Plant Health Care (PHC.L) Update on PHC279 2019 Field Trials

Plant Health Care®, a leading provider of novel patent-protected biological products to global agriculture markets, is pleased to provide the following update on its completed 2019 field trials of the PREtec peptide PHC279 for the control of plant diseases in corn, wheat and lettuce crops.

Highlights:

US Corn

– PHC 279 increased corn yields by 9-15% when applied as a foliar spray, creating potential grower value of $54 – $82 per acre at current average prices.

– PHC279 significantly improved the control of two key corn diseases by as much as 50%, even under heavy disease pressure.

Spring wheat

– PHC279 increased yield by as much as 17% when added to the standard disease control program, which is worth $86 per acre at current prices.

Lettuce

– PHC279 increased yield by as much as 22% compared to fungicides alone.

– PHC279 also improved disease control as much as 31% following foliar application.

In the US, 91m acres of corn were planted in 2019. Severe southern rust disease can routinely reduce corn yields as much as 25 bushels per acre. At current prices, this would equate to lost revenue for the farmer of $79 per acre. In historical epidemics of southern corn leaf blight, yields were reduced by 20 to 25 percent nationwide, resulting in an estimated $1 billion loss in harvest. In the Company’s trials, when PHC279 was applied together with a leading chemical fungicide, it significantly improved control of both diseases compared to the fungicide treatment alone, and yields were increased by as much as 26 bushels per acre depending on application timing. Even a more modest benefit of 5-10 bushels per acre is likely to provide an attractive return on investment in the potential range of 5:1 to 8:1 for farmers who apply PHC279 to their fields.

In the UK, when PHC279 was applied to spring wheat seeds prior to planting, followed by adding it to the standard spray fungicide program, yield was increased by as much as 17% in fields with Septoria tritici blotch, the major disease of wheat in the UK. At current prices, this yield benefit would be worth $86 per acre to the farmer.

Lettuce drop disease is a major pathogen affecting US lettuce cultivation. In a series of US field trials inoculated with Sclerotinia , the causative agent of lettuce drop disease, PHC279 treated plants yielded as much as 22% more than plants treated only with the standard chemical fungicide program. With an acre of lettuce worth more than $10,000 in the US in 2018, even a modest increase in lettuce yield will likely justify the cost of applying PHC279.

Plant Health Care’s PREtec peptides stimulate the plant to defend itself. Derived from natural proteins, this is a novel, environmentally friendly approach to protecting crops and increasing yields, compatible with mainstream agricultural practice. PHC279 may allow farmers to reduce applications of toxic fungicides or to achieve better control of disease.

Gary L. Cloud, Ph.D., a research agronomist and owner of GLC Consulting, Inc. participated in the testing of PHC279 in corn this season, and offered the following, “There was heavy disease pressure and PHC279 provided visible improvement in disease control and higher yield compared to the standard fungicide when applied early in the growing season. That is somewhat amazing due to the time that elapsed between application and harvest. I believe PHC279 will be a valuable tool for corn growers struggling to control disease in their fields.”

Chris Richards, CEO of Plant Health Care, said “We are extremely encouraged with the performance of PHC279 in multiple key crops. Building on our recent success with PHC279 for the control of Asian soybean rust in Brazil, it is clear PHC279 will have important benefits for farmers in many crops. The registration of our first PREtec peptide is progressing in the US and Brazil and the scale-up of manufacturing has started. We are excited about the potential for products based on our PREtec peptides, which are targeting markets with an initial opportunity of $5 billion. We aim to launch the first peptides as soon as regulatory permits have been obtained, to offer these valuable new tools to growers in the US and other countries.”


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