selective herbicides crops production

How Arylex Is Changing European Agriculture

Herbicides have been getting a bad rap lately, and a resurgence of the organic farming movement has caused a lot of misunderstandings about herbicides, both synthetic and the “natural” ones employed in organic farming. But everyone in the field of agriculture, conventional as well as organic, knows that herbicides and pesticides are a necessity, not a luxury.

Society, politics and Mother Nature herself have made the development of solutions to feed a proliferating global population into a complicated battle. Consumers are vocal about their distaste for chemicals in and on their foods, making sweeping generalization without understanding the scientific nuances of the subject. Politicians respond by tightening safety and environmental regulations on pesticides, herbicides and food additives – which is often necessary and welcome, except when it is done arbitrarily, as it often is. Meanwhile, Mother Nature throws a wrench in the gears in the form of herbicide-resistant weeds, pesticide-resistant pests, and climate change.

It is, by all accounts, an extraordinarily complex problem, and one that must be resolved as quickly as possible: to keep up with projected population growth, we will have to boost global food production by 70% over the next 40 years.

A diminishing supply of effective pest control solutions

Dow AgroSciences’ Eric Dereudre, who is also on the executive committee of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), reported in his keynote speech this past June that 750 of 1000 substances used in agriculture have been removed from the market in the past 20 years, with only 200 new substances being introduced during that same period.

And since the EU implemented Regulation 1107/2009, getting a new active substance approved to go to market has been more challenging than ever. In fact, no new compound had been approved under the new regulations until May 2015, when Dow AgroSciences got Annex 1 approval for their new herbicide, Arylex Active.

Arylex is being marketed as “the next generation of weed control”, and it has plenty of innovative features to back up that claim. For cereal growers in Europe, Arylex is already a game changer, giving them a wider application window, a more forgiving molecule in terms of climate conditions, and a new tool for fighting the serious problem of resistant weeds.

It is a completely new structural class of herbicide with a synthetic auxin method of action that has the potential to be used in co-formulations and expanded into other types of crops in the next few years. Arylex has been approved for a little over a year, but it has already been a boon to cereal growers, and will most likely continue to change the face of agriculture in the EU for many years to come.