutions. “The future will be about pairing biologicals like these effectively with EPA-approved chemistry,” Thrasher noted, underscoring the importance of integrated pest management strategies in modern agriculture.

The launch of GUARD X represents a pivotal moment for American agriculture, offering a new, environmentally friendly tool in the fight against CRW. As resistance to traditional traits continues to grow, the need for innovative solutions like GUARD X becomes ever more critical. By leveraging the power of biologicals and advanced delivery systems, Meristem Crop Performance is helping farmers protect their crops, boost yields, and ensure sustainable agricultural practices for the future.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top