We are talking about fungicides in Part 2 of this week’s Q&A. Until recently, there has been very little coverage of the increasingly costly and fast growing threats from fungicidal resistance across the world.
Dr. Alan Bullion examines how these threats will influence the industry and how the leading market players will respond.
Click here for Part 1, which looks at the most important technological developments in precision farming over the last decade.
Q. In your opinion, what are the three biggest challenges facing the incidence and management of fungicide resistance?
The first major challenge is the apparently inexorable pressure to increase the stringency of registration regulations. Regulators in the EU, Canada and the US in particular are responding to consumer pressure to eliminate the risk of detrimental effects on the environment and to reduce the incidence of residues in foodstuffs.
The net effect is to reduce the number of available active ingredients and mode of actions classes, and this has a direct bearing on the ability of growers to use mixtures and alternations of fungicides in disease management.
The second threat is the rise of resistance. When the pathogen population contains a high proportion of isolates that have a high level of resistance, the fungicide is effectively no longer useful for crop protection and is effectively lost. So when the amount of fungicide that is needed to control the disease to an acceptable level is at or above the maximum allowed by the regulations, there is no alternative but to withdraw its use.
Multidrug resistance is another significant threat. For the future, new fungicides will clearly be needed. These will include new chemical actives, sprayed RNA products and biologicals. Companies and scientists are currently working on these, but the cost and time taken to develop and bring these to market are critical barriers to commercialisation.
Q. What other industry do you find the most interesting outside of the ones you cover? Have you ever considered covering this industry (why/why not)?
New areas of interest include RNAi, CRISPR, gene editing, and marker assisted breeding. Some of these are further developed than others, but all have future game-changing potential for product pipeline development in the crop protection sector. Agrow is publishing a new report on RNAi technology and its applications in crop protection in 2017, and is looking at suitably qualified specialist authors for new reports on other related subjects.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Alan, once again, for answering our questions. Fungicide resistance has become a major talking point across the global crop protection industry. It will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to this threat in the coming years, and what impact it has on the commercial longevity of the majority of fungicide active ingredients.
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About the Interviewee:
Dr Alan Bullion is Special Reports and Projects Director for Informa Agribusiness Intelligence. Alan publishes one-off reports across the crop protection, animal health, fertilizer, soft commodities, and policy and legislation sectors. He has worked as a journalist, editor and publisher for Informa for over 18 years and has a published PhD on the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka from the University of Southampton.