Please can you describe your role and key responsibilities at Dow AgroSciences
I am the Global Product Development Leader for the DAS Cereals and Broadleaf Crop GBLMT meaning that I manage the R&D investment strategy and technical aspects of existing products alongside new product development. Additionally I am the Global Biology Team Leader for Arylex™ active.
Can you outline how the R&D process works at DAS?
New product development is driven by a process called Create Product Success (CPS). This process integrates all functions, both in R&D and commercial, towards efficiently delivering new products that meets customer needs. It also ensures that there are no surprises at launch. The CPS process defines specific roles and accountability for project deliverables, key activities for each stage, timing and sequence of tasks, and key decision points. Created almost 20 years ago in Europe CPS is now the basis for all DAS projects, including pipeline molecules and line extensions.
What do you see as being the key milestones in the history of DAS over the last 10 years?
Certainly the launches of ‘blockbuster’ products such as Aminopyralid (R&P, cereals), Pyroxsulam (cereals), Spinetoram (chewing insects), and Isoclast (sucking insects) were key milestones. The development and launch of the widely adopted input traits such as Herculex™, SmartStax™, PowerCore™, and WideStrike™ transformed insect control in corn, soybeans and cotton. The launch of Omega-9 oil platform Nexera™ canola (oilseed rape) and sunflower transformed the healthy cooking oil industry. And the discovery of new technologies such as Arylex (cereals) and Rinskor™ (rice) herbicides, and Inatreq™ active cereal fungicide have also been key.
What was the original reason for the research programme that lead to Arylex?
DAS has always been a leader in synthetic auxin herbicides. Since weeds have a low propensity for developing resistance to this complex mode of action we believed there was still room for innovation in this area. The research program had several goals, such as improving the potency and consistency of control, weed spectrum and environmental fate aspects.
How long has the process taken?
The research programme started in the late 1990’s with a breakthrough in a new area of chemistry (arylpicolinates) found in our discovery labs. It took almost eight years of systematic research to find the right set of attributes found in the discovery of Arylex. Then it took an additional nine years of product development before the first commercial launch in 2014.
What have been the key markers along the way?
We first began testing Arylex in the field in 2006. After the initial characterisation DAS made the decision to commercialise Arylex in 2009. The global AI regulatory package was completed in 2012 with submissions in Europe and several other countries. Then the first approvals were confirmed in 2014 (Australia, Canada, China), and EU annex 1 registration in 2015.
What do you see as the key benefits of Arylex?
Arylex comes from a new class of synthetic auxins, the ‘arylpicolinates’, which provides unique attributes in comparison to other auxin herbicides. These include control at a very low dose (5-6 g/ha), a wide window of application on cereal crops, consistent control even in cold conditions and quick dissipation in the environment enabling growers to rotate crops. Taking a global perspective, Arylex can replace higher use rate auxin herbicides for the control of a variety of difficult to control weeds including: Amaranthus retroflexis (AMARE), Chenopodium album (CHEAL), Capsella bursa-pastoris (CAPBP), Galium spp.(GALAP, GALSP), Galeopsis tetrahit (GAETE), Conzya spp. (ERISS), Descurainia sophia (DESSO), Fumaria officinalis (FUMOF), Geranium spp. (GERSS), Ambrosia artemisiifolia (AMBEL), Papaver rhoeas (PAPRH) and Lamium spp. (LAMAM, LAMPU). Its auxinic mode-of-action (HRAC Group O) provides control of ALS and glyphosate resistant species.
Where (globally) do you think that Arylex will have the greatest impact?
Arylex is being developed for all cereal growing geographies around the world but in terms of weed spectrum fit and fulfilling grower needs I would say it will have the biggest impact in Europe. An additional important use will be in burn down, just ahead of row crops grown under minimum tillage. The explosion of glyphosate and ALS resistant Conyza species (ERICA, ERIBO, ERISU) has become a rapidly emerging issue across the corn and soybean growing regions of Latin and North America. Arylex is particularly effective in controlling all biotypes as a pre-plant burn-down application. Texaro™ *burn down herbicide launched in Argentina in 2015 saw farmers rapidly adopt and apply the product on over 600,000 hectares.
For which particular resistant weeds is Arylex effective?
Arylex is particularly effective on ALS resistant PAPRH (in Europe), DESSO (in China), and GALSP (in Canada). It is also very effective on ALS and glyphosate resistant AMBEL, CHEAL and ERISS.
What are the key crops that Arylex should be used on and how does this differ from continent to continent or region to region?
Arylex can be applied to all varieties of winter and spring cereals such as wheat, durum wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and triticale anywhere where it is registered on those crops. It is also safe on winter oats in some countries, when applied at lower doses. It is being developed and registered as a pre-plant burndown just ahead of soybeans, corn and cotton in North and South American countries. There is a product called ForageMax™ * that can be used on fodder brassicas in Australia. And DAS is also developing uses for orchard floor weed control in certain tree crops in Europe and several other regions.