For veteran media who go to farm shows there's a pace to the event with Thursday being a catch-up day. This is our chance to get to those we haven't seen and meet with others on topics for future stories. There's plenty of information to be had during the show.
During Day 2 I picked up a few tidbits you might find interesting:
Talking with Dawn Refsell, manager, field development, Valent, about weed resistance, we explored the concept of "effective multiple modes of action." This is your secret weapon for beating resistant weeds, make sure you're using more than one mode of action to hit the field. But there's some other interesting information. She notes that weed scientists are finding that a tank mix with multiple modes may be more effective than a 'sequential' attack with multiple modes.
Kind of makes sense, if you use one effective mode of action at a time, that might give some of that weed population more of a chance to develop resistance, but if there's at least two in the tank when you spray, you're giving weeds a kind of one-two punch. Interesting thought.
At Syngenta, we learned that for 2016 the Duracade stewardship program will be different than in the past. Since that trait was put into the market Syngenta has worked with Gavilon - a grain company - to be the buyer of the corn with the trait and Gavilon would than make sure that corn didn't go to markets where Duracade (a new rootworm trait) wasn't approved - Europe and China.
For 2016, Syngenta will work to steward who buys the grain - so that most farmers buying the product are going to use it on their own farms or sell it to local users. Remember, 85% of the U.S. corn crop is fed to livestock in this country, and Syngenta plans to leverage that.
As for that other issue, that growing pile of Viptera lawsuits? Duane Martin, with Syngenta, talked about that issue, and the company has done its homework. They contend that the corn price had already fallen before the first rejection of a load of whole corn by China. He had a price chart showing corn prices -including the market slide in 2013, which shows it occurred before the China move.
The company has moved for a dismissal in a district court case in Minnesota and is awaiting a judge's ruling. However, with 1,000s of pending lawsuits building across the country, this issue isn't going away. Interestingly it appears some lawyers trying to attract plaintiffs for their own suits are making some interesting claims, which Syngenta says are patently not true. For example, one is apparently saying that the company has already laid in a $3 billion reserve for the case - Martin says that's not true. And given how public Syngenta's finances have been in the past few months, that's no surprise.
And a little fun
Tuesday's blog offered information from Mike Rowe, of "Dirty Jobs" fame, who spoke at an invitation-only event during the show. I got a chance to talk to Mike before the show for that blog, and thanks to that call, I even got a chance to meet him in person (and get the selfie here).
Rowe was an entertaining speaker offering insight into "work" and into the need for agriculture to step up its public relations game because there are plenty of people who "have set the table" for the industry. We're inclined to agree with him.
I write to farmers, and most of my information goes to farmers, so as a media person there's not a lot I can do to help share the true story of agriculture. When I get the chance to set the record straight on GMOs, organic food and the abundance of American ag, I do my best. But mostly I try to provide you with the tech information you need to help you do better at your job. And that's been a pleasure too since the tech I've been writing about for more than 30 years is the stuff that's helping you grow more corn on less land with less nutrients (per bushel) and maximizing production while remaining sustainable.