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Searching for the Next Big Thing



Susanne Wasson
Susanne Wasson

With farmers facing growing weed resistance in their fields, the search is on for the next big thing in weed control. Chemical companies around the world are in a desperate race to find the newest active ingredient that will be the new Roundup. But, it is a race against time. With weed resistance spreading across the Corn Belt, growers are looking for new modes of action for their weed control programs now.  Susanne Wasson, Director of Marketing for US Crop Protection with Dow AgroSciences says, finding those new modes of action is a top priority at the Dow Research facility in Indianapolis, “We have a dedicated discovery effort for herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. We are looking for unique modes of action that are not in the marketplace today.”  She added that their pipeline of new products is the most robust is has been in the past 20 years.


But finding the chemical is just part of the challenge; it has to be a product that can get registered here in the US and around the world. Wasson told HAT it takes, on average, about $250 million and 8 – 10 years of research to discover a product that will be effective and can be brought to the marketplace and registered. Wasson stated, “We are looking to develop products that are narrow in spectrum, because those are the kind of products that can be registered today. At the same time we are lining for new modes of action and if a product can work with other chemistries to give growers options and multiple modes of action.” She said, with multiple modes of action, you help slow resistance and prolong the life of any new crop protection system.


Unlike the Roundup system which relied on one product from one company, Wasson says crop protection products in the future will be comprised of several different products from several different companies and will employ multiple modes of action, “What we are promoting in our Enlist Ahead system is that a grower would use a pre-emergence product along with a post-planting application of our Enlist Duo  product.” She said Dow has a long history of collaborating with other companies to develop technologies that give farmers effective control with different traits and chemistries, “You really have a complete weed control system with multiple modes of action, so we actually preserve the value of that new system.


The Enlist product line from will be the first of these new products to come to market pending regulatory approval. Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist™ corn, Enlist E3™ soybeans and Enlist soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Yield® in 2015.  Wasson says there will be many more to come in the future.