16 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I n the first part of this three-part article, we looked at the his- torical and recent evolution of crop protection. In this second part, we examine the current challenges in creating crop pro- tection products and in the final piece, we’ll present emerging trends and future outlook. The challenges to producing crop protection products in our modern era are numerous and multifaceted. Here are the thoughts of representatives from major manufacturers on prom- inent challenges and how they are best met. WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CURRENT CHALLENGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF CROP PROTECTION PRODUCTS? CropLife International (Spokesperson Will Surman): Developing innovative products for farmers is not cheap or easy. On average, it takes 11 years of research and development to bring a single product to market, at a cost of $286m – up 55% since 2000. In 2016, the number of new active ingredients added to the market was at its fourth lowest since 1950 – under five. Companies also face the challenge of overcoming unpre- dictable regulation. For example, the EU regulatory approach is often founded on political rather than scientific considerations while the U.S. tends to have a more risk-based and science-led approach. With such regulatory uncertainty and diversity across regions, the confidence for companies to invest in new innova- tions can be undermined. On top of this, crop protection products constantly, and rightly, face public scrutiny over their safety and sustainabil- ity in food production, but this scrutiny is often led by activist campaigns, rather than real scientific concerns. Without societal acceptance, agriculture could be deprived of vital products for food security. Crop protection is constantly evolving though, with testing and screening at its highest ever level to ensure product safety. Spending on testing to ensure products do not harm the envi- ronment has also increased since 2000, up 118% to average $71m a product. This means that products are now far more targeted, rather than broad spectrum – something that progress in preci- sion farming has optimised. BASF (Alyson Emanuel, business head of the Functional Crop Care unit in BASF Crop Protection): A challenge in the development and commercialization of bio- logical seed treatments is on-seed survival. We are working on this diligently ourselves. For example, we have achieved 225 days on-seed survival with our inoculant Nodulator Pro 225. Another challenge in the development and commercialization of biological seed treatments is compatibility with other products, to make sure biologicals are not mixed with products that might impede or eliminate their effectiveness. Bayer (Utz Klages, head of External Communications): Especially for resistance management, it is essential that farmers have a broad variety of tools available to fight weeds, pests and CROP PROTECTION PRODUCTS OVERVIEW – PART 2 CHALLENGES IN CROP PROTECTION PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT. BY: TREENA HEIN