Rising input costs underscore need for maximizing yield

Greensboro, N.C., April 7, 2008 - Input costs racing upward at a steady pace are putting more pressure on growers’ bottom lines, requiring them to rethink their profit picture and place a sharper eye on inputs. However, commodity prices are at all-time highs, which is very encouraging for the agricultural industry because of the increased demand for commodities from global pressures for feed, food and fuel.

With these increases in production costs, growers cannot afford to sacrifice yield because of weed competition in their fields. Controlling weeds early is critical to maximizing yield potential and profit. University studies show the yield reduction from early-season weed competition costs growers significantly more than the investment in a high-performance residual herbicide.

Scott Langkamp, head of herbicide brands for Syngenta, said the wide range of products Syngenta has to offer allows the company to make the best agronomic and highest-yielding recommendations based on individual needs.

"Offering growers choices is what Syngenta is all about," Langkamp said. "Our broad portfolio of crop protection products complements the seed lines from our seed companies, NK® Seeds, Garst® and Golden Harvest®. Growers should also inquire about our AgriEdge® corn and soybean programs, which provide benefits to use both our crop protection and seed products, including those that contain Agrisure® traits.

"The high costs of fuel, fertilizer and land rents are still more than offset by record corn and soybean prices, offering tremendous opportunity for profit," he said. "While Syngenta offers its own glyphosate product, we also have a strong portfolio of herbicides that are often the better choice for controlling early- and late-season weed competition and managing resistance for maximizing yield potential."

It’s becoming more well-known that any weed competition early in the season will adversely affect crop yield. When weed competition is combined with the threat of glyphosate-resistant weeds and the rapidly-rising price of glyphosate products, researchers are advocating use of pre-emergence herbicides with strong residual control and diverse modes of action to protect yields at a time when commodity prices are high.

"With the recent price increases that glyphosate is undergoing in the marketplace, the incentive is out there to use a residual herbicide to manage the worst weeds," said Bill Johnson, a researcher at Purdue University. "It doesn’t decrease the simplicity of using glyphosate-tolerant corn, but it could increase profitability by minimizing early-season weed competition.

"I think the other thing we really need to leave growers with is that there are several weeds out there that we simply can’t manage with one herbicide or one tactic," he said. "In order to protect yields to take advantage of these high commodity prices, we need to do everything we can to minimize early-season weed interference."

Lumax® or Lexar® corn herbicides and Prefix® soybean herbicide are the best solutions to maximize yield potential, according to Langkamp. All offer high-powered pre-emergence weed control and deliver residual control that outlasts the competition.

In corn, Lumax and Lexar will widen the window for a post-emergence glyphosate application or eliminate the need for it all together. They both also utilize three highly effective modes of action, which make them an excellent tool for managing resistance. In soybeans, Prefix will widen the window for a post-emergence glyphosate herbicide application and offers two proven chemistries for controlling weeds resistant to other herbicide chemistries.

"For growers who want to maximize their yields in corn, getting Lumax or Lexar on pre-emergence is the best way to control weeds," said Gordon Vail, technical brand manager for Syngenta. "Residual weed control is very important, especially now with more glyphosate-resistant weeds out there in the marketplace. Controlling your weeds early is going to be even more critical going forward."

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Syngenta is a world-leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. The company is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2007 were approximately $9.2 billion. Syngenta employs over 21,000 people in more than 90 countries. Syngenta is listed on the Swiss stock exchange (SYNN) and in New York (SYT). Further information is available at www.syngenta.com.

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