Bayer has launched a hybrid rice seed, Arize AZ 8433 DT with strong inbuilt tolerance to Brown Plant Hopper (BPH) and Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB). BPH is the most destructive pest in rice growing areas of India and caused huge losses to farmers in the 2017 kharif season. Bayer said that though there are many chemical solutions available to control BPH, these have not been able to control the insect effectively in cases of medium to heavy infestation. The usual practice is to spray when the insect build-up has already happened. As an alternative approach, Bayer has developed hybrid seeds, where pest tolerance has been achieved in the seed through innovative technologies based on marker-assisted breeding. The result is Arize AZ 8433 DT.
“Rice is a staple food crop for majority of India and a key focus crop for Bayer’s Crop Science business in India. Bayer has been working closely with rice farmers to improve rice yields and quality through its innovative hybrid seeds, crop protection products and integrated crop management solutions,” says Peter Mueller, Head of the Crop Science division at Bayer South Asia. “The introduction of Arize AZ 8433 DT is another step towards improving rice productivity in India. Since its launch, the cultivation of Arize AZ 8433 DT has expanded to more than 10,000 acres in major rice growing belts of the country,” adds Peter Mueller.
In the event of a BPH and BLB attack, Arize AZ 8433 DT from Bayer offers a yield advantage of upto 20 to 30 percent over other susceptible open-pollinated varieties (OPVs), where yield losses could be upto 100 percent. Besides superior yield attributes, another advantage of cultivating Arize AZ 8433 DT includes a significant saving on pesticide application.
A single round of spraying pesticides costs Rs. 500-600 per acre. Even with moderate infestation, rice farmers spray three to four times, depending on the incidence of BPH. With Arize AZ 8433 DT, farmers are advised to scout their fields periodically and go for one spray, only if the BPH count exceeds economic threshold levels, or if hopper burn damage is observed in adjoining fields. However, farmers will have to use pesticides for other pests such as Whitebacked Plant Hopper (WBPH) and Stem Borer etc.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 99,600 people and had sales of EUR 34.9 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.2 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.4 billion.