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Agrimarketing : October 2012
14 Agri Marketing October 2012 thereafter, it was quickly followed by a long list of soil sterlients. But atrazine continued to be the most popular corn herbicide ever used and still is today. Standard Oil Corporation of California, under its Chevron Chemical Division, formed the first franchise/contract driven U.S. agricultural chemical distribution system in the mid-1950s selling primarily fertilizer and later chemicals thru independent retail dealers and co-ops. Then along came the acetanilides in the 1960s. Lasso and then Dual: miracles in a can. By 1975 herbicides accounted for well over 50% of the U.S. agchem market. By the mid-1970s most manufacturing-driven input suppliers sold their retail outlets. Monsanto, US Steel, American Oil, Atlantic Richfield, American Cyanamid and others sold their outlets often to the current management team as independent dealers, many of which are still operating today. This change of business philosophy was the shift from production and sales to research and development. The majority of the early pesticides were from off patent suppliers primarily synthesized by WWII German chemists but by the 1970s most of those products had disappeared and the only path to the future was new pesticide discovery. The 1970s also saw growth with Midwestern county co-ops expanding their grain business units and adding agronomy departments. From the 1920s to the 1970s flame weed control, weed eating geese in cotton and goats eating weeds on California rice levees were not unusual. But the 1970s brought forward more efficient less expensive herbicides and these practices disappeared. This chemical family was followed by the dinitroanilines, Treflan and later Prowl then a bunch of others changing weed control almost as much as 2,4-D. In the late 1960s when Treflan was introduced the question asked in soybeans was: to incorporate or not to incorporate, use a disc with Treflan or wait for the rain with Lasso or Dual? At that time most pesticides were in five gallon steel cans but one of the Treflan's introductory package sizes was a quart steel container which didn't last long. The 1970s brought on the Midwest bulk tank wars going strong between Monsanto, Elanco and Ciba-Geigy. Treflan was growing share rapidly and by 1974 there were 11 registered dinitroaniline (DNA) competitors on the market. The DNA market became so crowded it was almost like the 1980s pyrethroids insecticide market. The synthetic pyrethroid insecticides were a new class of chemistry replacing some of the aging OP's. The pyrethroids were introduced in the late 1970s with Pydrin from Shell Chemical being the first one of any market significance. The 1980s saw few major new agchem product introductions except for the pyrethroids. The pyrethroids were effective and cheap and there were lots of them. After Shell introduced Pydrin lots of companies followed with FMC, likely the market leader, with its Pounce. The pyrethroids took over the cotton insecticide market band abd rapidly moved to other crops. MORE CHANGES Many ag chemical formulations before 1960 were dusts, EC's, granules or wetable powers often with poor formulations that settled out, froze, absorbed moisture clumped and clogged. Formulation chemistry greatly improved in the 1970s replacing dust formulations with better dissolving emulsifying concentrates, dispersible granules, flowables and the revolutionary DuPont Classic herbicide fizzing tablets. The tablet formulation chemistry was actually invented by FMC's small medical group. USDA and the public knew about pesticides but the public was unaware or didn't understand spray drift and its impact on the agricultural environment until the publication of Rachael Carson's book "Silent Spring" in 1962. Environmental groups were growing around the world and soon an uninformed U.S. public environmental movement resulted in the formation of the EPA. The "Endangered Species Act" passed by Congress in 1973 along with additional regulations were changing pest control and becoming a serious problem for production agriculture. Carson's science has been disproven but the environmental movement is stronger than ever. Pesticides were registered by USDA until the EPA was formed in 1973 with William Rukyleshouse as its first Administrator. By the late 1970s most basic manufacturers had taken the word pesticides out of their ag chemical department's names as pesticides fell from public favor. The companies now sold crop protection products. The 1970s marked the growth of large national distributor who received contract arrangements, private label agreements, manufacturing and formulation agreements from basic suppliers. The product bundle made its appearance and the birth of the "black box" end of season rebate started. It was a time of choosing up sides and a dramatic era in the growth of crop protection materials. Distributors dedicated staff positions just to understand the new complex marketing programs. Then in 1974, during California highway weed demonstration, attendees saw the performance of a new and amazing non-crop herbicide with tremendous systemic weed control activity. In 1976, Monsanto registered the product as Roundup and we all know the rest of that story. By the 1980s the no-till movement was growing and making sense to lots of growers but how do you use traditional incorporated or surface applied herbicides in no-till? Two new families of chemistry entered the market the sulfonated urea's (SU's) from DuPont and the imidazolinoles (Imi's) from American Cyanamid. These products not only fit the no-till craze, but assisted farmers entering or expanding their no-till acres with better weed control and more confidence. Paraquat from Chevron (more on page 16) Crop Protection Industry | Overview | continued from page 13
November December 2012