The glyphosate-tolerant soybean era appeared to dry up pipelines that could lead to new chemistry, at least in terms of weed control. In the early 2000s, interviews with university specialists about truly new products were very short.
At least one company, Syngenta, says that’s no longer true. Jeff Cecil, head of crop protection marketing in North America, notes that Syngenta has introduced 35 new products within the past five years. That includes seven new active ingredients. These offerings fall into several categories, including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and more.
“Our track record shows that we have a strong pipeline,” Cecil says. “Just looking out over the next five to 10 years, there are several potential new chemistries and products in various stages, from early development to near commercialization.”
Cecil explains that researchers don’t look blindly for new discoveries and then figure out where they fit. Instead, it’s customer-focused. “Innovation starts with farmers,” he says. “We listen to farmers and what they need, and then we seek solutions for emerging problems or gaps in the current lineup.
Looking ahead, Cecil sees up to nine viable new active ingredients in that five- to 10-year pipeline. “Our goal is introducing two new active ingredients globally per year,” he says. “But the pipeline isn’t all about new active ingredients. Each active ingredient typically results in several new products. It takes time to see how to best use these chemistries to benefit growers.”
One gap Cecil hopes to fill within the next few years is better weed control options for waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. Chemistries already in the pipeline show potential, he says.
Pesticide achievements and prospects
Kevin Gesse, head of herbicides product marketing for Syngenta, says Acuron, introduced for corn weed control in 2016, is based on bicyclopyrone, a new active ingredient. It helps existing chemistries work better, Gesse says. It’s combined with mesotrione, atrazine and S-metolachlor. Gesse points to yield advantages compared to competitive products.
Gesse anticipates new formulations receiving labels for 2021. They include Acuron XR, Acuron Flexi XR and Acuron GT, with glyphosate. The first two products contain a higher ratio of S-metolachlor, extending residual weed control.
Lisa Moricle, head of marketing for fungicides and insecticides for Syngenta, says the recently introduced Miravis family of fungicides is growing. It features Adepidyn, a new active ingredient from the carboxamide family, featuring the SDHI mode of action. Miravis Neo for corn includes a strobilurin and triazole, plus Adepidyn. Miracle Ace uses a similar approach to control head scab in cereals. Aprovia Top and Miravis Prime are 2020 additions to Syngenta’s lineup, geared for control of grape and vegetable diseases.
Shawn Potter, Syngenta’s seed care manager, points to Saltro, completing its first full season in 2020, as an extremely competitive option for sudden death syndrome in soybeans. It’s a fungicide seed treatment that can be combined with other ingredients.
Vayantis is another new seed treatment about ready to leave the Syngenta pipeline. Approval is expected soon. It features a new active ingredient with a new mode of action and should provide a boost for control of pythium and phytophthora. Look for it first to be applied on seed corn. Expect it to be ready for soybeans later in 2021, likely included with other fungicide seed treatments.