In this feature, we turn the spotlight onto some of the key companies within our industry. In this edition, we look at pesticide and product manufacturer Sumitomo Chemical.

Sumitomo Chemical Australia has only been in business for just over 20 years, so in many ways is still the new kid on the block. Although the product range that is visible to pest managers only stretches to nine products, the extent of its other activities in the pest industry and beyond are significant.

Sumitomo Chemical Australia is a fully owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical in Japan, a company with a global footprint with 30,000 employees delivering $20 billion in sales. The majority of these sales are in agriculture, but it is also active in the vector control and turf markets, as well as professional pest control.

Investing significantly in active development, Sumitomo Chemical is perhaps best known for leading the discovery and development of pyrethroid chemistry. Although its portfolio of insecticides contains a large number of pyrethroids, with more on the way, it now includes a range of different chemistries. Its discovery program also includes fungicides and herbicides. A number of these pesticides are sold to third-party manufacturers.

Sumitomo Chemical has a focus on the agricultural market, particularly in horticulture, as well as forestry, turf management and pest control. “We want to secure a significant position in the changing, global agchem market, the strategy being based on organic growth through our discovery and product development pipeline and significant mergers and acquisitions activity,” commented Charles McClintock, professional products business manager for Sumitomo Chemical Australia.

Over recent years this merger and acquisition activity has resulted in the acquisition of Valent and Valent Biosciences, MGK, Pace International (a leader in post-harvest solutions), Botanical Resources Australia (a grower and processor of natural pyrethrum) and Mycorrhizal Applications (a supplier of fungi-based biorational products), as well as a significant stake in Nufarm. Sumitomo Chemical own over $30 billion in assets.

Sumitomo Chemical is heavily involved in the red imported fire ant program


According to Mr McClintock, Sumitomo is keen to establish a significant position in the changing global agchem market and believes this can be can achieved through the combination of a strong conventional and unique biological product portfolio.

“We have a particular focus in horticulture on what we call biorationals – plant growth regulators, biological insecticides and insect growth regulators. In Australia, we consider ourselves a leader in the biorationals field. This focus is backed up by the largest biologicals laboratory in the world, in Osage, Iowa (main picture, above) and a significant discovery pipeline,” said Mr McClintock.

Delivering solutions in pest

Pest managers involved in vector control may well be aware of some of these biorational products under the Vectobac, Vectolex and Teknar brand names. Both in Australia and throughout Asia Pacific, Sumitomo Chemical is very much involved in government mosquito control programs.

In Australia, Sumitomo Chemical also provides support to the Australian Plague Locust Commission and to a variety of government invasive ant programs, including the red important re ant program, as well as the smaller programs on the little re ant and yellow crazy ant. “Part of the effectiveness of Sumitomo in supporting the invasive ant programs is our ability to move fast. These products are developed locally to ensure performance under local conditions and manufactured locally to meet demand,” commented Mr McClintock.

According to Mr McClintock, the formulation advances in developing the ant baits for these government invasive ant programs have allowed Sumitomo to provide some unique and effective ant baits for professional pest managers. Distance Plus is a granular ant bait that includes only an insect growth regulator, pyriproxfen. Although it can take several weeks to gain control, it’s safety profile means it is the only ant bait registered for use in cropping areas and makes it ideal for use in sensitive pest control accounts, such as schools, hospitals and nursing homes. Synergy Pro is a unique dual active, dual food granule ant bait, designed to provide fast nest elimination of a wide range of ant species.

Pyriproxyfen, the insect growth regulator used in both Distance Plus and Synergy Pro is also harnessed in the Sumilarv range. “Sumilarv liquid is a trusted partner for pest managers for use in their general pest sprays, particularly when complete and long-lasting performance is required against fleas and cockroaches,” said Mr McClintock. “Sumilarv granular now gives pest managers the same technology for use in mosquito control, with the unique, pre-dosed ‘tea bag’ format.”

With its heritage in pyrethroid chemistry it is perhaps not surprising that Sumitomo Chemical has significant expertise in aerosol technology. Pest managers would be familiar with its WaspJet, Bedlam and Sumiblast aerosols.

Sumitomo targets areas where pest managers might not be fully satis ed with the product options available. The development of Xterm termite bait, a convenient cartridge-based baiting system is an example. “Pest managers don’t like the mess that can be generated from conventional baits and speed of action is always a concern for customers,” commented Mr McClintock. “Xterm has the highest loading of insect growth regulator on the market and published data1 has shown it can deliver control in as little as four weeks.

“Sumitomo Chemical will continue to target the unmet needs of pest managers. The size, diversity and innovation output of the global organisation, coupled with our local flexibility, means we can quickly tailor suitable innovations to the requirements of the Australian pest market,” concluded Mr McClintock.

1 Evans, T.A. (2010). ‘Rapid elimination of eld colonies of subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) using bistrifluron solid bait pellets’. Journal of Economic Entomology; 103(2):423-32, 2010.

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