“We are the inside,” says Emily Fuerst, R&D Director of Kemin Crop Technologies. This is a division of Kemin Industries, a privately held, family owned business which started in 1961 in Des Moines, Iowa. The company is now globally present, with over 2,500 employees and R&D facilities worldwide, including in Europe, China and India. Emily Fuerst, Marsha Bro, General Manager, and Tatiana Giacinti, Product Manager talk about the Crop Technologies business, the products they supply and what they do for commercial growers in the US.
Left to right: Emily, Tatiana and Marsha
The company produces ingredients for human and animal health and nutrition, pet food, aquaculture, human nutrition and health, food technologies and textile industries. The Crop Technologies division focuses on commercial horticulture. They work with naturally derived products. Crop Technologies started about five years ago with research, and has now been in industry for three years. They focus on the US market, primarily for specialty crops and greenhouse growers.
“At Kemin, we use various crops like marigold, oregano, rosemary and potato. We look deep inside those plants, identifying what makes their defense mechanism work,” says Emily. Various compounds are isolated and extracted, in order to create Kemin’s specialty ingredients. Rosemary is the source of a lot of their products, at first mainly for antioxidants, recently also as essential oil component that provides benefits against pests like spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, and thrips. “We look at different essential oils, comparing efficacy, quality et cetera. We want to sell an environmentally safe product that works good for growers.”
Kemin Crop Technologies offers protective products and nutritional health products, leaning upon the platform capability of the core company. One of the products is TetraCURB Concentrate, which is a rosemary oil-based insecticide. “Rosemary oil has been around for millennia, but we continue doing research for efficacy. We found that it is also effective for soft-bodied insects,” says Marsha. There is also an OMRI-Listed organic version of TetraCURB Concentrate.
Tetracurb and Thymox
Another product is based on single cellular micro algae, Valena. It breaks down and creates a storage molecule. This product is used as soil supplement. The plant recognizes it as a pathogen so it increases its rate of nutrition uptake to protect itself. This stimulates the growth. “It’s kind of a natural trigger for the plant, so that it can grow rapidly and resilient and increases the production timeframe, it puts on more fruit.” It is not a hormone, so it doesn’t increase 200-fold, but it enhances the natural genetic potential and what it can do in its natural habitat.
The insecticide’s active components formula is unique. “We’ve worked with food ingredients for pets, humans, animals, so we had the formulating skills,” says Marsha. TetraCURB Concentrate is an all-in-one mixture for growers. Normally they have to use an adjuvant to nicely spread the product on the plant, but this product does that by itself. The complex formula does cause difficulty for pesticide resistance development.
Essential oils have been around for a long time, and resistance has not been established yet. There is not much concern for that either. The product is exempt from EPA registration, and there is no maximum residue level. The products are applicable both in greenhouse and outside cultivation.
Kemin is a science backed organization, who works with many international PhDs. “With our plant-based solutions, we want to solve problems for the horticultural industry and offer growers with optimal changes in their IPM program, perfect their crop all year long and make a change towards a more environmentally safe production. At the end, our goal is to help the grower be successful and profitable, and have a sustainable footprint,” they say.
Kemin Crop Technologies
1900 Scott Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa USA 50317
+1 515 559 5100