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Agrimarketing : October 2012
October 2012 Agri Marketing 13 Agricultural chemicals are not new production tools. Salt, sulphur and various flower parts served as insecticides and preservatives for centuries. But the modern growth curve really starts about 1960. In order to understand the pesticide industry development, however, it helps to go back even a little farther. In the beginning, the Sherwin Williams Paint Company (SWPC) sold the organic arsenical line of insecticides including paris green, lead arsenate and others. SWPC started in the insecticide business in 1898 and was the first national centralized ag chemical distributor from about the early 1920s to the mid-1950s, with a peak sales force of about 350 sales reps whose products were mostly sold through their paint stores. They set the standard for the future but pesticides sold at paint stores? Wow! Things were different. Niagara Chemical, an early supplier and a legacy company of FMC, also sold calcium arsenate in the early 1900s for boll weevil control and other uses mostly thru feed stores and retail dealers. The new era arrived with dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane or DDT supplied by several companies including Stauffer Chemical and Montross Chemical and sold mostly thru feed stores before World War II. DDT was truly a breakthrough in fighting a broad spectrum of insects including mosquitos. After WWII Monsanto and others entered the DDT market as it rapidly replaced the older organic arsenicals. There was no patent protection and soon profits were elusive and sales started to dwindle. SWPC also sold DDT but soon exited the entire pesticide market place but not before selling one of the most notable DDT premixes under the trade name BIG Daddy, very catchy. DDT production for domestic use was banned in the U.S. in 1968 along with the majority of the chlorinated hydrocarbon family (CH) which included aldrin, dieldrine, heptachlor and others. Most end user sales of the family were final in 1973 except toxaphene a common premix with DDT which was sold in the U.S. until 1990. The banning of the CH chemistry strengthened the environmental movement finally leading to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DDT is still used worldwide to combat mosquitos that carry malaria and typhoid; the leadership of the World Health Organization has stated that DDT has saved more lives than penicillin. The CH products were replaced with the organic phosphate family including parathion, Malathion, dimethoate, Orthene, guthion, Systox, Disyston and lots of others. Monsanto and American Cyanamid both introduce parathion in the mid 1950s as a replacement product for DDT; parathion was more toxic to mammals than DDT but gave a quicker knockdown with a shorter half life. Cyanamid later introduced Malathion, a safer OP than parathion, but not the with the same insect sprectrum or knockdown. Both companies owned retail farm stores which were common in the 1950s. Cyanamid registered phorate (Thimet) for cotton in 1956 and later for use in corn for rootworm control; it was one of the first systemic insecticides in the organic phosphate family and served as a replacement for Aldrin and other aging CH. WEED CONTROL In 1943, Dr. Frank Jones invented 2,4-D and changed weed control forever. It controlled broadleaf weeds but didn't hurt grasses, small grain farmers loved it. SWPC was the first U.S. company to register and sell 2,-D in 1947 and it became one of the most widely used herbicides in history. In 2000, Farm Journal magazine published the top 100 things that changed 20th Century agriculture, 2,4-D was #5; rural electrification was No. 1. But 2,4-D needed a tank mix partner in some crops, so how about atrazine? Discovered by Geigy in 1958 and introduced shortly THE U.S. CROP PROTECTION INDUSTRY by Jim Thrift (more on page 14) 10 LARGEST COMPANY AGRICHEMICAL SALES* (NO SEED OR BIOTECH) -- 2010 NAFTA (US $m) 1. Syngenta 2,383 2. Dow AgroSciences 1,650 3. Bayer CropScience 1,609 4. Monsanto 1,348 5. BASF 1,343 6. DuPont 609 7. Nufarm 482 8. MANA 381 9. Sumitomo Chemical 377 10. FMC 252 TOTAL 10,434 * Data is at the Distributor level. Source: Phillips McDougal
November December 2012