Not So Simple

The other day, I was having a debate with a co-worker on the rise of retro advertising and fashions. His opinion was that this was just part of an endless cycle of “things” repeating themselves. I, however, argued that this perhaps indicated a desire on the part of Americans to relive simpler times, where messages and styles came from a few voices rather than the thousands that flood today’s market thanks to the Internet.

And I have a feeling that soon, agriculture will be fondly looking back on simpler times, especially when it comes to crop protection products and application work. But in this case, going back to the past won’t be an option.
Now it’s no secret that one of the biggest problems facing growers and ag retailers is the ever-expanding spread of resistant weeds. Especially troubling is the rise of glyphosate-resistant varieties, particularly in the South.

“It is big in the South again this year,” says Wendell Stratton, owner of Stratton Seed Co., Stuttgart, AR. “Pigweed is the major problem here, with marestail, Johnsongrass and barnyard grass that has shown resistance to glyphosate.”

Researchers are also raising the alarm over the spread of resistant weeds. According to Bob Scott, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, glyphosate was “like a miracle” for agriculture when it was first introduced. “This, along with the introduction of Roundup Ready crops, made farming much simpler than it had been, allowing growers to use this one molecule to handle virtually all of their weed control needs.”

But this “one application cures all approach” is no longer viable in many areas of the country, with approximately 20 million acres affected by resistant weeds. According to several researchers, these yield-zappers could reduce farm income by approximately $2 billion in 2011 and more than $25 billion over the next decade. Furthermore, a recent Dow AgroSciences survey of growers found that 80% believe that, without some kind of enhancement to its use, the current glyphosate weed control system will be largely ineffective in as little as 10 years.

Luckily, these kind of enhancements are currently available (with others in development that should be market-ready in the next few years). But this will inevitably add cost and application work to the crop protection approach for grower-customers. For instance, Arkansas Grower Malcolm Haigwood says that it used to cost him $12 to $15 per acre to control stubborn weeds on his farm. In 2011, however, with added product use and more application work, it cost him almost $80 per acre to achieve the same level of weed control.
All this bodes well for the role retailers play in the ag economy, making their expertise and product recommendations to grower-customers more critical than ever to keep yields high.

But at the same time, farming will become much more complicated than it is today, a throwback to the 1970s. And the simpler times of the 1990s and early 2000s will gone forever.

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojCourt Rejects EPA Objection To Enlist Duo
February 1, 2016
It was pretty big news last fall when, just before Thanksgiving, the EPA attempted to withdraw its approval of Dow Read More
Soybean field
Eric SfiligojThe Biotech Crop Use Divide
February 1, 2016
A few years ago, I wrote a column speculating that the anti-biotech crop movement was beginning to lose some of Read More
Seed bags in warehouse
Eric SfiligojFeedback From IFCA: Growers Looking To Cut
January 25, 2016
For anyone paying attention to the agricultural marketplace lately, the numbers are ugly. Between 2014 and 2015, grower-customer income dropped Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojSyngenta In Play: Who Will Win the Prize?
January 18, 2016
Last week, while many business analysts watching in horror as global stocks tanked across the world, one agricultural company’s stock Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More