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Posted 5 April 2018. PMN Crop News.

Good Soil Health Practices Increase Profitability Over Time; New Seed Treatment Can Increase Yields and Harness Soil Microbes

Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 can increase yields up to 14 bu/A over commercial fungicide treatments alone

Source: Bayer CropScience Press Release.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (February 27, 2018)--In attempts to maximize farm production in the last 50 years, the health of the soil into which crops are planted has been largely ignored. But the simple fact is that soil is a living ecosystem, that if helped to thrive, will provide on-farm dividends for generations to come.


Watch Improve Soil Health Around the Root with Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 on YouTube.

"When you look at soil health, you must look at how we can manage the soil, improve the soil and keep the soil at its maximum potential and that includes biodiversity of the soil itself," said Dr. Nigel Hoilett, Northwest Missouri State University professor.

One example Hoilett uses is to think of soil as a restaurant. If nutrients or "food" from the soil are lost, the crop will not be able to get the needed resources to grow and develop in the best possible way.

"If the soil continues to lose its nutrients, crop productivity is reduced and that means more inputs will be required to get the same amount of returns from the crop," Hoilett said. "From a farmer's perspective, you're spending more to get less."

There are many ways soil productivity can be improved including through crop rotation, cover crops between seasons and conservation tillage, but this is a long-term process. One new seed treatment that will soon be available for corn growers increases the microbial activity around the root to better "feed" the plant.

The Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 system is the next generation of America's #1 seed treatment, Poncho/VOTiVO. Poncho is a fast-acting systemic insecticide that protects plants against above and below ground insects. VOTiVO is a biological seed treatment that provides protection against nematodes and the complementary biological, TWO.O, positively impacts the soil environment around the root to increase nutrient uptake by the plant.

This new seed treatment protects corn plants during the critical first 4-6 weeks after planting when above and below ground pests can cause the most damage. It also improves water and nutrient uptake to contribute to a healthier plant to help corn plants reach their full genetic potential.

"While more growers are focused on what they can do to make their land more sustainable over time, they're also focused on how they can do that year-over-year. Growers understand it's not all about the seed they planted, but it's also about the environment in which they plant that seed," said Greg Ginisty, Bayer product manager, corn seed treatments. "One of the things we forget is that the soil is alive, and those soil microbes can move nutrients from the soil organic matter into usable forms that our plants can ingest."

The 2.0 component of the new seed treatment boosts the food supply for the microbes around the plant root, making them more active, and that in turn makes nutrient cycling within the plant more efficient and productive.

"We're excited that Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 will be available in seed company and Bayer demo plots in 2018," Ginisty said. "We want customers to see the new technology at work and determine whether this seed treatment will be right for them to add to their lineup in 2019."

To learn more about the Poncho/VOTiVO family and other innovations from Bayer, visit or contact your local sales rep.

*Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 is a seed-treatment system comprised of Poncho/VOTiVO (EPA Reg. No. 264-1109) and the soil amendment TWO.OTM.

Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit Crop Science, a division of Bayer, online at

About Bayer

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. 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. For more information, go to

Linda Arnold Whaley