The market for additives added to pesticides and tank-mix products is estimated at about $1 billion based on additive manufacturers’ sales, and the market for tank-mix additives is nearly $700 million based on distributors’ sales, finds the recently published Pesticide Adjuvants Market: U.S. Analysis and Opportunities report, which covers both the in-can and tank-mix market for uses of additives in the United States in 2017. Pesticide additives contribute to the performance of pesticide active ingredients, reducing pesticide use rates and their environmental impact. Sales of these additives are forecast to increase at mid-single-digit rates over the next decade.
As environmental, regulatory, and consumer concerns are moving the crop protection industry in the direction of products that have favorable toxicological and environmental characteristics, pesticide manufacturers have relied upon these expectations with the formulation additives. They serve several functions, including improving the effectiveness of pesticides and transforming active ingredients into products that can be easily and safely transported and applied to the field.
Adjuvants is the largest function, followed by wetting agents and emulsifiers. Together, these materials account for about 55% of pesticide additive sales, and all are used in both in-can and tank-mix formulations. Other materials that are identified as having significant sales include emulsifiers, oils, dispersing agents, antifoam water conditioners, and antimicrobials.
“Adjuvants, additives included in the formulation to enhance the performance of the active by enhancing translocation, adhesion, or activation of the active, is the largest function,” comments Jim Walter, the report’s manager. “Unfortunately, some formulators consider all surfactant additives to be adjuvants, so this category may be over-represented.”
For tank-mix products, oils, surfactants, and water conditioners were identified as the categories with about 62% of the market share. We expect sales of water conditioners and drift control agents to grow at a faster rate than the market rate due to new herbicide technologies.
Traditionally, pesticide manufacturers have made generic tank-mix product recommendations on the pesticide label, but this is now changing as specific brands are now being listed. Additionally, the ever-changing list of approved tank-mix materials is making it difficult for market participants to orient in. Tank-mix product manufacturers have responded with a plethora of products. In this analysis, we found over 550 different product brands. Many of these products are essentially the same or vary by small changes in components. To gain a marketing advantage, manufacturers have tried to differentiate their offerings. Several have created “new” products by combining functionalities in the same product.
The analysis indicates that BASF and Dow are the largest pesticide additive suppliers, together accounting for nearly 40% of total sales. AkzoNobel is third, and Solvay is the fourth largest supplier with nearly 20% of the total.
In-can materials are added to pesticide active ingredients in the container to make them easier to handle, more active, and safer to use than the active ingredients are in their native form. These materials include solvents, surfactants, thickeners, carriers, and antimicrobials. They serve a number of functions in transforming active ingredients that are usually liquids or solids into products that can be easily and safely transported and applied to the field. In this study, these materials are called in-can additives. Similarly, tank-mix products are added to the spray tank by the farmer, at the time of mixing, to help improve the compatibility and performance of the active ingredients, biostimulants, and fertilizers added into the spray tank. The materials that are used to make tank-mix products are called tank-mix additives.
Kline’s Pesticide Adjuvants Market: U.S. Analysis and Opportunities report includes over 140 different additives, 19 different suppliers, and over 500 tank-mix brands. This report focuses on additives which are added to products to manage insects, nematodes, fungal pathogens, and weeds.