Biopesticides Primed for Growth

Originally published at Farm Chemicals International, by Jackie Pucci

Biopesticides Primed for Growth

“Big things have small beginnings,” is the famous quote from classic flick Lawrence of Arabia. For biopesticides, the maxim holds true: They are confined to the fruit and vegetable fields no longer.

As more major multinationals have jumped into the biopesticides arena, more suppliers, and larger suppliers, mean wider distribution and deeper market penetration of naturally derived products in years to come – especially in coveted row crop areas like the U.S. Midwest and the Brazilian Cerrado.


Ziv Tirosh, CEO of Stockton Group; Photo courtesy Stockton Group

“That [fruits and vegetables] was a great starting point,” Ziv Tirosh, CEO of Israel-based Stockton Group, maker of Timorex Gold biofungicide, said in an interview with Farm Chemicals International. “But the heart and soul of our food chain is row crops, and it’s a different ball game in terms of economics and application rates. Nevertheless, Stockton and other biopesticide companies are working hard at creating biopesticides that will work economically on row crops.”

The biologicals buying spree by agchem companies large and small swept the industry almost as fast as the spread of weed resistance. From Bayer’s trendsetting purchase of AgraQuest for nearly $500 million to BASF’s $1.02 billion acquisition of Becker Underwood to Monsanto’s $300 million investment in Novozymes in their so-called BioAg Alliance (to name a few), the value and potential of these products are not only being recognized but sought after. Twenty years ago, who could have imagined the current scenario?

For biopesticide companies, multinationals’ growing appetite for their products means immediate global market access and far greater resources to support product R&D, registration, manufacturing and marketing, among other prime opportunities. Easier regulatory also makes them attractive, with the typical timeframe being three to four years versus nine to 10 years, and not even 1/10 of the $250 million cost to register a traditional crop chemical.

“The interest of global crop protection companies to invest in biologicals will certainly enhance market acceptance and market penetration, especially in fruits and vegetables, but also in row crops, for example in the U.S. and Brazil,” said Utz Klages, Bayer CropScience spokesman.

Tirosh added, “There’s no doubt that the continued adoption of biopesticides by multinationals means that penetration into mainstream spray programs will continue at a rapid pace and clearly this will add to the exploration of value into row crops.”

None of this is to say that incorporating biopesticides is an automatic easy transition for traditional crop protection companies – far from it.


Dr. Mark Trimmer; photo courtesy DunhamTrimmer

Challenges include biopesticides’ more demanding manufacturing and logistics, and the need to learn how to evaluate, develop and market the products, according to Dr. Mark Trimmer of the consultancy DunhamTrimmer. Training field staff is key. “Traditional crop protection companies will need to adjust their sales and marketing approaches to succeed with biologicals,” Trimmer said in an interview.

“Biopesticide benefits, such as residue and resistance management, are optimized when used in programs in combination with conventional chemistry,” he said. “Those companies that integrate biologicals into their thinking and train their field sales teams to promote them effectively will have an advantage.”

Big Growth and the ‘Wal-Mart Factor’

Bill Stoneman, executive director of the Biopesticides Industry Alliance, pointed out that it would seem that few biological companies would be left to acquire, but instead, he said more have sprouted up in the wake of the buying spree. Companies are also increasingly reaching out to seed treatment players to bulk up their portfolios and boost biopesticide consumption, such as Syngenta’s Clariva biological seed treatment nematicide based on technology it acquired from Pasteuria Bioscience in 2012.

Another recent example: In March, Bayer acquired Biagro Group, an Argentinian producer and distributor of biological seed treatment solutions especially in soybeans. Bayer is set to further expand its seed treatment business, known as SeedGrowth, by offering “an attractive and high-quality on-seed portfolio based on products, coatings, equipment and services,” said Matthias Haug, head of Bayer SeedGrowth.

Biopesticides still represent only about 3.5% or $1.93 billion of the $53 billion global crop protection market, according to DunhamTrimmer. That is up from $1 billion five years ago and $500 million a decade ago. The industry is highly fragmented, with more than 200 companies operating globally and the top 20 of those accounting for two-thirds of the market. Compare that with traditional crop protection market, in which the Big 6 eat up more than 72% of total sales.

