As we get further into the year, we are already conscious that another growing season is in full swing. Perhaps you are planning your late summer trials, while trying to juggle budgets, milestones, and data requirements for the trials that are already underway or just completed. Are you missing data for a crucial growth stage? When you are already subject to the vagaries of the weather, you don’t need any additional reasons to lose a study. It’s data that can make or break a program – after all, you have to wait a whole 12 months to get right back to where you are now. And that’s going to have knock-on implications to your bottom line.
Issues that affect timelines in this way are, usually, easily preventable. A rush to get a study started can mean that a less than ideal trial site is selected, which in turn can negatively impact the quality of your data. When lots of things are happening at once, it’s easy to miss that all-important application window when crops are racing through their growth stages. This type of critical deviation is going to cost you time and money in the long run. With the average cost of an agrochemical testing program at $286MA, the pressure is on to start generating revenue as quickly as possible. It’s often tempting to maximize return by limiting the outsourcing costs of the development program. However, cheap isn’t always cheaper, especially if it means you’ve lost a year on the market in addition to the cost of repeated studies.
So what question should you be asking when planning your trials? How about, “how many trials are run per base annually”? The fewer trials there are, the more time there is to focus on the quality of the result. This means there is ample time to take care over the selection of just the right trial sites, hit all the protocolled applications, make every assessment, and take all the required samples. It is true to say that time is money; giving the scientist in charge of your study a little more time to work to their full potential may cost a little more in the short-term, but in the end, it might be a very small price to pay.
A Agrochemical Research and Development Report 2016, Phillips McDougall