As Dow and DuPont were working through their merger, DuPont spun out its crop protection business to FMC. That was final Nov. 1, 2017, and now FMC is working on the best ways to maximize this new tech.
Farm Progress talked with Rick Ekins during the National Farm Machinery Show to get an update on what the acquisition has meant for FMC. Ekins is the applications and innovations platform lead at FMC, and a big part of his role is to maximize the new tools the company has in development. Along with FMC's 3RIVE 3D platform and tech, the DuPont acquisition gave the company access to a host of new tools.
"We're moving ahead with the 3RIVE 3D technology and with PrecisionPac," Ekins says.
PrecisionPac is an innovative tool that's been used in the wheat market. It's a system that allows a dealer to precisely mix granular herbicide to just the right quantity on a field-by-field basis. "We're just shipping the first model of the latest generation of PrecisionPac," Ekins says. "It's going to a CHS facility in Montana."
The newest version is fully web-enabled, which allows the company to track products and better fill supply to dealers. It also allows for enhanced notice of weed problems that might be hitting an area. But FMC is thinking longer term about this system and it's potential in other markets.
"It's only in the wheat areas now, but we see an opportunity for PrecisionPac to dispense more products," Ekins says. "DuPont had only used the system for herbicides, but there's the potential to do custom mixes of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in the future."
FMC has a history of being an innovative formulator, and this "precision blender" offers the opportunity for the company to put more products into that format. DuPont also has a tech called TotalSol, which Ekins explains is a granule that is 100% soluble in water. "I see a future in products using this technology for better mixing," he says.
Combine that with an advanced PrecisionPac system and dealers may be selling you crop protection in totally new ways in the future.
Ekins says he sees potential for a range of FMC products to be formulated using the TotalSol tech, including Authority, Aim and Cadet.
Moving ahead with new tool
The innovative 3RIVE 3D platform is now getting new tools too. In addition to Capture 3D, the company submitted to EPA a new label for Ethos 3D insecticide/fungicide, which they anticipate will register in September 2018. DuPont has it ready for market for 2019. Bringing a second product to this application platform makes it more appealing to customers.
The 3RIVE 3D system includes a 130-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon product tank. With one fill, a farmer can apply material to 500 acres between fills. With planter tending a growing time management challenge, more farmers may look at more innovative approaches like this tech.
Ethos 3D is the new formulation of a first-of-its-kind in-furrow solution. It's an insecticide and fungicide combination that protects the corn seedling. It will also be registered for use in soybeans and drybeans.
Another DuPont acquisition was the insecticide Renaxypyr, which has FMC working on a 3RIVE 3D formulation for that popular low-dose insecticide as well. "This brings another mode of action to the market, and we're aiming for the first quarter of 2019 to have that available," Ekins says.
Ekins notes that Renaxypyr and Cyanzypyr, another DuPont product, will eventually be available in the company's LFR formulation, as well as for use in the 3D system.
FMC was once known for its practice of letting other companies develop new molecules, then acquiring them and doing formulation and marketing. The DuPont acquisition changed some of that and included some new products coming down the research pipeline. FMC also got 200 researchers and product developers plus a research facility in the bargain.
"We got a lot in the acquisition," Ekins says. He wouldn't elaborate much on what's in that research pipeline, but given the work done by crop protection companies expect some news on new modes of action and other tech announcements soon.
As for Ekins, he's got a full calendar of development work ahead, as he works to get products approved for the new platforms and works to better understand the potential for PrecisionPac in the market. We'll keep you posted.