The biopesticide industry rose more than 15% last year, and the trend is expected to continue. Pamela Marrone, founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, said her company outpaced that growth with more than doubling of sales. “The growth drivers of using biologicals for residue and resistance management and where chemicals are restricted or not allowed, will continue,” she said. Further, she noted that biologicals can be used right up to harvest to manage residues, are produced using agricultural raw materials and aid in reducing water use in crop production. There is also the Wal-Mart factor: They can help large food companies and retailers meet their sustainability goals, and help meet consumers’ requirements for health and wellness.

Pam Marrone, founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations

Pam Marrone, founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations

The launches move along at a fast clip. Marrone is rolling out one to new products per year and expanding its existing products, including Grandevo bioinsecticide and Regalia biofungicide, which snapped up five new registrations in Latin America last year and ran a successful test launch for plant health in corn and soybeans last year. “We are expanding its acreage in 2014 and moving into canola, wheat and rice. We also found that Regalia’s mode of action for resistance management and bee safety gave it a boost in California almonds,” she said.

Following this spring’s debut of Venerate bioinsecticide, Marrone is also set to launch Haven, a product that reduces transpiration, resulting in crop yield increase. In less than a year, the company built a fermentation manufacturing plant for making Grandevo, and in June, it closed on $40 million follow-on stock offering. “These new funds allow us to accelerate moving our active ingredients into seed treatments, further international expansion and to expand the pipeline,” Marrone said.

Stockton Group’s Tirosh summed up the industry’s generally optimistic outlook: “We are still in the very initial era of penetration of biopesticides and their full adoption into spray programs … We have enough value already to make this into a solid shift.”

Summit Agro becomes the Exclusive Partner of STK in the USA

Summit Agro will distribute STK Botanical Biopesticides and Innovative ‘Hybrids’ in the USA April 15,  (Petach Tikvah, Israel) – STK bio-ag technologies, the innovative Israeli leader in botanical sustainable crop protection, has partnered with Summit Agro U.S.A., which will become the exclusive distributor of STK products in the United States. Effective immediately, Summit Agro USA will assume the marketing and sales responsibility for STK products in the USA.  Currently registered STK products, include TIMOREX GOLD® and Timorex ACT®.  TIMOREX GOLD® is the world’s leading botanical-based biofungicide, used in nearly 40 countries and currently approved for use throughout the USA for a wide range of uses.  Timorex ACT®, is a new OMRI – listed biofungicide for organic farming and conventional agriculture.  Pending registration is REGEV®. REGEV® is the first ‘hybrid’ pre-mixed combination of a botanical-based biopesticide with a chemical pesticide. Comprised of Tee Tree Oil (TTO) and Difenoconazole, REGEV® is already used in approximately 15 countries and has proven activity on a wide range of horticultural and row crops. EPA registration is anticipated in the first quarter of 2020.   In addition to the STK products, Summit Agro will also assume the STK non-exclusive rights to sell AVIV® biological fungicide in the US. Already successfully launched in the US, AVIV® offers broad spectrum disease control in key fruit and vegetable crops. CEO Arye Tennebaum of STK declared, “I am delighted to announce this partnership with Summit Agro. They are a world-class organization, with a great team of highly knowledgeable and dedicated professionals to help fruit and vegetable growers with STK’s cutting edge technologies for plant health and yield growth.”   The President and CEO of Summit Agro USA, Bill Lewis, also commented, stating,” Summit Agro is very excited with this opportunity.  The addition of the STK brands to the existing strong Summit Agro brand family will allow Summit Agro to offer a wide range of disease control options.   We are confident that in coordination with our exclusive distribution partners, Helena Agri Enterprises and the Tenkoz Member Companies, we will be able to effectively deliver STK’s  innovative biological and ‘hybrid’ solutions to growers all across the USA. We know these are outstanding products and we’re very proud to have been selected to represent them in the USA.” About STK Founded in 1994, STK is a bio-ag technology company committed to sustainable crop protection through the use of innovative biological products. STK’s botanical-based solutions (BBS), a synergy of cutting-edge scientific research and technology, enhance the safety, yield and quality of multiple crops. STK’s botanical and hybrid solutions are easily integrated into conventional spraying programs, helping to advance the Integrated Pest Management approach to food production. About Summit Agro Summit Agro USA, located in Durham, NC is focused on working with our partners to identify, develop, and deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of growers across the United States.  Summit Agro has a history of bringing innovative solutions to market and can manage the full process from initial development to sales. This integrated business approach enables us to provide reliable, high-quality products to US growers.  Whether the need is for insecticides, fungicides, or herbicides, Summit Agro has a full range of product offers to meet the needs of our customers.

