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Monsanto Speaks Sense

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

The sales staff at the coop I work for has weekly staff meetings in the winter. As part of the meeting, we usually have one of our reps come in and talk about his products. This week, it was Monsanto’s turn. Our rep said something that really shocked me, and then went on to discuss programs and strategies that showed he (and Monsanto) really meant it. He said that when it came to dealing with Roundup resistance in weed populations ‘We were wrong.’

Five years ago, I was working for a different company, in a different state, with a different rep. We were starting to see that some broadleaf weeds were sometimes a bit tough to kill with Roundup alone, and a lot of Monsanto’s competitors were pushing to have their chemistries sprayed along with Roundup for a quicker weed kill, and to possibly prevent weed populations developing resistance. I remember clear as day sitting in a very similar staff meeting to the one I had this morning. Our Monsanto rep, who clearly had a lot of sales training to combat the trend of adding other chemicals with Roundup, promoted this simple strategy: Don’t add additional chemicals to improve weed kill. Just spray more Roundup.

Just spray more Roundup. That was the Monsanto company line, just five years ago. Resistance is very unlikely, they said. Just spray higher rates of Roundup if you have tough weeds. Yes, they usually talked about adding residual chemistries preplant and preemergence, but it wasn’t a focus.

Five years later, suddenly they’re taking the stance they should have taken from the start. It’s taken a disaster in cotton-growing country with Roundup-resistant palmer amaranth. It’s taken the threat of spreading triple resistant (resistant to Roundup, and two other groups of chemistries) waterhemp in the cornbelt.  But finally, finally, they’re talking sense. Roundup is an important chemistry, they say now, let’s not misuse it. Let’s use residual chemistries with different modes of action, let’s do some tankmixes with other products, let’s not overuse Roundup, and risk losing what good it can do for us.

Welcome to sound agronomic practices, Monsanto. Where the hell where you five years ago?

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