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Idemitsu Kosan has received additional approval for its biological pesticide Botopika for use against grey mould in all 219 categories of vegetable, as well as powdery mildew in strawberries and bell peppers. The product first launched in September 2005, targeted grey mould disease in tomatoes and eggplants only. The pesticide's active ingredient component is Bacillus subtilis, a naturally occurring bacterium. The product is extremely safe to use and environmentally friendly and according to Idemitsu can be re-applied indefinitely.

The company says there is increasing demand among Japanese consumers for products that can be used safely on food.  In response, producers are doubling their efforts to use fewer pesticides and produce "Specially Cultivated Agricultural Products," as designated by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. From May 2006 a "positive list" system will be introduced banning the distribution of food products that exceed the limits set for pesticide residues. This will necessitate still stricter compliance with rules on which produce pesticides can be applied to and the frequency of pesticide application. Sales of around ¥50 million ($0.43 million) are projected for Botopika in 2005, rising to peak sales of  ¥200 million in 2008.


More than 100 Bayer CropScience experts, scientists and product managers met in Frankfurt recently for the International Bayer Crop Science Herbicides Symposium. External weed specialists from three continents reported on the current problems in key crops and outlined their perspectives on weed management. They identified a clear need for innovative herbicide technologies because established products can no longer meet the increasing demands to control resistant weeds, newly emerging weed species, and the increasing demand for environmental sustainability. They highlighted the need for new herbicides with new modes of action. Thierry Chenet, head of Bayer’s herbicide business unit, said: “We should support and steer integrated weed management as an effective tool to maintain the sustainability of our herbicide market.” Bayer CropScience has applied for the highest number of global herbicide patents during the last 10 years. In 2005 the company’s herbicide business,€1.84 billion, contributed the largest share to Bayer CropScience sales.

The European herbicide situation is different from other parts of the world as genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant crops have only minor acceptance and the acreage on which they are grown is very limited. No-tillage or low tillage cultivation is also not as common as in the Americas. This situation may well change in the future as Karl Hurle, University of Hohenheim, pointed out in his symposium presentation. The tradition of ploughing may decline as seen in Germany between 1991 and 2000 where the no-tillage acreage grew 20 fold. Increased environmental awareness supports reduced amounts of herbicide being applied and this too has severe consequences on weed control effectiveness. Roland Gerhards, University of Hohenheim, made clear in his talk that there is currently no alternative to chemical weed control in Europe in terms of efficacy despite efforts to reduce herbicide dose rate application. On the second day of the Symposium some participants generated proposals for future R&D objectives such as natural herbicidal traits which allow the slow release of herbicides. World weed mapping was also proposed as an integrated weed management tool.


American Vanguard has reported strong growth in its sales and earnings for 2005. Net sales rose 26% to $189.8 million while net income grew 31% to $19.9 million.  The company added four products to its portfolio, two through acquisition and two through licenses. Eric Wintemute, president and CEO said: “2005 was a very successful year for us. During the fourth quarter we began selling Thimet (phorate) acquired from BASF. With sales of around $14 million the product represents our largest acquisition to date.” Thimet has already exceeded sales expectations and should be an important contributor to the company’s 2006 results. The other significant acquisition was Avenge (difenzoquat), also from BASF. Avenge generated around €1.2 million revenue for American Vanguard in 2005.

31 March 2006                           © Market Scope Europe Ltd                          www.crop-protection-monthly.co.uk

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