FMC to deliver innovative new products

Rural retailers looking for new herbicide actives to combat resistance issues, or a fungicide for an easier way to manage botrytis, may have their wishes granted by FMC Crop Protection.

The company is stepping up to the challenge of bringing innovative new solutions to Australian agriculture with a range of chemical and biological products.

Dugald North, R&D Manager for FMC Crop Protection, said the company have new chemical actives, improved formulations and biological solutions in development.

“We’re investing heavily in new product development so that we can offer two to three brand new products a year to resellers in Australia,” he said.

“For example, right now we are working on a number of new pre-emergent herbicides that will be valuable tools in resistance management for a wide spectrum of weed / crop combinations..”

Mr North said feedback from rural retailers indicated that herbicide resistance was high on their list of R&D priorities. “We make sure to speak with local agronomists and field staff across the country to guide our new product development program,” he said.

“These are the people who have their finger on the pulse, and they aren’t afraid to give us advice.”

He said they also consulted with industry professionals and researchers working in the field of herbicide resistance to ensure their solutions were appropriate.

Mr North said the brand new, patented herbicides are being tested in major broadacre crops this year are showing amazing results against key grass and broadleaf weeds.

He said the timeline for release will begin within the next three years.

In the shorter term, Mr North revealed that a new biofungicide was currently being reviewed by the APVMA, which could be available as soon as next year.

“Our work shows this biofungicide is very effective against botrytis in grapes and we’re hoping it will give growers a solution that means they don’t have to wait through a withholding period,” he said.

FMC Crop Protection also has a new patented translaminar fungicide in the pipeline, for use in grapes, potatoes, tomatoes and cucurbits.
There are also a number of projects under way that aim to improve off-patent actives.

“We are looking at how to enhance or alter the way commonly used actives perform in the field from a crop safety, efficacy or application timing flexibility point of view,” Mr North said.

FMC Crop Protection uses the greater resources of the FMC global R&D team to source the best new products for Australia.

“Traditionally, we have relied heavily on our innovation Centre inthe United States, but FMC now has a new hub for the Asia Pacific region in Shanghai focusing on new formulation technology,” Mr North said.

The Asian Innovation Centre is FMC’s primary facility in the Asia Pacific region for research, development and technical innovation.

More than half of the facility is dedicated to research and development laboratories.

Another global move which is feeding into Australian R&D is FMC’s acquisition of the Center for Agricultural and Environmental Biosolutions in the United States and partnership with Chr. Hansen, a European microbial producer.

Mr North said this was giving FMC greater scope to develop and commercialise biological crop protection products around the world.

“We are about to undertake a screening process involving more than 2,000 biological actives to see whether any of them lend themselves to becoming seed treatments or biostimulants for the Australian market,” he said.

“We look forward to bringing the best new products to market.”