AMVAC announces high-concentration Aztec formulation, SmartBox upgrade

AMVAC Chemical Corporation, the leading manufacturer of granular corn soil insecticides in the U.S., is introducing a new concentrated formulation of its Aztec granular corn rootworm insecticide for 2016.

The company also announced a marketing relationship with Precision Planting that will allow growers to use AMVAC's SmartBox Closed Handling System to apply granular corn soil insecticides with Precision Planting's electric vDrive Insecticide meter. New SmartBox-capable Precision Planting systems are now available from Precision Planting dealers, as are SmartBox conversion kits for upgrading existing Precision Planting equipment.

The new Aztec HC formulation will allow growers to boost efficiency by treating twice as many acres with each fill compared to the Aztec 4.67G formulation. The HC formulation will be available for application through the SmartBox System, which has been updated for uniform distribution at the new low application rate. 

"The Aztec HC formulation and the Precision Planting marketing relationship both underscore AMVAC's ongoing commitment to innovations that allow growers to improve efficiency and environmental stewardship, says Rick Rice, AMVAC director of application technology.

Rice also announced plans for 2016 field-testing of an innovative planter-mounted system to prescription-apply multiple granular products simultaneously. "We anticipate a ‘soft' commercial launch of the new Simpas multi-product application technology with a few select farmers in 2017, says Rice.

Aztec HC details

By treating twice as many acres per fill than in the past, the new Aztec HC formulation will save growers time and improve efficiency by requiring fewer fills during the busy planting season. For example, a 24-row planter will be able to cover 736 acres between fills, says Rice. Growers, ag retailers and distributors also will have fewer containers to handle and return, which improves efficiency throughout the input supply system.

The price of the Aztec HC formulation will be the same on a per-acre basis as Aztec 4.67G. Aztec HC will be available only for application with SmartBox systems. Aztec 4.67G will be available for the SmartBox application systems and in bags for use with other granular applicators. Aztec 2.1G will available through the 2016 growing season and will then be discontinued. AMVAC's other corn soil insecticides, Counter and SmartChoice, will continue to be offered in their current formulations for SmartBox and Lock ‘n' Load applicators.

SmartBox HC upgrade

New, upgraded SmartBox meters can be retrofitted to existing SmartBox systems. The upgraded meters include internal double-helix diffusers. The diffusers deliver the most uniform down-the-row distribution of Aztec HC's low application rate of 1.5 oz/1,000 row feet and improve distribution of higher rates of other formulations too, says Rice.

The new meters are standard on new 2016 SmartBox Systems. They also are available at a discounted price to upgrade existing systems. Installation and calibration are free when new meters are purchased during scheduled calibration service by an AMVAC field representative.

Precision Planting SmartBox options

"AMVAC and Precision Planting have recognized that we both have tools that customers want, says Rice. "Now farmers can realize the closed-system benefits of SmartBox, while utilizing the convenience of Precision Planting's in-cab monitor and insecticide meters. All the equipment that's needed to mate SmartBox containers with Precision-brand equipment can now be purchased directly from local Precision Planting dealers.

In 2016, the Precision Planting vDrive Insecticide meter will be compatible with the AZTEC 4.67 G formulation and all SmartBox-available corn soil insecticides Execpt Aztec HC. An updated vDrive Insecticide meter allowing use of Aztec HC is expected to be available from Precision Planting for the 2017 planting season.

SIMPAS multi-product application

AMVAC's next-generation multi-product granular application technology is called SIMPAS (Simultaneous Integrated Multi-Product Prescription Application System). As its name spells out, it simultaneously prescription-applies multiple granular crop inputs.

SIMPAS is a totally new design from the controller/monitor to its multi-product closed-system meters and containers. The initial versions will be able to apply three products per row. An iPad tablet with a user-friendly graphic user interface is the in-cab controller/monitor. All application commands will be transmitted wirelessly from the cab, so the traditional communication cabling has been eliminated; the only cable going to each row unit is a power cable.

RFID tags on product modules will relay product information automatically to the iPad and prompt a menu of appropriate application rates, eliminating cumbersome data entry. Product disappearance will be tracked wirelessly by the product and row. The number of acres that can be treated before the nearest-empty container runs out will be displayed on the iPad screen, as are alarms in the event of an application disruption.

SIMPAS technology is expected to be used in all row crops, including corn, soybeans and cotton, potatoes, sugar cane, peanuts and other crops planted with a row-crop planter. Initially, SIMPAS will be used to apply granular soil insecticides, fungicides, biologicals and nutritionals, says Rice. Subsequent versions will be able to simultaneously prescription-apply liquids as well as granules as controlled by the farmer's prescription application software.

Field-testing in 2016 will take place in the Corn Belt and other areas, says Rice. "We are excited about the opportunities for improving crop productivity with prescription applications of novel products and chemistries in the future, he says.