Bad News, Good News

“What do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news?” is a question often posed in tough times. This year’s herbicide outlook qualifies.

Bad news first: Resistance continues to increase across the country and breakthrough chemistries to combat weeds are mighty hard to come by. But chemical manufacturers are rising to the occasion with creative alliances and product mixes — and retailers can play a profitable role in explaining and marketing the options to growers.

Complex Year

Growers are facing a host of heavy decisions as we head into ’07, thanks in part to shifts in the commodity market. One example: Bayer and Syngenta report that in the Eastern Corn Belt, growers may need to figure last year’s cutworm infestations in their herbicide programs. Moth flight occurred sooner than expected in ’06 and lots of green tissue was available for them to feed on because of lack of snow cover. Spring application of a burndown product could diminish havens for damaging populations in ’07.

Another factor to consider: How does the ’07 glyphosate resistance outlook compare with ’06? “I think we’re on the front end of much more severe issues cropping up on us as we go forward,” says Chuck Foresman, senior technical brand manager, herbicide resistance, with Syngenta. Six glyphosate-resistant weeds have been confirmed in 16 states, he says. The newcomers are Palmer pigweed and waterhemp, added to the previously discovered horseweed, common ragweed, Italian ryegrass, and rigid ryegrass.

“Growers have run into problems with stacked resistance to different modes of action,” explains Foresman. For example, waterhemp across the Midwest could have ALS resistance and PPO resistance on top of glyphosate resistance. “Then we have no alternative, no way of controlling that weed post­emergence in the crop,” he says. Foresman adds that university researchers are now watching lambsquarters and giant ragweed as the next possible candidates for resistance.

Chemical companies and Extension staff have been generating management recommendations for a few years now, and many 2007 products on the market (see chart) — as well as many other compounds — fit into those programs which advise:

Making Burndown And Premerge Applications. The manufacturers we talked with emphasized the use of preemergence residual herbicides in both corn and soybeans. “In our 2007 technology use guide, we’re recommending growers use a residual if they have dense stands of difficult to control weeds,” says Rick Cole, corn technology development manager at Monsanto.

“We believe there’s a strong case to be made for greater herbicide inputs to protect yield potential because there are much stronger commodity prices than we’ve seen in the past,” says Duane Martin, soybean product manager at Syngenta. In fact, he says university research has overwhelmingly shown preemerge treatments more than pay for themselves — a positive selling point for retailers.

“In corn, preemerge treatments eliminate or reduce early weed competition to increase the chance for better yields and delay the postemergence application of glyphosate for optimum weed control timing,” says Dave Downing, herbicide product manager at Makhteshim Agan North America (MANA). In general, some experts would like to see glyphosate saved for in-crop use only.

Jeff Carpenter, soybean product manager with DuPont says, “Recent Doane’s data shows that currently 55% of the glyphosate-tolerant corn receives a preemerge residual treatment, but only 25% of glyphosate-tolerant soybean production. Will residual use quickly grow in the soybean business to address weed shifts? Every 1% growth in the soybean number brings approximately 700,000 acres of residual-herbicide market potential to retailers.”

Mixing Up Chemistries. For soybean growers in Roundup Ready systems, this approach can be a challenge. Some have been applying glyphosate only for up to 10 years on the same fields. While simple ­­— and in the past, effective — this puts “incredible selection pressure out there,” says Foresman.

“Often the general feeling on resistance is, ‘If I don’t have the problem yet, I’m not going to put any additional money to try and protect against a future problem,'” agrees Bill O’Neal, technical product manager, Impact herbicide, with AMVAC.

However, Mark Loux, weed specialist at The Ohio State University, announced in his Extension bulletin that growers cannot afford not to use preemergence herbicides in beans.

“Soybean growers will need to manage their time as they work through preemergence treatments,” says Dan Hin­terliter, product manager at Syngenta. “It’s something they’re going to have to go back to, to control some of these weed issues that are arising.”

Chemistry Collaboration

Many lament the lack of new molecules, as the last totally new chemistry to come along was in 1998, with the discovery of the HPPD class (which can’t be used in soybeans). But as noted, chemical companies are working hard in other ways to make mode-of-action diversification easier. They’re teaming up to introduce new premixes and revisiting some older chemistries that have proven effective in the past.

One chemistry that’s making a return this year is sulfentrazone, premixed with cloransulam-methyl in the new product Sonic. “This is really a re-release, because sulfentrazone has been out of soybeans for the past three years. It’s a brand new chemistry to most growers,” says Nate Miller, Dow AgroSciences product manager. He says the compound will be especially helpful in the southern two-thirds of soybean areas where growers are having difficulty controlling key weeds.

FMC will be marketing the same premix as Authority First DF, “designed to provide soybean growers a clean start and a resistance management tool for both ALS- and glyphosate-resistant broadleafs,” says Aaron Locker, FMC product manager. He says based on feedback, growers “have been looking forward to this premix for a long time.”

Soybean growers will have another new preemerge product in the form of Prefix from Syngenta, available in co-pack form, which contains metolachlor and fomesafen. One premergence premix giving old favorites new life contains metolachlor, atrazine, and the safener benoxacor — Bicep II at Syngenta and Parallel Plus at MANA.

Valent has improved its classic cle­thodim herbicide, releasing Select Max, which has faster, more complete uptake in grassy weeds, including volunteer corn, says Elsa Zisook, marketing communications manager.

Corn can look good not only because of bullish prices but the fact that more herbicide options are available for the crop. Anywhere from 6 million to 10 million additional acres of corn will be planted next year, some coming out of soybeans.

Dennis Belcher, technical service representative with BASF, adds a word of caution, especially considering some are saying as many as 40 million acres could go to Roundup Ready corn this year: “If a grower continues to use glyphosate on soybeans, then uses it on this second wave of glyphosate-tolerant corn coming around, I don’t see resistance getting any better.”

A huge move to glyphosate-tolerant corn may not be good news to retailers in another way. “Some estimate that as much as $800 million in revenue will come out of the corn herbicide business within the next two to five years,” says DuPont’s Carpenter. He notes that such a scenario occurred in the soybean business in the early 2000s when one or two glyphosate applications replaced preemerge residual and in-crop post herbicides. “It forced retailers to analyze their marketing strategies, crop protection pricing, and service offerings to their customers.”

Role Of Retailers

Dealers have more to “sell” than ever in this unusual year not only in talking up new products but in offering:

Advice To Growers. Market research has shown that retailers are the local experts that growers rely on “on the front line.” “They’re priceless,” says Dow’s Miller. “Dealerships need to be a very active and interested voice in promoting resistance management. Those that don’t will be left behind.”

Valent’s Zisook agrees, “Retailers will be counseling growers on the best, most efficient herbicide choices while also considering ‘external’ issues of labor, fuel costs, seed and technology costs, crop choices, spray drift management, and the like.”

New Product Trials. For new products such as AMVAC’s Impact (only the second HPPD inhibitor on the scene, Syngenta’s Callisto was the first), retailers recommend growers to trial it on, say, 10 to 15 acres. Last year, several hundred growers in 35 states “who weren’t really sure they wanted to transfer their program to Impact” had such an opportunity, says O’Neal.

Bottom line: Encouraging investment in multiple products is not only good resistance management, it gives a retailer profit opportunities as well.

Leave a Reply

Management Stories
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And Then Some
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
ManagementRussia Bans U.S. And EU Ag Product Imports In Ukraine Sanctions Battle
August 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
StewardshipTyler Grain & Fertilizer Now 4R Certified
March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More