Aug 14, 2023
Trade Summit: Mending the Great Biological/Chemical Divide
INGEVITY IN THE NEWS
If there’s one topic folks in the agricultural industry have talked about globally over the past decade or so, it’s biologicals. In terms of pure market numbers, the amount of research activity and financial investment being made into this sector of the ag business has never been greater.
Yet, market acceptance for these products has tended to lag somewhat, particularly in some segments of agriculture. This has been especially true in the row crop category, where the market penetration of biologicals has been less than stellar. In fact, according to a 2023 survey of ag retailers by AgriBusiness Global’s sister publication, CropLife magazine, biologicals such as biofertilizers and biostimulants are growing somewhat. Based on the survey data, biofertilizers have increased their market share among row crop growers from 30% in 2018 to 50% in 2023. Likewise, biostimulants usage has grown from 60% to 73% over this same timeframe. However, for biopesticides, the usage rates have dropped, from 31% in 2018 to just 19% in 2023.
Then of course, there’s the market perception that biologicals and synthetic chemistries don’t play well together. “There’s still a belief that biologicals are not conforming to the requirements of regular chemistries,” said Mariola Kopcinski, Global Business Manager, AgroChemicals at Ingevity, speaking at the 2023 AgriBusiness Global Trade Summit in August. “This is because most biologicals are preventatives and dependent upon field conditions. Also, because biologicals tend to help plants get stronger or grow and are not killing pests.” In addition, Kopcinski pointed to such factors as shorter shelf lives for biologicals (most being ineffective after two to three months in storage) and an inability to tank mix with synthetics when being sprayed in crop fields. Read more…