The level of past industry participation in registering herbicide minor crop uses has been a function of active ingredient discovery output and the combination of incentives and barriers that drive minor use registration decisions. Over the past 10 yr there have been several external factors negatively impacting the rate of new herbicide introductions by industry. These include industry consolidation, a decrease in the global value of the conventional herbicide market, adoption of Herbicide-Resistant Crop (HRC) technology, a substantial increase in required regulatory activity primarily through reregistration programs, and increased costs of discovery research and product development. The increased cost of conducting business in an increasingly competitive market has undoubtedly influenced herbicide registrants to adopt different discovery strategies. Economics dictate registration efforts only towards crops that will create a significant, positive return on investment. In most cases, development of new herbicides for minor crops is not economically viable due to low or negative return on investment and disproportionate liability risk. Therefore, to motivate increased participation, companies need incentives and mechanisms to mitigate risk and registration barriers. Increased data protection and the Interregional Project 4 (IR-4) program, a cooperative government program with the goal of developing data to support regulatory clearances of pest control products for specialty crops, are current government programs in place that provide incentives and defray cost. Other incentives should be explored to make minor crops more attractive targets. However, product registration, liability risk, and dedicating the necessary resources to adequately research crop selectivity are still major economic barriers. Creative solutions that ensure companies are not unreasonably exposed to yield loss claims would remove a primary reason why companies are reluctant to register herbicides for minor crops.
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Vol. 22 • No. 2