Who's laughing now?

December 5, 2016 9:29 AM
Blog Post

I’ll admit it, I enjoy the laughing weeds in Syngenta’s Acuron advertisements. The Acuron Chronicles remind me of something written by Dutch Sylwester more than 60 years ago.  Dutch was ISU’s extension weed scientist from 1945 to 1975, and his skit described the optimism surrounding the introduction of 2,4-D.  While over a half century passed between the introduction of 2,4-D and Acuron, the similarity in the anthropomorphic1 portrayal of weeds in the two pieces is scary.  The following are comments made by the weeds regarding the farmer’s attempts to control them with herbicides.   Can you guess which ones were from Syngenta’s Acuron Chronicles and Dutch’s skit2?

a.  “Save your breath, Grampa”

b.  “That sprayer doesn’t have a prayer”

c.  “You haven’t heard the last of us”

d.  “Nothing can stop us”

e.  “Hey corn, we got sprayed again - but we’re still here”

f.  “A sprayer?  Ha!  Go tell it to the Marines”

g.  “Sprayer, you’ll never have the horsepower to take me out”

h.  “Just try to stop us.  Just try”

I have no problem with the humorous take in the Syngenta ads, although I will admit I’m not a fan of one-pass programs.  Portraying weeds as ‘playground bullies’ that can be easily managed with an appropriate herbicide treatment may be an effective marketing strategy, but it glosses over the critical importance of integrated weed management in the struggle against herbicide resistance.  Hopefully everyone involved in this battle understands the difference between marketing and sound weed management.

1Anthropomorphic – giving human characteristics to non-human things
2Quotes attributed to Dutch’s weeds:  a, d, f, h

Syngenta's giant ragweed and waterhemp belittling the farmer's
attempt at control.

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Bob Hartzler Professor of Agronomy

Dr. Bob Hartzler is a professor of agronomy and an extension weed specialist. He conducts research on weed biology and how it impacts the efficacy of weed management programs in corn and soybean. Dr. Hartzler also teaches undergraduate classes in weed science and weed identificatio...