The market for herbicides with new chemistry is nearly stagnant, a result of several factors, says Tom Bauman, Purdue University Extension weed specialist.
Glyphosate, of course, has narrowed the market; the fact that companies are investing more in stacked-trait hybrids has, too, he says.
“The net effect is that there is less profitability or potential sales for new exciting herbicides because they are competing for a small share of the market,” Bauman says. “The industry is saying that the chance of being successful with multi-million-dollar costs to develop and commercialize products and recoup their investments is not as good as it once was.”
It's also harder for new products to meet environmental standards, Bauman says. Plus, many products are coming off patent, so more generics are available at lower prices. “That also has an impact on the profitability of any new products that enter the market,” he adds.
Several of the six large discovery companies — BASF, Bayer, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta — are moving away from creating new herbicides, choosing to put resources into seed with stacked traits, he says.
The lack of new chemistry isn't Bauman's only concern; as glyphosate resistance increases, “we're going to have to go back and revisit some chemistry that's already labeled. But the number of registered ‘older’ products has also decreased,” he says.
“They have to reregister these products and it costs money. If market share goes down to a certain point, they're going to say, ‘We're not going to bother to reregister.'”
He concedes that small manufacturing companies reregistering products will help. “But I think we'll lose, over time, a lot of standby products just because of lack of market share.”
On the bright side, Bauman says, two companies have new herbicides in development. They didn't, however, approve the development “without long and hard discussions about whether that was the place to put their money,” he notes.
For the coming season, the following herbicides have been introduced:
Stout is a new premix — a combination of nicosulfuron (Accent) and thifensulfuron (Harmony GT) — from DuPont Crop Protection. It is registered primarily for grass weed control in corn.
Tankmix partners include atrazine, dicamba, Distinct, Callisto or Cinch. Applications must include a crop oil concentrate or a non-ionic surfactant; an ammonium nitrogen fertilizer must be used unless stated otherwise on the tankmix partners' label.
Bayer CropScience's Autumn WDG contains iodosulfuron, an active ingredient in Equip. Autumn can be used as a fall burndown before corn to control winter annual weeds or up to 30 days before spring corn planting. The product should also be applied with a crop oil concentrate and a nitrogen fertilizer.
Status, from BASF, contains the active ingredients in Distinct (dicamba and diflufenzopyr) and a safener, isoxadifen. The safener allows Status to be applied post-emergence to corn 4-36 in. tall without drop nozzles. It can be used in Roundup Ready fields and for broadleaf control on conventional corn acres.
The Latest from Loveland Products, Makaze, is a glyphosate formulated with Leci-Tech technology. According to the company, the technology gives quicker and more complete uptake of Makaze compared to other leading glyphosates.
Firestorm, a 3-lb./gal. formulation of paraquat dichloride, comes from Chemtura Corp. The herbicide controls a broad spectrum of emerged broadleaf weeds, sedges and grasses. It is available in 2.5-gal. and 250-gal. containers.
Spur, from Albaugh, Inc., contains the active ingredient of clopyralid, also in Stinger herbicide, and is known for controlling Canada thistle.
Vision, also from Albaugh, is a dicamba product, like Clarity, which controls tough broadleaf weeds in corn as well as other crops.
Charger Basic, from Agriliance, holds the active ingredient S-metolachlor, also in Dual Magnum. The herbicide can be preplant surface-applied, preplant incorporated, or pre-emergence-applied to control most annual grasses and small-seeded broadleaf weeds.