The future of weed management with a focus on bioherbicides

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The future of weed management with a focus on bioherbicides

Weed management remains an important intervention throughout global food production systems and has been dominated for over 50 years by wide-spread use of effective conventional chemical herbicides. The technical success and the competitive pricing of this approach has limited the herbicide modes of actions in common use, and has led to weeds developing resistance mechanisms, rendering many chemical herbicides ineffective. There is also increasing concern and evidence for the unintended consequences and deleterious effects to human health and the environment from some chemical herbicides.

Biorational or biocontrol plant protection substances (derived from nature or nature-identical if synthesised), have a major role in sustainable farming systems: this is due to their favourable human safety and environmental profile, compatibility with other plant protection products and their fit into Integrated Pest Management (IPM). There is a strong potential for biorationals with typical market forecasts tracking a compound growth of at least 12%. The potential of bioherbicides is now being unlocked with simplified and faster regulation, good manufacturing processes, better formulation and shelf-life, and use of supporting (digital, precision) technology. AgBioScout research has revealed that over 250 bioherbicide substances have been investigated, over 45 patents filed and over 45 products registered.

The market opportunity for bioherbicides is clear. Sustainable agriculture needs support with biorational options now; new technologies with potential have been identified and are awaiting investment.

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