In Perspective: The rise of biologicals

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

“The challenge facing these companies will be to convince farmers of biologicals' efficacy and positive impact to their bottom line. They may be challenged to think outside of the traditional crop protection box.” Although the last decade has seen the rise in the use of biotechnology and seed traits, the next decade is likely to be focused more on the research and use of biological products.

Up until the past couple of years, the U.S. market has not been interested in researching or using biological products, but that appears to be changing. Major crop protection companies are jumping on the biological bandwagon—in a big way.

Traditional crop protection companies have been systematically buying up the smaller biological companies. BASF purchased Becker Underwood, Syngenta purchased Pasteuria and DevGen and Bayer bought AgraQuest and Prophyta. In mid-December, Monsanto and Novozymes announced a collaboration they are calling the BioAg Alliance. The alliance is a long-term strategic alliance to transform research and commercialization of sustainable microbial products.

The announcement of the alliance was big news in the industry, and seemed to call greater attention to the use of biologicals. With large crop protection companies, especially Monsanto, jumping into partnerships with biological companies, the industry is gaining attention and respect.

It’s about time the United States investigated biologicals. The U.S. is behind many other agricultural powerhouse countries when it comes to using and investigating biologicals. In an interview with SeedWorld, Bob Streit, independent ag consultant, said Brazil and Argentina are way ahead of U.S. farmers in adopting biological pest management strategies. The reason? He claims that South American agronomists and farmers are more hands-on with their teaching and scouting of their fields.

The U.S. appears to be ready to adopt biological solutions in crop production. The EPA and USDA seem ready to approve biologicals since they consider them more environmentally friendly than pesticides. Streit said, “EPA will fast-track that development, so much so that if the company with the new product asks for a label on three crops, EPA might grant a label for 20 crops … And that’s basically because these new products present little or no challenge to the environment and the soils which grow our crops.”

One of the challenges with introducing biologicals to the U.S. market is their previous perception as snake oil. Many farmers have been skeptical of biological products due to their varying performance. Fortunately, more research is being done, but there needs to be so much more. Universities have typically not spent a lot of time researching biologicals as their budgets have been cut and there just hasn’t been the grant money available to begin that type of research. However, with major crop protection companies either acquiring or partnering with smaller biological companies and expanding research, it gives the whole biological industry more legitimacy. And with that legitimacy, there will hopefully come more research at the university level.

The challenge facing these companies will be to convince farmers of biologicals’ efficacy and positive impact to their bottom line. They may be challenged to think outside of the traditional crop production box. But as more research at the company and university level proceeds, farmers are likely to be convinced if the results are improved crops.

Although research will continue into crop breeding and developing new genetically modified crops, the next era of big biotech may be proceeding side by side with big biologicals. So, expect to see a lot more research and information on this topic in the years ahead.


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (1) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

Bingah utomo    
Bogor-Indonesia  |  January, 17, 2014 at 10:15 PM

We do the same thing to develop Bio Soil Amendment here in Indonesia to improve the agriculture productivity. Along with that, we alsodevelop Bio Pesticides (Insecticide + Fungicide) in one product. Thanks


Declining Weigh Blending System

Ranco Declining Weigh (DW) is the standard in fertilizer blending because of the speed and accuracy of the blending process. ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form