Aug. 14, 2018
Weeds are a major source of yield losses for most cropping systems. According to various market research reports, herbicides account for 40% of the $50 billion global pesticide market. Of the approximately $7.2 billion chemical pesticides sold in the U.S. each year, nearly $4 billion are chemical herbicides.
Grower surveys repeatedly show that weed control is the number one cost of organic food production since chemical herbicides are not allowed. In organic growing systems, herbicide options are extremely limited, consisting almost entirely of non-selective soaps and acids that typically require repeat applications, lack residual activity, only affect plant areas into which they come in direct contact, and sometimes cost more than hand weeding. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic food sales reached $45 billion in the U.S. and is the fastest growing segment of food, growing an average of 9.1% annually since 2008.
MBI-014 is a water dispersible microbial herbicide made from a new species of heat-killed bacteria, Burkholderia rinojensis (strain A396). This new herbicide has a novel mode of action per research conducted at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. While additional development work and field trials need to be conducted, MBI-014 could prove to be a valuable new tool for weed control when used in conjunction with other herbicides in a grower’s integrated pest management (IPM) program.
MBI-014 demonstrates post-emergent herbicidal activity across a range of weeds in laboratory and field tests. It shows evidence of uptake and moderate movement through different plant tissues. MBI-014 is most effective on some of the most serious weeds, some of which have developed resistance to multiple herbicide classes, such as palmer amaranth, waterhemp and others in the pigweed family (Amaranthacae).
“We are excited about what we have seen so far in the development of MBI-014,” said Amit Vasavada, Senior Vice President of R&D and Chief Technology Officer at Marrone Bio Innovations. “We do have more work to do in order to determine such things as appropriate doses on key target weeds, water volume required, adjuvant package needed and further expansion of the spectrum of targeted weeds.”
Sources of cited information: Phillips McDougall Agribusiness Intelligence, Weed Science Society of America, University of Missouri, Organic Trade Association, Organic Farming Research Foundation, USDA.