UK-based agronomy company Agrovista is stepping up the marketing of its Discovery range of spray application aids across Europe, after rolling out a successful development program across its home territory.
The move follows a comprehensive series of trials across continental Europe that have demonstrated the value of Discovery products in enhancing the efficacy of plant protection products across a range of crops and climates.
This has reinforced findings from up to two decades of research work and commercial use in the UK, and more recently, in northwest Europe.
Many leading UK growers now use Discovery products as a matter of course to maximize the potential of their agrochemical applications. This market alone is understood to be worth several millions of pounds to Agrovista.
Peter McDonald, Agrovista’s head of commercial strategy and Discovery Europe, believes there is considerable market potential to be tapped in the target countries, which include Central Europe, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
“Discovery products are an increasingly important and growing part of Agrovista’s business, and the brand has the potential to become very significant indeed,” McDonald says.
He adds, “We have had a presence for some 10 years in north-west Europe, and two to five years in the target countries—all at different stages. We estimate European revenues have the capacity to be five times that of the UK, perhaps more in the longer term.”
A breakthrough currently looks as achievable at any time in the recent past. “We believe growers in these countries will be just as receptive as the UK, perhaps more so, given that commodity prices in continental Europe are currently under a lot of pressure,” McDonald says.
“They can see what we have achieved in the UK, and that’s pretty impressive. By enhancing the effects of agrochemical products, our Discovery range can deliver significant increases in yield for a relatively modest outlay, valuable at any time and particularly when returns are being squeezed,” he adds.
In addition, proven spray application aids, such as Discovery products, are set to play a more important role in growers’ spray programs. “Several active ingredients are under pressure, both from the legislators and pathogen resistance,” McDonald says.
“Some will disappear, others will be subjected to tighter dose restrictions. We need to ensure we can extract maximum performance from the chemistry that remains. We know that pesticide efficacy is affected by poor water quality, and reduced by poor application and inadequate coverage, retention and uptake on the target surface. Discovery products overcome these challenges, improving the level of control and increasing yields,” he adds.
Agrovista has selected three products to spearhead the European campaign. Companion Gold, which claims the largest market share of any adjuvant in the UK, is a multi-functional adjuvant and pod sealant most often used with glyphosate. Remix is an additive that improves the performance of residual herbicides and Velocity is designed to improve the coverage and uptake of fungicides (see panel for further details).
“Each Discovery product undergoes a rigorous pan-European research and development program prior to launch,” McDonald says. “We put great emphasis on conducting quality trials with our distribution partners and respected research organizations in each country we market. This way we can ensure consistent performance and efficacy.”
Discovery products are manufactured by Agrovista UK. The company’s roots were firmly established over 60 years ago, yet it still maintains its traditional values of professionalism, cutting edge technology, and customer service, he says.
“As an adjuvant and fertiliser manufacturer, as well as a major crop protection distributor, we are uniquely placed in our understanding of the agrochemical market. We recognize that the face of agriculture is changing rapidly and are equipped to respond to these changes before they happen – not when it is too late,” he adds.
The business is part of Agrovista BV, a leading European organization in the field, itself part of the international Marubeni Corporation, which has representative offices and is well known in all of the countries where Agrovista is looking to expand.
“We work very closely with Marubeni in these new markets,” he says. “Most people won’t have heard of Agrovista, but being part of Marubeni, prospective clients will know we are a reliable and trusted partner they will be comfortable doing business with.”
Each Discovery product has completed a multi-year pan-European R&D screen to ensure efficacy.
This includes laboratory studies and high-quality trials conducted across a range of sites throughout Europe, from Turkey to Lithuania and from France to Russia, including Agrovista’s 30ha site at Stoughton and a large-scale herbicide site at Maidwell in the East Midlands region of the UK.
This geographical spread encompasses a wide range of soil types, climatic conditions and crops, including cereals, maize, oilseeds, pulses, sugar beet and potatoes, ensuring Discovery products have been tested to perform in all market locations.
To ensure maximum performance, Agrovista has designed and developed its own self-propelled sprayers (Figure 1), enabling researchers to test products and methodology under replicated farm conditions.
Figure 1. Agrovista's self-propelled sprayers
Research is carried out and evaluated by Agrovista’s own trials team, universities, government research institutes, and leading contract trials organizations.
In addition, Agrovista works in conjunction with the world-renowned NIAB-TAG Silsoe Spray Applications Unit to optimize practical spray advice.
• Spray application aids
• Tank-mixed spray additives and adjuvants
• Designed to enhance plant protection product efficacy
• Targeted formulations, focused by pesticide requirement
• Improved spray application
• Supported by pan-European R&D program
• Comprehensive efficacy data to support use
Key Discovery products
Companion Gold is the perfect partner for glyphosate and can also be used as a pod sealant in oilseed rape and legumes.
This multi-function adjuvant is a tallow-amine-free formulation containing a blend of drift-reducing polyacrylamide polymers, pH buffers, water conditioners, antifoam agents and humectants.
Companion Gold has been proven over many years to significantly enhance the performance of glyphosate (Figure 2). More recent trials suggest those benefits could be even greater when using the new tallow-amine-free glyphosate formulations, which Agrovista trials suggest may be less effective at controlling grass weeds under challenging timings.
Remix is designed specifically to enhance the performance of residual herbicides. It contains a unique blend of highly refined paraffinic oil, hexahydric alcohol ethoxylates and long-chain fatty acids.
The product reduces spray drift, ensures even deposition of the spray over the soil surface and increases adsorption to soil particles, reducing crop effects, while increasing residual weed control.
Over the past 10 years, the addition of Remix to a residual herbicide stack has improved black-grass control by 11% in Agrovista trials.
Velocity is designed to enhance fungicide application and efficacy in a range of crops. It reduces spray drift, ensuring accurate spray deposition over the target surface.
Organosilicone surfactants ensure complete coverage, while humectants slow droplet drying. Fatty acid methyl esters improve penetration though the outer waxy layers of the leaves.
Results from eight fully replicated trials across Europe over a four-year period using the label dose have shown that adding Velocity can reduce fusarium levels by half, compared with straight fungicide when applied at the key early flowering spray timing.
Adding Velocity also allows spray volumes to be halved in certain situations without any loss of efficacy.
Figure 2. Companion Gold has been proven over many years to significantly enhance the performance of glyphosate
* For further details on Agrovista’s Discovery range, please go to www.discovery-eu.com
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