Exclusive Distribution Agreement Announced For STK In Colombia

March 11, 2019 (Tel Aviv, Israel) – STK bio – ag technologies, the innovative Israel-based leader in bio-ag technologies and hybrid technologies for sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, and ADAMA , a global leader in crop protection products,  are announcing an exclusive agreement for the distribution of Timorex® Gold botanical-based bio-fungicide and STK REGEV® ‘Hybrid’ fungicide throughout Colombia. Under this exclusive agreement, ADAMA will sell the products throughout Colombia under STK’s trade name, Timorex® Gold and  STK REGEV®. Timorex® Gold is currently approved for use in Colombia for the following crops: Bananas, Rice, Ornamentals, Tomatoes, Avocados, Onions, Coffee, Corn, Tobacco, Potatoes, Passion fruit and Pitahaya. Colombia has also approved STK REGEV® on rice, with expected label extension on bananas, ornamentals, coffee and tomatoes. TIMOREX GOLD® is a highly effective and popular botanical-based bio-fungicide. Based on Tea Tree Oil, TIMOREX GOLD® is used by growers in nearly 40 countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia/New Zealand and Israel. TIMOREX GOLD® protects fruits and vegetables from a wide variety of diseases, substantially increases crop yields and quality, leaves no chemical residues, and makes TIMOREX GOLD® treated crops more competitive and agriculture more sustainable internationally. STK REGEV® is the world’s first ‘hybrid’ fungicide. It is used successfully in many countries and several regions of the world.  A ready to use mix, STK REGEV® is used exactly as other fungicides, but with the added benefits of reduced chemical residues and much better resistance management due to its highly complex formulation of Tea Tree Oil and Difenoconazole. This easy  to use fungicide serves as a ‘bridge,’ enabling farmers who have never used any biological product to try one, without having to mix, rotate or do anything differently, thereby expanding the use of biological products for sustainable agriculture. Commenting on the Agreement, STK CEO, Arye Tenenbaum declared, “We are very pleased to be partnering with such a great company as ADAMA, whose world-class team of experts will promote the use of these exceptionally innovative and highly-effective biological products to Colombian growers." ADAMA Andeans Countries CEO, Edgardo Iglesias commented, “TIMOREX GOLD® and STK REGEV® complement ADAMA’s portfolio in Colombia. With these highly-advanced technologies, we aim to continue providing valuable services and products to enable farmers to optimize yields and help them grow." STK Colombia Country Manager, Jose A. Estevez added, “I have great expectations for this strategic agreement to accelerate the STK market penetration and sales growth in Colombia.”


STK & Sipcam announce an exclusive Distribution Agreement for Timorex® Gold botanical-based biofungicide in Spain January 23, 2019 (Petach Tikvah, Israel) - STK bio – ag technologies, the innovative Israel-based leader in bio-ag technologies for sustainable agriculture, and Sipcam , a global leader in crop protection products,  are announcing an exclusive agreement for the distribution and market development  of Timorex® Gold bio fungicide throughout Spain. Under this exclusive agreement, Sipcam Iberia will market and sell the product throughout Spain under STK’s trade name, Timorex® Gold. Timorex® Gold is currently approved for use in Spain on cucumber and zucchini, with label extensions applied for grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins and gherkins. Timorex® Gold is a highly- effective, eco-friendly, Maximum Residue Level exempted premium biofungicide, meeting the highest standards for sustainable agriculture. Timorex® Gold’s unique mode of action protects plants by rupturing fungus cells, increasing overall plant health and yields for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Timorex® Gold works to protect plants from Botrytis, Powdery Mildew, Black Sigatoka and many other fungal and bacterial diseases. While Timorex® Gold is currently used by growers in over 30 countries in various regions, Spain is the first country is Western Europe to approve its use. The plan is for Timorex® Gold to enter the rest of the Western Europe over the next few years. According to STK CEO Arye Tenenbaum, “The collaboration between STK bio – ag technologies & Sipcam Iberia is a testament to both companies’ commitment to sustainable agriculture and our mutual goal of providing innovative, effective and environmentally friendly solutions to growers. “  Sipcam CEO Pablo Montañés declared, “Sipcam has a rigorous process for identifying the most innovative and effective biological products and companies for distribution partnership.  We look forward to our collaboration with STK and rolling out Timorex® Gold with great success bringing a highly-effective new tool to hundreds of Spanish growers, completing the already interesting Sipcam portfolio in bioprotection.”