Demand for pesticides on the rise

The value of pesticide active ingredients used in the United States is forecasted to rise 4 percent each year to make the total $10.5 billion in 2006. These potential gains are based mainly on an ongoing shift towards more sophisticated products, biopesticides and reduced-risk pesticides, many of which are relatively expensive. Volume demand will increase slightly, even though it will continue to be limited by the ongoing trends to use more specialized formulations that are effective at lower usage rates. Volume will also be affected by increased planting of insect-resistant crop strains and other genetically modified organisms.

Biopesticides are expected to reach a market size of more than $500 million in 2006. They serve as replacements for conventional insecticides and fungicides, many of which are being lost for regulatory reasons. Encouraging the development of biopesticides, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a less difficult registration process — its Reduced-Risk Program — lowering the time it takes to register a product to less than a year compared with an average of more than three years.

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Herbicides and insecticides will remain the leading product types, representing 80 percent of demand, despite less-than-average growth. Fungicides will see growth opportunities because the average per-acre usage rates will continue to increase, while herbicide usage rates will remain steady or, in some cases, decline somewhat.

Perhaps the most promising developments are reduced-risk pesticides and chiral versions of existing pesticide actives. Glyphosate is the best-known reduced-risk active. Chiral actives are variations of existing actives designed to enhance their performance traits while eliminating harmful effects. However, these pesticide production processes are more expensive and not all chemicals are suitable for chiral technology.
Source: The Freedonia Group, Inc.

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