Syngenta, the new company formed by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals, wants farmers to think of it as a new ally in their fight to return to profitability.

“Like the farmers we serve, Syngenta is focused solely on agriculture,” says Bob Woods, president of Syngenta Corp., United States. “The Syngenta vision is to deliver better food to a better world through outstanding crop solutions. Our ag-only focus will help us realize that vision.”

At its launch, Syngenta became the world's largest company dedicated solely to agribusiness and the market leader in each region it serves, according to company spokesmen. In 1999, Syngenta had global pro forma sales of $7 billion-plus and pro forma sales of $2.5 billion in North America.

“Syngenta is dedicated to helping growers get the full potential from everything they grow,” said Heiri Gugger, president and CEO, Syngenta Crop Protection, North America.

“This means working closely with our channel partners in offering increasingly tailored, innovative products in all areas; maintaining a strong research pipeline; and continuing to focus on grower needs and the demands of the entire feed and food chain.”

Woods and Gugger spoke at an Internet press conference in which they discussed the implications of the merger.

Rural Foodshare

During the conference, they also announced the formation of the Syngenta Rural FoodShare initiative, a program that will donate $500,000 in 2001 to America's Second Harvest and the Canadian Association of Food Banks.

“At Syngenta, we're dedicated solely to agribusiness and committed to creating a safe, high quality food supply,” said Woods. “Yet we recognize that even in the heart of North America, too many families don't know where their next meal is coming from.

“With this contribution, we want to focus attention on rural hunger and take steps to help alleviate hunger in the communities that play a crucial role in producing food for Americans and others around the world,” he added.

The funds provided by Syngenta will be used to distribute about 15 million pounds of food to hungry families across rural North America. The donation will help insure that rural communities have access to a variety of nutritious foods donated by growers, processors and manufacturers.

Silage corn hybrid guarantee noted

California silage corn growers are eligible for a special Monsanto program called the “More Energy for Milk Guarantee.”

To qualify a grower must plant at least 100 incremental acres of an eligible DEKALB or Asgrow corn hybrid and compare that hybrid against a similar Pioneer or Novartis hybrid. If the DEKALB or Asgrow hybrid doesn't produce a higher Net Energy for Lactation value, Monsanto will pay the grower $20 per acre, up to $10,000 per grower.

Eligible DEKALB corn hybrids are DK679, DK697 and DK743. Eligible Asgrow hybrids are RX897, RX913 and RX938. Growers must plant 100 more acres of one of these hybrids than was planted during the 2000 growing season.

“Monsanto is offering this risk-free program to encourage growers to try our hybrids,” says Bill Cox, seed systems manager for Monsanto in California. “We're confident that these Asgrow and DEKALB hybrids will increase milk production for dairymen in the state.”

The More Energy for Milk Guarantee program compares the values of the Net Energy for Lactation at three times maintenance energy requirements for the eligible DEKALB and Asgrow silage corn hybrids with those from Pioneer or Novartis brand silage corn hybrids. Measurements will be made by JL Analytical Services, Inc., in Modesto, Calif., in cooperation with the University of California, Davis using chemical analysis and in-vitro determinations of the digestibility of structural fiber.

To participate, growers can obtain a “More Energy for Milk Guarantee” entry form from their local Monsanto representative, DEKALB or Asgrow seed dealer. Entries must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2001.

Chem Nut and West's IAP ally to be larger retailer

Pitchman John Madden proclaims, “Ace is the place” for hardware.

The 26-member West Coast-based Independent Agribusiness Professional (IAP) and Georgia-based Chem Nut Inc., a stock held corporation of more than 200 members wants to be known as the independent place for farmers to purchases agrichemicals and fertilizers along with a variety of other services.

Chem Nut, with headquarters in Albany, Ga., has joined with IAP based in Fresno, Calif., to create the largest organization of independent retailers in the U.S.

The combined agricultural receipts from members will approach more than $2 billion annually, according to IAP president Roger Carter and Chem Nut president Howard Corbett.

The two men discussed the alliance recently at the National Cotton Council's Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Anaheim, Calif.

The alliance, they said, will strengthen the volume buying power of their independent members, allowing them to compete even more aggressively in today's agrichemical and fertilizer markets.

‘Strength in numbers’

“There is strength in numbers and we want to use this strength to maximize such things as rebates and profit opportunities,” said Corbett.

“Together, we will be even stronger over a larger geographical territory,” according to Carter. “This move puts us in the category of a national distributor with more crops and more buying power. It's the difference between a Wal-Mart and local department store.”

Chem Nut's base is from the Carolinas to Texas and IAP from Texas through the Pacific Northwest.

IAP's membership totals 26 large independent agri-retailers while Chem Nut is a stock-held corporation of 200 active members representing about 260 retail locations.

“We are convinced this alliance will make all our members more efficient to better serve the needs of local growers,” he said.

Kit converts Cat Challenger to Wide-Track configuration

Caterpillar Agricultural Products now offers a kit to convert Challenger 35, 45 and 55 tractors from standard track spacing to the Wide-Track configuration.

According to David R. Smith, senior marketing consultant for Cat Ag Products, the kit allows conversion of a 60-inch base gauge tractor to an 80-inch base gauge tractor.

Smith says the standard gauge Challenger tractor, which was introduced in 1994, was the first to offer the benefits of rubber tracks for row-crop applications. “This is still the most commonly found configuration in the field and is ideal for many of the common row spacings,” he says.

The Wide-Track option was first offered in 1997. “A hallmark of this tractor line is versatility,” Smith adds. “The conversion kit is a Caterpillar exclusive, designed for customers whose needs have changed or whose operations call for the performance characteristics of a Wide-Track Challenger tractor.”

Track spacing, also referred to as gauge spacing, is the distance between the centers of the left and right hand drive wheels on a rubber-belted ag tractor. Challenger 35, 45 and 55 tractors are available in standard gauge or a Wide-Track configuration.

Standard gauge track spacing adjusts from 60 to 90 inches in two-inch increments. The Wide-Track configuration allows track spacing to be adjusted, in two-inch increments, from 80 to 120 inches.

In addition to the conversion kit, Caterpillar has made several updates to the row-crop Challenger tractor line. These features are available on new machines, and can also be retrofitted to earlier model Challenger 35, 45 and 55 tractors.

Improve and update

“It has been a tradition at Caterpillar to not only continuously improve the tractors made today, but also to offer customers options to update their earlier model Challenger tractors to serve as long-term partners on the farm,” Smith says.

Recent updates/retrofit options include:

  • Slip limit over-ride control.
  • Float feature for three-point hitch.
  • Control module software.
  • Improved radio and CD player option.
  • Larger side-mounted mirrors.
  • Lever release hydraulic couplers.

For more information about these updates, retrofit options and Challenger tractors, contact your local Caterpillar dealer or visit Caterpillar's Web site at www.CAT.com.