AURORA, Colo. (July 5, 2023) — Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness and Plant Health Care® (AIM.PHC.L), a leading provider of peptides for plant protection to global agriculture markets, announce the companies have concluded a distribution agreement that will support commercial sales of OBRONATM, a foliar fungicide recently approved by the U.S. EPA.
Wilbur-Ellis will offer the product for control of tar spot, common rust, Gray leaf spot, Northern corn leaf blight and Southern corn leaf blight within the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin under a Section 2(ee) label for the 2023 growing season. OBRONA is a unique product developed to help growers control a wide range of fungal and bacterial plant pathogens within fruits, nuts, vegetables and row crops, and Wilbur-Ellis is actively seeking an expanded label to include a broad range of crops.
Wilbur-Ellis and Plant Health Care have been working together in an exclusive partnership since 2020 to evaluate and develop PHC279, the active ingredient in OBRONA, for high value specialty and row crop markets. Multiple years of field trials have validated product efficacy to support initial launch focused on corn diseases, such as tar spot (Phyllachora maydis), Gray leaf spot (Cercospora zeae-maydis) and common rust (Puccinia sorghi); powdery and downy mildew and other diseases in grapes, as well as white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) and other diseases affecting leafy vegetables within key Western U.S. states.
Derived from naturally occurring proteins, PHC279 is the first product from Plant Health Care’s PREtec technology platform (Vaccines for Plants™) that will be available to U.S. farmers. PREtec stimulates crop growth and enhances crop resistance to fungal and bacterial diseases and improves crop quality and yield. The initial PREtec product, Saori®, is being used in Brazil as a seed treatment to control an array of soybean diseases including Asian soybean rust (Phakopsora spp.).
PREtec provides growers with a novel and environmentally friendly approach to growing crops and is compatible with mainstream agricultural practices. As part of an integrated pest management program, OBRONA will reduce reliance on older synthetic pesticides and will provide growers with a valuable tool to proactively manage disease resistance. The availability of OBRONA will support farmers seeking to use more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices while continuing to provide safe, abundant, and high-quality food.
“We are pleased that our partnership with Plant Health Care has resulted in the approval of OBRONA and are looking forward to launching the product this summer to deliver value to the grower in a sustainable way,” said Scott Addy, Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness vice president of Branded Technologies and Biological Solutions. “We expect that there will be many other products that follow, and we are committed to offering our growers biological options to solve their pest issues.”
‟Having worked with Wilbur-Ellis on the development of OBRONA for more than three years, I am gratified that this new agreement will bring OBRONA to the market to enable control of many of the most recalcitrant fungal and bacterial pathogens challenging growers today,” said Jeff Tweedy, CEO of Plant Health Care. “OBRONA will support sustainable agriculture with better crops delivering higher yield for thousands of U.S. farmers.”