Force Insecticide Reformulated

Based on growers’ feedback, an improvement to Force liquid insecticide will provide corn rootworm control with added convenience.
From left to right: Force insecticide is loaded into the John Deere Central Insecticide System.
Force insecticide is loaded into the John Deere Central Insecticide System.

The evolution of Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone transmitter to today’s smartphone is remarkable. The original heavy wooden contraption tethered with multiple cords is now a portable, pocket-sized device that connects people to nearly anywhere in the world. In the 140 years between then and now, the telephone has undergone many refinements, all geared toward improving the user’s experience. The same can be said of the Force® insecticide portfolio from Syngenta.

“We developed Force more than 25 years ago,” says John Koenig, technical product lead for insecticides at Syngenta. “With the revolutionary active ingredient tefluthrin, Force controlled corn rootworms (CRW) and other early-season pests in corn like nothing else on the market.”

Today, growers are still relying on this line of insecticides to deliver dependable control. But like the companies that continue to update telephone technology, Syngenta is listening to customers to improve the value of Force on farms.

“We recently enhanced the liquid formulation to give growers the performance and convenience they’ve been looking for,” Koenig says. “The resulting product is Force Evo liquid corn insecticide, which has already received regulatory approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and will be available for use during the 2018 growing season.”

Don’t Underestimate the Pest

The CRW larvae is tiny, but it can take a big bite out of a farmer’s bottom line. Every year, the pest costs U.S. corn growers more than $1 billion. That’s why it’s critical to have insecticides like the Force brands that can control CRW before crop damage occurs.

For years, growers could choose between two Force brand formulations: Force 3G, a granular insecticide, and Force CS, a liquid. Both deliver highly effective control even in areas with heavy insect pressure, but users noted that Force CS had a few formulation challenges, especially with crystallization that occurred when planting at cold temperatures. When the formulation crystallized, it tended to clog application equipment, resulting in a work stoppage during the critical planting window. In addition, the formulation did not mix well with some starter fertilizers.

“The reason I’ve used Force CS for several years is because of the unmatched CRW control and root protection it provides each year,” says Michael Guerts, a grower from Marshall, Minnesota. “Although I had some challenges when using the product, I felt Force CS provided a good insurance policy against CRW.”

Delivering the Goods

“The Force Evo trials on my farm showed me that this product is going to deliver the pest control I expect with the convenience I need to be efficient at planting.”

Michael Guerts
Syngenta formulation chemists and application technology specialists analyzed the Force CS formulation to determine which factors they could improve for a better at-planting experience. “We went back to the drawing board to identify what growers and applicators find most valuable in a liquid insecticide and what they’d like to change,” says Koenig. “Force Evo represents the evolution of the Force insecticide portfolio to better meet growers’ needs.”

Syngenta designed the Force Evo formulation to give growers an improved user experience in the following ways:

  • Better cold tolerance and freeze/thaw performance significantly reduce the risk of crystallization, even at temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit—an improvement of 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Compatibility with 47 liquid starter fertilizers allows hassle-free use through existing closed, direct-injection application systems from John Deere and Raven.
  • Four-times-lower viscosity results in easier pumping and better flowability under a variety of conditions.
  • Four- to six-times-less residue buildup on equipment surfaces leads to easier equipment cleanout.

“Because of the insecticide’s performance in lab testing and field trials, we’re confident these improvements will lead to a more satisfactory user experience at planting,” Koenig says. “And with the same amount of active ingredient as Force CS, Force Evo will provide the same superior control of CRW and other early-season insect pests in corn.”

Koenig notes that even in the absence of CRW, Force Evo helps increase yield, because early-season pests that it controls, including white grubs, wireworms and seedcorn maggots, can damage developing roots.

Key Partnership

But the Syngenta commitment doesn’t stop with product development and registration. Stewardship and education will be important once growers begin using Force Evo in their fields, Koenig says. Direct Contact, Inc., a Syngenta service partner, employs trained professionals to expand the ground game of Syngenta and work with growers one-on-one to make sure they calibrate and winterize their application equipment appropriately.

Watch Force Evo Video

Jackie Weldon, account manager at Direct Contact, expects the Force Evo formulation will deliver the experience growers want, from start to finish. “The choice to involve Direct Contact demonstrates the commitment Syngenta has to product stewardship,” she says. “From the Syngenta sales reps who prescribe the use rates to my team at Direct Contact, we’re working together to deliver a positive experience to the ultimate end-user—the grower.”

Guerts was one of three growers in the Midwest selected to trial Force Evo during the 2017 planting season, as part of Syngenta on-farm trials. The trials showed that the formulation performed well, not just in the lab but also in the field.

A reformulation of Force liquid insecticide will provide #corn rootworm control with added convenience.

click to tweet

“The Force Evo trials on my farm showed me that this product is going to deliver the pest control I expect with the convenience I need to be efficient at planting,” Guerts says. “I’m excited about Force Evo because it will not only provide that same superior CRW control, but it also will be easier to handle at planting. It’s an investment worth making.”

Like the smartphones that most growers carry in their pockets, Force insecticides are great tools that have become better over time, based on user needs. “Some companies deliver solutions that work for the short term; Syngenta delivers solutions for the long term,” Koenig says.