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OPN Connect Newsletter 324 · June 15, 2023

HELM Has Strong Roots in Plant Health


HELM Agro is a Hamburg, Germany-based, family-owned ag-input supplier specializing in crop protection, metabolite-based biological products, and amino acid technology.

The company’s lineup of advanced herbicides can help growers control the toughest, most-resistant, yield-robbing broadleaf weeds and grasses while helping them build a solid, integrated weed management plan.

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The company also has new biological products, which work within the plant and within the soil, providing completely different benefits than crop protection.

“That’s what we’re really excited about and where we have a lot of focus with people spending a lot of time telling that story,” said Josh Louder, HELM’s marketing manager for plant advantage and specialty products, who covers the US in the company’s Tampa-based office. “We feel that whether it’s biological or the organic market, there are a lot of different technologies that bring a lot of value, and sorting out the white noise in how they maximize performance and fix problems that growers and retailers are dealing with is exciting.”

Josh Louder, Marketing Manager, HELM Agro

Vitalis February 2024

HELM has a strong pipeline for the future and is going through the EPA approval process for biological fungicides and bio-insecticides and is excited about what’s to come.

“For 2023-2024, we break down our biological portfolio into three different categories—soil health, crop defense, and crop development,” Louder said. “Those are buckets within the Plant Advantage umbrella of different technologies that help drive different things at different growth stages of different crops.”

“We feel that whether it’s biological or the organic market, there are a lot of different technologies that bring a lot of value, and sorting out the white noise in how they maximize performance and fix problems that growers and retailers are dealing with is exciting.” - Josh Louder

HELM prioritizes staying education-based and specific in its approach within the system that farmers already have, so they can get the best performance out of the products and the most reliable results and solve problems in their production system.

Fox Packaging January February 2024

“One of the products we are most excited about is in the soil health category, and it’s called Soil-Set, a fermentation-based material that helps improve soils to influence nutrient availability and enhance root growth for season-long performance,” Louder said.

Soil-Set includes bacterial metabolites, which bypass the disadvantages of tricky-to-keep-alive live cultures, allowing Soil-Set to easily be integrated into most IPM programs and tank mixed with traditional chemistries.

“It’s a different technology [than] what farmers have been exposed to in the past,” Louder said. “Our fermentation process is controlled and specific, and the output that is created fits the way people farm.”

Hiwassee February 2024

Soil tests showed improved residue breakdown, organic matter, microbial populations, and soil functionality. Additionally, trials showed no adverse effects when the product was tank mixed with traditional chemistries and non-orthophosphate fertilizers. 

Therefore, Soil-Set fosters a healthy soil environment that supports season-long synergy between the soil and the plant. A healthy soil environment allows plants to put down strong roots for a better start and enables the plants to maximize their genetic potential.

Another of HELM’s important products is in crop development and is called Grain-Set, a liquid fermentation solution for corn, cereal, and pasture crops that delivers essential nutrition needed for important metabolic processes that stimulate optimal crop production. 

“It’s a different technology [than] what farmers have been exposed to in the past. Our fermentation process is controlled and specific, and the output that is created fits the way people farm.” - Josh Louder

“It’s really about driving what the crop wants to do at key growth stages and letting it do more of what it wants to do,” Louder said. “Those technologies are back-tested by nutrigenomics, where we look at specific genes and crops. With Grain-Set, we see more plant mass and more production and yield.” 

There’s also Crop-Set, a liquid fermentation solution for fruits and vegetables that delivers essential nutrition needed for important metabolic processes influencing crop maturation and quality. 

Both Grain-Set and Crop-Set have strong benefits for organic producers.

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A longstanding, global company, HELM is on its third generation of leadership, with 2022 marking the latest transformation of father to son when Stephan Schnabel took over from his dad, Dieter Schnabel, who took over from Hermann Schnabel in 1984.

“The company started as a trading company in Europe and from that, it’s grown into chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture,” Louder said. “The company is deeply committed to agriculture both globally and in the US market.”

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