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How Low Can They Go?
by Bob Hartzler

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March 4, 2002 - The marketing programs for Monsanto's Roundup and Syngenta's Touchdown products have been the most heated ad campaigns since the old Lasso-Dual wars of the 1980's.  A recent Monsanto ad indicates just how far the marketers are willing to go in order to convince users that their product has significant
advantages over competing products. 

imitator.jpg (41177 bytes)This ad promotes the greater crop safety of Roundup UltraMax to alternative glyphosate products on Roundup Ready corn, soybean and cotton.  The advertisement warrants inclusion in the Hall of Shame for two reasons.   First, four of the crop injury scenarios involve sulfosate.  Sulfosate is a name used to describe the trimethlysulfonium salt (TMS) of glyphosate - the original Touchdown formulation.  Syngenta recognized that the TMS salt could injure foliage of Roundup Ready crops, and thus introduced Touchdown IQ (diammonium salt of glyphosate) to eliminate this problem.  Thus, these situations involve a product no longer marketed for use on Roundup Ready crops.  The second, and more important reason for inclusion, is that 50% of the injury situations involve the old Touchdown formulation on Roundup Ready corn and cotton.  The TMS formulation of glyphosate (Touchdown 5) was never registered for use on these crops due to the crop injury risk.  While I must give Monsanto credit for clearly indicating that these are non-labeled uses, I'm not sure why a person would be interested in the injury potential associated with an off-label use of a product.

Herbicide selection is an important component of successful crop production for most farmers.  Advertisements such as this tend to confuse users, rather than provide meaningful information to help guide management decisions (but then, I guess that is a purpose of advertising).

Acknowledgement:  I would like to thank the person in Missouri who forwarded this ad to me - names are withheld to protect the innocent.

Prepared by Bob Hartzler, extension weed management specialist, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University

For more information contact:
ISU Extension Agronomy
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Voice: (515) 294-1923
Fax: (515) 294-9985
http://www.weeds.iastate.edu
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Common chemical and trade names are used in this publication. The use of trade names is for clarity by the reader. Inclusion of a trade name does not imply endorsement of that particular brand of herbicide and exclusion does not imply nonapproval.