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Today's formulator of agricultural products is barraged with a host of increasing challenges. They are faced with the need to develop more profitable differentiated products in shorter product cycles with fewer resources, and in the face of increasingly crowded patent landscapes and shifting regulatory environments. Consolidation among agricultural manufacturers is driven by financial requirements to grow market share while at the same time reduce costs to improve profitability. Unfortunately, corresponding consolidation and cost reduction has resulted in narrowing of technical focus and reduction in technical resources available for new product development so there is increasing pressure for differentiation from intense competition between fewer, larger suppliers in many markets. This focus on fewer products and the corresponding need to protect investments has concentrated the intellectual property field. Overlaid on this, regulatory issues including new rules on existing products, also apply growing pressure on formulators as threats to viability of formulae. Technologies offering higher rates of first pass success, troublefree operation, and “future proofing” against component loss offer advantages in addressing challenges. High success rate approaches feature experimental design techniques when developing robust formulations and development of differentiated products uses selection criteria that address current and anticipated needs. The needs reflect regulatory and toxicological considerations in addition to physical performance and are met by selecting low risk and broadly effective inert ingredients.
Formulation, tolerance reassessment, development, regulation, toxicology, commoditization, differentiation
Technical Manager, Uniqema Crop Protection, New Castle, DE