Dow AgroSciences: Highlighting The Past, Present & Future
In general, media events held by large agricultural suppliers tend to focus primarily on what plans the company has in store for the next year or so. But at this year’s Driving Farm Solutions Media Event, held by Dow AgroSciences in early July in Indianapolis, IN, the company featured items that spanned at least four decades of Dow history, tying these to current events and an eye towards the future.
“As always, part of the reason why we are here today is to consider all the challenges and opportunities that are out there for agriculture in the coming years,” said Tim Hassinger, president/CEO, at the event. “But Dow AgroSciences has been looking ahead like this for many, many years.”
As an example of this “many years back” mindset, one of the speakers at the Media Event was Dr. Jonathan Huff, market development specialist for the company. According to Huff, Dow AgroSciences has always had its eye on helping growers better utilize the nitrogen they apply in their crop fields. “We first introduced our N Serve nitrogen stabilizer back in 1974,” said Huff. “And we’ve been the leader in that market for more than 40 years now.”
Flashing forward to 2015, he added, N Serve and other nitrogen stabilizers such as the company’s Instinct brand are taking on increased market importance as growers across much of the Midwest struggle to cope with excessive amounts of rainfall. “Nitrogen will be a critical factor this year,” said Huff. “Last fall, we didn’t’ see a lot of anhydrous ammonia applications in the ‘I’ states [Iowa, Indiana and Illinois]. Then we got to spring and folks finally got some of it into the ground — and then the rains started and never stopped. It’s been the same for growers in other states, too, such as Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.”
In addition to not staying in the ground to be available to the crops, added Huff, the excessive rainfall in the Midwest this year has likely caused much of this applied fertilizer to leach out of the soil and potentially run-off into nearby waterways. “This nitrogen run-off has become a huge issue nationally, and not just for agriculture,” said Huff. “Many growers are very worried about nitrogen leaching and they are asking how can we better manage this?”
Part of the answer might lay in using N Serve and Instinct, he said. “Our own research has shown that these products can help out the environmental concerns regarding nitrogen run-off by reducing soil leaching by 16%,” said Huff. “Also, when using these brands, we have found that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 51%.”
Looking To The Future
Of course, another part of the Media Event was looking at new products Dow AgroSciences is launching for the upcoming 2016 growing season. One of these is PowerCore technology, which is a compliment to the company’s SmartStax traits portfolio. According to Dr. Kevin Steffey, technology transfer leader, PowerCore uses three different Bacillus thuringiensis proteins — Cry1F, Cry1A.105 and Cry 2Ab2 — to offer a wide range of pest control and reduce the risk of insects developing resistance to its use. In field trials, he added, PowerCore was shown to help control European corn borer, Southwestern corn borer, corn earworm, Western bean cutworm, black cutworm and fall armyworm.
“Black cutworm can reduce corn stand by 30%,” said Steffey. “This type of stand reduction could result in a significant yield loss. Similarly, an infestation of Western bean cutworm can reduce yield by as much as 30% to 40%. And, depending on the corn growth stage, just one European corn borer tunneled into a cornstalk could mean an 8.3-bushel-per-acre yield loss. A larva of any of these insects could result in 3.7 bushels per acre lost.”
In the herbicide arena, Dow AgroSciences announced that the EPA has approved its new Surveil pre-emergence residual product for use starting next year. A premix for use in soybeans, Surveil was developed to quickly disperse when added to water, said Melissa Olds, formulation chemist.
“This new formulation is the first to offer growers the convenience of having the active ingredients flumioxazin and cloransulam-methyl together in one easy-to-use premix,” said Olds. “Even in really wet field conditions like we’ve had in 2015, Surveil can still offer good control of such weeds as marestail, common ragweed and giant ragweed.”
Finally, Dow AgroSciences also unveiled the brandname for its new corn herbicide formally known as GF-3471. Now named Resicore, the product is a mix of three active ingredients — acetochlor, mesotrione and clopyralid — and can be used to control marestail, giant ragweed, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.
“Waterhemp continues to top the list of troublesome weeds for corn growers,” said Luke Peters, corn herbicide product manager for the company. “With three active ingredients that have never been included in a single product before, Resicore is a new unique option for growers seeking control of waterhemp and other herbicide-resistant weeds.”
According to Peters, Resicore offers flexible application timing, and can be applied from preplant to early postemergence. Dow AgroSciences anticipates Resicore will be approved for use sometime during 2016, he added.