AgraQuest, Inc. has announced the launch of Ballad Biofungicide for control of Asian soybean rust on organic soybeans and other legumes. Ballad is based on a naturally occurring patented strain of the bacterial species Bacillus pumilus, which produces natural pesticidal compounds. These compounds, present in every container of Ballad, destroy the cell walls of the rust pathogen. Ballad is AgraQuest's first entry into the large-acreage row crops. To date, the company has targeted high-value fruits, nuts, vegetables, and home gardens.

Ballad was as effective as the chemical standard, azoxystrobin (marketed as Quadris(R) and Amistar(R) in various crops) in recent Asian soybean rust field trials in South Africa. Ballad is approved for use in organic agriculture by OMRI and the National Organic Program.

While there are several chemicals that are approved or under emergency exemption for control of soybean rust in conventional soybeans, Ballad is currently the only product approved for organic soybeans. The USDA estimates that there are 500,000 to 600,000 acres of organic soybeans in the U.S., growing at a fast pace of more than 20% new plantings per year. The high consumer demand for healthy soy products has sparked the increase, and there are probably another 400,000 acres in transition to organic.

Source: PRNewswire