Multi-faceted Biological Growth Continues
At the same time, he added, the industry was maturing as researchers gained a better understanding of how microbes and other biological agents behaved in the field. Malik emphasized that this is the change that has had the greatest impact on growers. “We understand what makes our products work and can engineer them to make sure they work every time,” he said. “With our newer products, the cost of goods is very different from what it used to be. In the past, biologics came with a cost penalty. Today, they are on an equivalent cost basis to synthetics.”
click image to zoomTim Damico, executive vice president, Certis USA Tim Damico, executive vice president, Certis USA, would likely second Malik’s emphasis on the importance of understanding and production improvements, all of which impact the cost structure of products as well as quality control.
“Due to fermentation enhancement, we are putting out a more potent product at a lower cost that will appeal to the broad-acre markets of corn, cotton and beans,” he said.
ACQUISITIONS FUEL SEGMENT’S GROWTH
Certis started out as Thermo Trilogy with the 1996 acquisition of neem technologies from W.R. Grace. The company’s portfolio grew over the next several years through acquisitions until it was acquired by Mitsui & Co. in 2001, and renamed Certis USA. Steady sales and portfolio growth in biopesticides has been matched with strong financial performance, as well.
“The bio business has been growing in low double digits annually, and over the past three to five years we are trending at or above that,” said Damico.
The growth and expanded opportunity is changing how Certis, a leading manufacturer and distributor in EMD CropBioScience had been in the legume seed inoculant business for more than a century. The high value markets, approaches the broad-acre market.
“We are using strategic partnership licensing and distribution agreements to address broad-acre opportunities, but also expanding our sales team for wider geographic coverage.” he said.
Novozymes BioAg is one of the oldest, and in other ways one of the newer, companies in the bio business. Started in Denmark with the development of a way to extract insulin from the pancreas and eventually enzymes, it acquired EMD Crop BioScience in 2010.
Novozymes BioAg group now claims more than 50 products in biofertility, biocontrol and bioyield enhancers.
Acquisitions continued with the purchases of Natural Industries in 2012 and TJ Technology this past summer. Natural Industries strengthened the group’s portfolio in specialty crops, but also has biofungicide and bioinsecticide products with potential in broad-acre markets. TJ Technology added to the group’s bioyield enhancement product lineup with QuickRoots for a range of broad-acre crops including corn, wheat and soybeans.