What are the potential risks posed by a new crop protection product? What effects could the new product have on consumers of treated crops, on applicators, or even on the environment? How can potential side effects be reduced or even eliminated?
These and other questions must be carefully examined during development and registration, because new products can only be marketed after they have been reviewed and approved by the responsible authorities in accordance with national and supra-national crop protection legislation guidelines. The comprehensive collection of data generated over eight years or more of testing, provide a profound, science-based platform for the risk evaluation needed for the registration of any new product. As a result, crop protection products are among the best-researched industrial products on the market.
Product Stewardship as a cornerstone of responsible care
Today, many applicators and consumers are better informed about crop protection products and more critical about potential impact. And rightly so. The risks of crop protection products for manufacturers, applicators, the environment and finally the consumers of treated agricultural produce must be reduced to a minimum – which is why Bayer CropScience is fully committed to the principles of Responsible Care for all its products.
For Bayer CropScience, Responsible Care is an ongoing process practiced in every area of the company. Its constant search for new and better means of crop protection and crop improvement tools in terms of human and environmental safety is guided by its overall commitment to Sustainable Development. For the single product, this commitment is called “Product Stewardship”. It recognizes that a company like Bayer CropScience can, and must, take on all responsibilities for reducing impact of its products on health and the environment – from manufacturing to marketing to application and beyond.
By continuously optimizing its current products, renewing and improving its portfolio, reviewing its relationship with the supply chain, and meeting changing customer requirements, Bayer CropScience is able to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve innovation.
Product portfolio enhancements
One example of Bayer CropScience's strategic development parameters is its constant effort to reduce the application volumes needed for its crop protection products. Further development priorities include products with improved toxicological and eco-toxicological profiles, faster degradation in air, soil and water, and high selectivity. In some countries, such as the United States, these products are entitled to a so-called “reduced-risk” status.
A further major improvement involves the use, wherever possible or appropriate, of crop protection products for seed treatment. In corn, researchers have successfully developed new technologies for treating seeds with Gaucho®. This application method is more targeted and therefore benefits the environment. In fact, this type of treatment avoids two whole area sprayings. Seed treatment is also used in cotton and other crops. Other initiatives are the extension of the herbicide range by products with targeted action against weeds, combined with selectivity for many major crops. Emphasis is also being put on replacing WHO Toxicity Class I products and minimizing the amount of organic solvents needed in liquid formulations. Bayer CropScience can build on the extensive know-how accrued over many years, which enables it to utilize international synergies in this field for the benefit of the environment, the farmer and the consumer in a context of proactive product stewardship.