BASF says it plans to introduce 28 new crop protection products in the next four years, a feat that would double the number of new entries the company has brought to the U.S. market in the last decade.

The products will come from nine new active ingredients BASF intends to launch during the same time period along with significant label extensions and new seed treatments, the director of U.S. crop production products for BASF said.

Speaking at a meeting for consultants and retailers in Grapevine, Texas, Paul Rea said the unusually large number of new products is the result of BASF’s decision to commit a substantial amount of resources to the agricultural markets.

“The Ag Products and Nutrition component make up only 9 percent of BASF’s annual sales of about $86 billion a year,” he said. “But we as a company are investing 35 percent of our research and development funds back into Ag Products and Nutrition.

That means BASF has accounted for 40 percent of the new active ingredients introduced in the agricultural market in the last seven years. All told, the company has launched 29 new products since 2001. Bringing on 28 more between now and 2013 will be an ambitious undertaking, Rea acknowledged.

“That’s coming from a huge investment in innovation and research and basic active ingredient discovery for the agricultural markets here in the U.S.,” said Rea. “It’s a commitment BASF has had for a very long, long time because we know farmers are going to face challenges in the future of feeding an ever-growing population on this planet earth that we call home.

“There’s going to be more people that need food in the next 30 to 40 years than we’ve ever produced for in the past and new solutions, new technologies are going to help farmers reach those ambitious goals we have to feed what will probably be 9 billion people on the face of the planet in the next 30 to 40 years.”

BASF’s new products include:

• Herbicides — three new active ingredients and 11 new products or extensions.

• Fungicides — three new active ingredients and 11 new products or extensions.

• Insecticides — three new active ingredients and three new products and extensions.

• Seed treatments — seven active ingredients and three new products.

The new insecticides reflect a return to a market where BASF has not had much activity in recent years.

“We only have two insecticides in the marketplace today — that’s Regent for in-furrow use for corn insect control and Respect, which can be used on a broad spectrum of crops, including corn, soybeans and specialty crops,” said Rick Chamblee, manager of technical services for BASF Crop Protection.

“As we move forward we want to expand that portfolio, and we’re doing that in a couple of different ways. We’ve recently signed an agreement to bring new miticides into the marketplace. We have resistance issues so new miticides are always needed. We also have some very good active ingredients that are registered in Europe, and we want to explore bringing those into the U.S. marketplace to meet grower needs.”

He said BASF’s scientific discovery group has also discovered some new modes of action that will be reaching the market not in the next few years, but probably in 2016.