Global agribusiness Syngenta and Japanese chemical firm Nippon Soda have entered into a global seed treatment licensing agreement for a new active ingredient to fight Pythium parasites.

The Picarbutrazox ingredient, stemming from a novel chemical class discovered by Nippon Soda, displayed an ability to reliably control Pythium damping off and seedling blight diseases under several cropping systems, Syngenta said on 26 February.

“Picarbutrazox, with its novel mode of action, will strengthen Syngenta’s leading Pythium control portfolio Mefenoxam and Azoxystrobin Technology in corn, soyabeans, canola, oilseed rape, cereals and other crops,” said Ioana Tudor, global head of Syngenta Seedcare.

Better Pythium control allowed farmers to reduce tillage or adopt no-tillage cropping systems and thus protect the soil, avoid replanting costs and benefit from better germination, strong stand establishment and higher yield, according to Syngenta.

Pythium is a genus of parasitic fungus-like micro-organisms, most of which affect plants by attacking their roots and causing them to rot.

Syngenta expected US and Canadian farmers to place first registrations for Picarbutrazox on seed treatment in 2019.