Citing comparisons with the European region, he began by emphasising some of the main challenges that farmers in both Canada and Europe share; diverse weather conditions, extremes in temperature and the proliferation of resistant weeds.
Collaboration is central to the R&D process at Dow AgroSciences and Mr Bennett went on to describe how this cooperative approach helps address the problems that farmers face, “Proper consultation with our farmers is essential to getting our herbicide products right”, he said.
Focusing on the specific challenge of broad-leaved weeds, he introduced the outcomes of the research programme undertaken with farmers and distributors. ‘It’s a given that a selective herbicide should offer weed control and product safety, but with over 100 products already in the market, each with varying claims of broad-leaved weed control, we had to develop something that offered a whole lot more’, he said.
The farmers in Canada were asked about their ‘biggest challenges in crop protection today? In other words, as you spray your crops, what are the biggest issues you face? Crucially their answers highlighted the practical problems they face such as ‘wildly variable weather conditions’, ‘confusion because of too many products’ and ‘ herbicide resistance’.
Drilling down further, each respondent was asked to identify the key attributes that they were looking for in a product that was designed to tackle broad-leaved weeds. Significantly, the most important attribute described was ‘a product that works under a wide range of climatic conditions’. This was followed by ‘a wider application window so I can spray on my schedule’. Additionally respondents also talked about the idea of developing a ‘new chemical group for weed resistance’.
This first-hand feedback was vital in ensuring that Arylex fulfilled the practical needs of farmers. Key attributes such as its exceptional flexibility and superior performance even in cold and wet conditions were highlighted. Its wide spray window and potential to offer resistance management without compromising performance were also seen as important. Whilst the fact that it rapidly metabolizes into a non-active form ensures an excellent safety profile.
Mr Bennett concluded with a quote from a distributor that demonstrates that Arylex does indeed offer many of the key benefits required by farmers in both Canada and Europe alike.
‘[With Arylex] We know we can be confident in the weed control performance under a wide range of climatic conditions, weed size and crop stage, which means they can get spraying done faster and more efficiently, with less down time’.