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Syngenta: U.S. soybeans still top world production
Illinois Correspondent

DEKALB, Ill. — America is still the world leader in soybean production, but could face significant competition from Brazil, according to Andrew Cottrell, business unit marketing head for Syngenta.

“Have we hit a plateau? The bottom line is growers are disappointed in soybean profitability,” Cottrell said.

To improve that profitability, producers need to address at least three areas - genetics, pests and diseases.

“If we continue doing what we’ve always done, we’ll continue to get what we’ve always gotten,” Cottrell said.

He said three key issues are spurring the need to move from soybeans being nothing more than a rotational necessity to being a closely managed money-making crop. Those issues include the increase of soybean aphids, the continuing threat of widespread soybean rust and glyphosate resistance.

Widely used for more than 20 years, five weeds in the United States have become resistant to glyphosate and more are showing signs of resistance: water hemp, horseweed/marestail, Italian ryegrass, pigweed, common ragweed, hairy fleablane and goosegrass to name a few. Several more have become resistant worldwide, said University of Illinois Crop Sciences Professor Emeritus Wayne Pedersen.

“It’s even more important today to scout your fields and know what’s there, what’s becoming resistant,” Pedersen said, because it takes 20 years for a herbicide to go from discovery to market. He cautioned no one is working on anything at this time.

Although resistance is inevitable, “we can delay the onset of resistance with a weed management system,” said Chuck Foresman, technical brand manager for nonselective herbicides with Syngenta. “We need to properly steward what we have to save it for where it’s most important to us.”

Foresman said 180 million acres of corn, cotton and soybeans are sprayed annually with glyphosate.

Pedersen asked the 150 producers assembled if seed treatments really pay. Again, it’s necessary to scout the fields and know what’s there in terms of pests, diseases and growing conditions.

Marcus Jones, manager of technical services, NK Brand, Syngenta Seeds, said if the producer doesn’t start with good seed, genetically, nothing else matters.

“Without good genetics, it’s a tough hill to climb,” Jones said. Speakers offered websites to help producers in some of their decision-making processes. Pedersen suggested for more on seed treatments. Foresman offered for more on glyphosate resistance and how to delay it.

Syngenta is offering several more soybean symposiums around the Midwest:

•Jan. 25 - Ho-Chunk Casino, Hotel and Convention Center, Baraboo, Wis.
•Feb. 1 - Hilton Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.
•Feb. 2 - Holiday Inn Airport, Indianapolis, Ind.
•Feb. 7 - Holiday Inn, Owatonna, Minn.
•Feb. 8 - Holiday Inn City Centre, Sioux Falls, S.D.
•Feb. 13 - Holiday Inn Select, Columbia, Mo.
•Feb. 22 - Gateway Center, Ames, Iowa
•Feb. 23 - Omaha Marriott, Omaha, Neb.
•Feb. 28 - Holiday Inn, Collinsville, Ill.

Presentations begin at 8:45 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Breakfast is served at 8 a.m. and a full lunch buffet is provided.

To register for a symposium, contact Susan Brannan or Catherine Wang at 212-697-2600, or e-mail to or

Published in the January 25, 2006 issue of Farm World.