All Eyes On PGRs

As in every other segment of the industry, competition is on the rise in the plant growth regulator (PGR) market, especially with the emerging generic molecules coming on the market as primary tools go off patent. But more competition is good news for growers, with more options available to source active ingredients, as well as improved formulations, broadened application technology and increased technical support from companies vying for business. New patented chemistries also continue to be developed to meet market needs.

To assess the situation, we asked several reputable PGR suppliers for their take on the current status of PGRs as we know them, as well as what to expect in the future. 

What is your reaction to the increasing development of off-patent PGRs?

Chemtura: Reasonable alternatives are typically good for the industry in general. However, too many of the same PGRs fighting for the same market can dilute product value, sales revenue and, thereby, the resources needed for research to improve and support current products and to develop new and improved products for the future.

Valent: It’s a very competitive marketplace and Valent sees off-patent products increasing in all segments of the industry — not just PGRs but herbicides, fungicides, etc.

OHP: We certainly understand that growers need to look at anything that is going to improve their bottom line. But the ultimate cost of use oftentimes goes a lot deeper than that. It depends upon the overall service package the company offers. It depends upon what additional innovations or developments a company can bring, along with an active ingredient itself. 

How is your company addressing off-patent products?

Chemtura: We believe we have the best PGR technical expertise and trial database in the industry through many years of PGR development and support, provided to distributors and growers through our PGRx support platform, sales and TSS associates, and Chemtura’s investment in the academic community. This adds significant value to both Paczol and B-Nine.

Valent: Valent continues to focus on what we can do to provide value to our customer through such avenues as our professional sales representative, technical support from our field market development managers, educational programs, unique packaging and university research. The drive is to differentiate our products and our company by offering superior products and services.

OHP: PGRs are probably one of the most complex areas because often there’s as much applied knowledge as there is hard and fast rules for using PGRs. And obviously there’s been a significant amount of novel application methods of PGRs over the last couple of years. That’s driving innovation to use applications for all the PGRs along with it. 

How will off-patent PGR products affect crops and production cycles?

Chemtura: Assuming at least equal product purity, quality and other formulation characteristics, post-patent products should not affect crops or production cycles any differently than the original patented product. However, considering the power of PGRs and the cost of mistakes, growers need to be very careful and discerning in the products they use in their greenhouse and nursery operations.

Valent: Off-patent PGRs will have little to no influence on producing a crop. In most cases, the active ingredient is labeled and used by growers on the crop. 

What do you feel are the strongest PGR products on the market?

Chemtura: This can be looked at in two ways: 1) strongest in terms of versatility, in which case we would make a case for B-Nine, as it is an industry standard, easy to use (one rate range for all crops), phyto safe, a common denominator for tank mixing; 2) in terms of strongest activity, that would have to go to Sumagic — it has the lowest use rates and is active on all ornamental plants.

Valent: Valent’s Sumagic and Fascination are two exceptional PGRs. Sumagic produces a denser, more compact growth and darker green foliage, plus increased shelf life for plants. It can be used on a variety of crops from bedding plants to woody ornamentals to poinsettias. Fascination also significantly improves the shelf life and marketability of ornamental crops because it prevents leaves from yellowing and increases flower size and number.

OHP: It’s an issue of the entire value package that a product is providing, not just the active ingredients but the companies behind them. If we look at that, the leading PGRs in the marketplace today are the Bonzi brand, the B-Nine brand and the Cycocel brand. Those brands all contain leading active ingredients but they’re also supported by companies that service the products, optimize their use and continue developing new patterns for them.

Are growers more or less likely to use an off-patent product than a patented product?

Valent: Most growers will continue to use products that bring them value. And they will continue to use product that they are familiar with or have some comfort level with. PGRs are not something you just change from one day to another or from one crop to another. Most growers have learned how to use PGRs by diligently testing them for many years on many different crops under different environmental conditions.

Chemtura: Many growers prefer to use the original product but more are looking at post-patent alternatives for economic reasons.

