Cambridge, 31st, October, 2013
Existing active substances will form the backbone of weed control products over the next five years, according to Bayer CropScience, while the search for new modes of action continues.
Speaking as one of the sponsors of CropTec - the new arable technical event - Chris Cooksley, the company’s marketing manager, told delegates about the company’s quest for new herbicides to control black-grass.
“Bayer CropScience alone will spend £4.2bn on R&D in the next five years,” he said. “Unfortunately the number of companies investing in R&D has reduced in recent years, but Bayer CropScience is still actively searching for the next Atlantis WG.”
“Discovery rates of potential new active substances remain good and, there are some promising actives in the early stages of development,” he says.
But, he pointed out, it can take up to ten years and £300m to bring a new active substance to market. “Right now, it is too early to tell if the ones we’re looking at will pass the myriad of tests required to make them a commercially viable proposition.
”With no new modes of action on the horizon, it seems highly unlikely that we will see a new revolutionary product in the next five years. So where next?
“In the UK, Bayer CropScience has plans to launch beneficial line extensions to the flufenacet and mesosulfuron ranges,” said Mr Cooksley. “They will be very useful tools to add to our armoury, but they are not new modes of action. They will not be the game-changer that Atlantis WG (mesosulfuron and iodosulfuron) was ten years ago,” he cautions.
That’s why, Mr Cooksley emphasised, cultural controls - ploughing, stale seedbeds, delayed drilling, crop rotation - and well-planned programmes of stacked residual herbicides, must form the backbone of grass-weed control both now and in the future.”
Mr Cooksley said this would hold true even in the event GM technology is approved in the UK.
“GM is the nirvana many have in their minds but while total-herbicide tolerance would seem a perfect solution, we know glyphosate resistance is a real threat and there isn’t consensus within Europe to introduce the technology.
“Even GM needs support in the form of cultural controls,” he added. “So we might as well start honing our skills now.”
Those skills must also include learning more about black-grass biology, resistance and control, he warned.
“Most UK distributors are now looking beyond chemical controls. Agrii, Agrovista, Frontier and Hutchinsons are amongst those investing in long-term projects that consider everything from variety choice and cultivations to root exudates and companion crops.”
“And then there’s precision farming, aerial weed mapping, remote sensing and application, natural chemical usage...the list goes on.
“What’s important is while new modes of action are some way away, as an industry we must cultivate our collective knowledge and the will to work around the problem. It’s the only way in which we’ll develop solutions that keeps farming profitable for many years to come.”
31st October 2013
Phillippa Overson, Tel. no: 01223 226625
Whisper PR, Sam Hiner, Tel no: 01608 637805
Find more information at www.bayercropscience.co.uk.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. This year the company is celebrating 150 years of Bayer – consistent with its mission “Bayer: Science For A Better Life”. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 8,383 million (2012) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 20,800 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.
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