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Agrimarketing : October 2007
50 AgriMarketing October 2007 Editor's note: Although there are now several manufacturers of the herbicide atrazine, we chose to focus on the stewardship of the product by Syngenta because the company was its original developer. Shortly after it received its first U.S. registration in 1958, agriculture producers, crop input retailers and university researchers hailed the new herbicide atrazine as miraculous. For relatively low cost, it eliminated the time- and energy-consuming task of mechanically cultivating weeds, a tedious activity that required up to four trips across the same field during the growing season. Nearly 50 years later, the product continues its splendid ways. It is still the most widely used herbicide by corn and sorghum growers, being applied on more than 70% of their acres. It has also become the most widely used corn herbicide in con- servation tillage and no-till systems, which can reduce soil erosion by as much as 90%, and is a key tool for farmers meeting the increasing demands for food and alternative fuel. "We couldn't farm without it," one prominent Iowa-based crop input retailer reports. "The product consistently does what we need it to do --- control yield robbing weeds --- at a low and affordable price." Discovered in the early '50s by researchers at a Syngenta legacy company, atrazine's story is a tale of excellence that includes many firsts for the crop protection industry in marketing, sales, product develop- ment, post-patent strategies, and environmental stewardship. Frank Knight, Syngenta Herbi- cide Brand Mgr, says the product has stood the test of time because "atrazine offers an exceptional com- bination of crop safety and applica- tion flexibility. "As the herbicide market has evolved over the years, atrazine has continued to fit every step of the way. It worked when post applica- tions were the standard; went along with the shift to pre-plant incorpo- rated and pre-emerge; fit with the popularity of premixes; and had a role with the fairly recent introduc- tion of glyphosate-tolerant crops," Knight explains. Knight joined Syngenta legacy company Ciba-Geigy as a Field Sales Rep nearly 33 years ago and has been associated with the marketing and sales of atrazine for his entire career. Virginia-raised, Knight grad- uated from Virginia State Univer- sity with a B.S. in animal science with a double major in chemistry. He began his career as a County Exten- sion Agent. PRODUCT ENHANCEMENTS AND EXTENSIONS "When atrazine was first intro- duced," Knight says, "it was at a Over its life, atrazine has been credited with many firsts, including being used as a pre-mix with other herbicides like Syngenta's Lumax plus being delivered and stored in bulk tanks like this one at a crop input retail location. ATRAZINE: LEGENDARY MARKETING OF A LEGENDARY MOLECULE by Lynn Henderson, Editorial Director ATRAZINE: LEGENDARY MARKETING OF A LEGENDARY MOLECULE by Lynn Henderson, Editorial Director
November December 2006
November December 2007