OHP: Growers are going to look to products that will provide the greatest value and the greatest return for them. That being said, the lifeblood of this industry is new innovation, new varieties, new technology. But it’s got to have additional tech value and make sense economically. As new technology comes into the marketplace that is properly positioned and developed, growers are going to seek it out because it’s going to bring additional value to their bottom line. They’re going to compare that again to generic alternatives. But over time, it’s clear that the lifeblood of the industry is new development. 

Why is it important to continue adding new patented products to the marketplace?

Chemtura: Continued research and development is important with any chemicals. New and/or improved PGRs are required to address the changing needs of the grower community (new crops and varieties, new production cycles and methods).

Valent: New products are the lifeblood of any organization. Not only for a company’s survival but also for our customers’. New products offer new solutions and in the ornamental business, it is changing every day.

OHP: It brings innovation and we all are interested in new technologies to bring additional value. That only makes sense if it’s going to enhance a grower’s bottom line, to grow better and deliver a better product to the end user and do that more profitably.

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...

May 1, 2015

18 New Grasses To Grow

Ornamental grasses fit in with the needs of today’s landscapers and consumers better than ever. Whether your customers are looking for creative solutions for patio containers or a mass planting in a landscape, some of the 18 new varieties included here are sure to meet the need.

Read More

May 1, 2015

Restoration Landscapes: A Specialized Market For Natives And Grasses

Restoration landscapes, depending on their purpose, often require straight native species, along with a confirmation of their known provenance. Research is key in this area and good recordkeeping is a must.

Read More

April 30, 2015

North Creek Nurseries Welcomes Nikki Drake As New Financial Administrator

Nikki Drake will fill the role of new financial administrator at North Creek Nurseries, with responsibility for the accounting department. She will also serve on the strategic planning committee.

Read More
Latest Stories
Green Mum Basket

April 21, 2015

Growers Face Dilemma In Managing Plant Growth

Whether you’re applying plant growth regulators, manually pinching plants or using automated trimming, the most important thing is to find the right balance.

Read More

April 20, 2015

Three Michigan State University On-Demand Webinars Offe…

The first rule of effective insect and disease control for vegetables is to take action to prevent problems before they occur. But in order to do that, you need to have an effective pest and disease management strategy in place that incorporates best practices to ensure a successful outcome. Michigan State University offers three pest and disease management on-demand webinars that will get you started and keep you on the right track.

Read More

April 15, 2015

BASF’s Pageant Intrinsic Fungicide Registration A…

The state of California has approved the supplemental label registration of Pageant Intrinsic brand fungicide for disease control in the commercial production of greenhouse-grown tomatoes and tomato transplants for the home consumer market.

Read More
Egg card used for insect control in Parkway Garden’s retail area.

April 13, 2015

Biocontrols Use Requires Commitment

For some companies, a switch to biocontrols is an easy decision to make. Parkway Gardens of Ontario, Canada, began using biocontrols nine years ago after Erik Jacobsen, the company’s owner, wanted to expose Parkway, its customers and the environment to fewer pesticide products. “Many pesticides were increasingly ineffective, and in Canada, new product registration moves with glacial slowness,” Jacobsen says. “The labor cost of applying pesticides is much greater than using biocontrols.” In addition, it was also an opportunity to market the company’s eco-friendliness to a younger demographic, he says. In a Q & A with Greenhouse Grower, Jacobsen explains what biocontrols and methods have proved effective for Parkway Gardens Greenhouse Grower: In what types of greenhouse structures are you using biocontrols? Erik Jacobsen: Our greenhouses are all poly covered. About half the range is a Westbrook 14-foot at peak gutter-connected block, and the remaining half a mix of quonset-style […]

Read More

April 11, 2015

Lowe’s Announces Commitment To Phase Out Neonicotinoids…

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s companies announced April 9 that it has committed to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores in a gradual phase-out over the next 48 months. In response, horticulture industry associations issued a statement that Lowe’s position is surprising, considering the most recent and positive reports on the state of honeybee health and recent peer reviewed research, and that this is an issue for which sound science must take priority.

