Dow Crop Defense: Stand Out in the Field with Dow
May. 24, 2017
- Grace Yuan
Grace Yuan, editor of AgroPages. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AgroPages recently interviewed Dr. Rui Vogt Alves da Cruz, R&D Director for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company, and Lili Wu, Asia Pacific Marketing Manager for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company, to seek their views on Dow Crop Defense’s global presence, product series, competitive advantages, as well as future development planning etc.
“Dow Chemical has been serving the agrochemical industry for decades, and about two years ago we officially launched a dedicated business, Dow Crop Defense, as a leading chemical partner to enable production of actives and formulations that enhance grower yields,” said Dr. Rui Vogt Alves da Cruz, R&D Director for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company.
“Dow Crop Defense is a global solutions provider of inert and additive agrochemical ingredients for both adjuvants and pesticides with in-depth product performance expertise to meet specific needs of our customers by customized solutions and global supply capabilities,” he said.
“Now, Dow Crop Defense has established a global presence in the agrochemicals market, served customer needs around the world, so our marketing plans must reflect local and regional issues, for instance, based on different performance standards, crop types, and market conditions. We have strong activities in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Talking about this region, our major markets are China, Japan and Australia. And we are also expanding our market quickly in South East Asian countries such as Indonesia and Viet Nam. We are dynamic and pro-active in all the geographies in terms of market participation and development, technical services, market presence,” Dr. Cruz stated.
Third from left: Dr. Rui Vogt Alves da Cruz, R&D Director for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company
Second from left: Lili Wu, Asia Pacific Marketing Manager for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company
Wide Array of Capabilities
With regard to the competitive advantages, Dr. Cruz said that Dow Crop Defense has a number of core competencies to offer solutions to adjuvants customers. For instance, Dow brings many decades of solvent and surfactant expertise across a broad range of chemistries that have modeling capabilities for Dow and non-Dow products to capably solve leading industry problems.
Dow Industrial Solutions has more than 130 Technical Service & Development employees in 8 R&D labs globally with more than 80 years of solid experience and understanding in applications. Dow provides holistic technical support for pesticide formulations, such as product support, a formulation guide, product development and specification support. Dow pioneers applying High-Throughput (HTR) R&D platform to the screening of pesticide formulations, thus greatly improving research efficiency and effectively reducing human errors. The HTR platform is capable of conducting many tests, such as solubility/compatibility, solubilization, suspension stability, emulsion stability, surface tension/CMC, rheology, foam generation and stability, freeze-thaw stability, wetting performance, and optical clarity.
“Technology is one of key advantages of Dow, both in terms of product portfolios we have, which are very diverse, broad and tech-integrated. But, also in terms of new developments and capabilities, we work closely with customers. One of the best examples is China. We have a local team on the forefront using HTR research to help our customers develop new formulations faster. We have capabilities globally and our team in Shanghai was the first to start using it more and more, to quickly help our customers develop new formulations. We have complete product lines, not just products, but total solutions. Dow has the surfactants, solvents, etc. that can be used in agrochemical formulations. Also, some products can be used to produce active ingredients. Along this value chain, Dow can provide the complete solutions for pesticide customers. That is also one of the advantages over other competitors in the market. It really is the whole portfolio of Dow, so some of the solutions we are offering our customers right now are the chemistries that come from other parts of Dow in applications such as coatings and cleaning,. We took those techniques and adapted to the need of our customers in the agrochemical industry,” Dr. Cruz stressed.
Ample Portfolio of Products Lead Industry Trend
Dow Crop Defense offers a broad range of surfactant products for adjuvants, and certainly offers a host of oxygenated solvents, amines, and chelants for the crop protection and fertilizers markets. Dow operates across a wide variety of industries, and has successfully leveraged product technology and application knowledge from other Dow businesses to develop solutions for agrochemicals as well.
In the last couple years, Dow Crop Defense has launched a new surfactant line called ECOSURF™ EH series, which provides great wetting and penetration in adjuvants formulations. Last year Dow Crop Defense proudly launched the POWERBLOX™ series of dispersants, a general-purpose type with good dispersion performance, high suspension rate and good wetting ability. This year, Dow Crop Defense launched POWERBLOX™ SV-33 and SV-92 solvents to meet increasingly stringent regulations and aiming to provide green alternative solutions for customers. And Dow will soon introduce additional chemistries into the product line.
“Regarding the future development trend of the products, the most important trend we see is sustainability. That has been guiding a lot of our product development work. Sustainability by finding products that will work with lower concentrations, products which are more environmentally friendly. We see this as a wonderful opportunity since our overall products development work has been precisely addressing sustainability, developing biodegradable surfactants, solvents, and amines with better ecotoxicity profiles,” Dr. Cruz noted.
Ecotox safety is for manufacturers, farmers, and growers as well as the environment. The trend brings additional opportunities for Dow to launch ingredients with favorable ecotox profiles to deliver high performing, cost-effective formulations.
Dow has a very strong focus on sustainability and introduced its 2025 Sustainability Goals in 2015 wherein Dow wishes to redefine the role of business in society. There are seven goals under three broader sustainability pillars and Dow Crop Defense is well aligned with two goals: Increasing confidence in chemical technology and valuing nature. For example, Dow’s POWERBLOX™ SV-33 and SV-92 provide excellence dissolving ability to unlock the power of agrochem formulation. The solutions offer favorable toxicity and better EH&S performance as well as ready biodegradation to minimize the impact to soil.
“Another trend we see is cost optimization. Our solutions help deliver the active ingredients in a more efficient way so perhaps there are fewer applications, using less in the environment. So we are getting more and more performance out of the same amount of money, which allows our customers and farmers to save in the whole value chain,” Dr. Cruz said.
Collaborative Innovation for a Sustainable Future
“Dow, as a global provider, is not fixed on business models and it depends on the market. For example, we have both direct sales or we sell via channel partners. Dow Crop Defense partners with customers, often working on specific customer projects under a confidentiality agreement. For both direct sale and selling through channel partners, we are always there to help our customers develop solutions for farmers. That is our mission and our role in the value chain,” Lili Wu, Asia Pacific Marketing Manager for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company.
In the agrochemical industry, there are two different types of players, patent and post-patent companies. For patent companies, they have strong capabilities to develop new molecules. The collaboration with them usually focuses on developing new actives, and even new formulation types. For post-patent companies, the requirements usually focus on how to support formulation development. Take Chinese customers as an example, they are facing strong competition. So they have a lot of ideas of bringing different AI mixtures together, which will result in issues like compatibility and stability, which require support for formulation development. For example, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is emerging in China market in recently, the suitable new formulation type and adjuvant solution to solve compatibility, anti-evaporation and drift control issues are required from market. Dow are working with industry to provide solution to serve this new area.
Besides above two models, Dow also started to collaborate with biopesticide companies which is another a new important trend in the agrochemical industry.
“Dow Crop Defense is one of our important businesses. We expect considerable growth from expanding our product line, share gain and working with our customers on new innovation. We have been investing a lot in developing new products and increasing our research and market capabilities for ongoing growth.
In addition, we expect that this market will continue to face tough challenges, such as regulatory pressures and weed-resistant crops that usher in new combinations of active ingredients, and the industry will need to look for new solutions to address these problems, and Dow Crop Defense is your single source for enhanced formulations” Dr. Cruz expressed.
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