Read More

April 9, 2015

Survey Snapshot Shows Biocontrols Mainstreaming

Have you incorporated biocontrols into your greenhouse operation? If so, you’ve got plenty of company. An anonymous online survey by Greenhouse Grower magazine in December 2014 of more than 156 ornamental plant and flower growers across the U.S. found 81 percent used biocontrols in 2014.

Read More

March 31, 2015

Manufacturers Are Taking Biologicals To The Next Level

Through acquisitions and new products, many crop protection companies are making firm commitments to the future of the biocontrols industry.

Read More
OxiPhos_BioSafe2

March 23, 2015

BioSafe Makes Label Changes To OxiPhos And ZeroTol 2.0

There have been some recent label changes made to the BioSafe Systems product OxiPhos, a systemic bactericide/fungicide that reduces downy mildew spores when tank mixed with ZeroTol 2.0.

Read More
Nufarm_logo

March 23, 2015

Nufarm Fungicides Now Registered For Use On Edible Crop…

Nufarm Americas announced label expansions for two of its fungicides that will provide more pest management options for the ornamental industry. The Cleary 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use across a wider range of edible crops, including select greenhouse vegetables and transplants, herbs and backyard fruit.

Read More
ColeusDMLeafSporulation_Daughtrey

March 11, 2015

Research Gives Clues For Preventing Coleus Downy Mildew

Maintaining awareness of coleus downy mildew is more important than ever to safeguard these attractive plants for reliable garden performance.

Read More
Rose Rosette on Knockout rose, May 2013. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 2, 2015

Rose Rosette Disease Fight Gets A Boost From Government…

In 2014, $4.6 million was awarded through the Farm Bill to tackle rose rosette disease, a devastating pathogen that affects one of the industry’s most important crops.

Read More
Fig 1 Leafy Gall On Leucanthemum Becky

March 2, 2015

How To Prevent Leafy Gall Before You Lose Plants

Leafy gall is a nasty disease that can go undetected until plant damage is done. Take these steps to protect your crops from infection.

Read More

February 17, 2015

A New Look At Biological Control: Can Plants Affect The…

The success of a biological control program depends on a number of factors including quality of natural enemies, timing of release, release rates and environmental conditions. However, what is typically not taken into consideration is how plants can affect the performance of natural enemies, including attack rate and searching ability. Biological control agents work hard to protect plants, but plants have ways to help themselves, too.

Read More

February 1, 2015

New Pest Control Products For Your Toolbox

Add one of these new insecticides to your IPM program for successful pest control.

Read More
IR-4_profile_Feb2015

January 29, 2015

IR-4: A Pest Management Resource For Growers

Almost 40 years ago, IR-4 (Interregional Research Project Number 4) began serving the ornamental horticulture industry, helping to facilitate the registration of pest management tools. IR-4 does this primarily by surveying growers about their pest management issues and then hosting workshops to review survey results and set priorities for the coming years. Most recently, IR-4 coordinated a meeting of researchers and industry members on pollinator health and neonicotinoid chemistries to start a discussion on the needed research. The next step will be to get the outcomes from that workshop out to the public.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow: Peace Tree…

Lloyd Traven, a speaker at the upcoming Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow, was one of the industry’s early adopters of biocontrols in the greenhouse. Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, is evangelical about the technology as an effective tool for resistance management, as well as improved plant quality that contributes to a grower’s bottom line.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Southwest Perennials Improves Production, Shortens Crop…

A father-and-son team find LEDs deliver a higher rooting rate for cuttings propagated under the lights.

Read More
Wainwright-web-620x349

January 22, 2015

Quality Control With Biocontrols

Make sure the shipment of beneficials that just arrived is viable and ready to go to work in your greenhouse, nursery, or field. Here are five steps you can take to ensure success with your biocontrols.

Read More