Our April cover story “Does Brand Matter?” included a look at how Syngenta is positioning its Touchdown IQ glyphosate product to steal market share from Monsanto’s Roundup UltraMax. Syngenta claims its product penetrates weeds better. In our article, we were careful to write that this is Syngenta’s claim, and not necessarily a fact.

As our story went to press, Monsanto was launching a counteroffensive with its own ad campaign. Based on Monsanto’s research trials, the ads claim that Roundup Ultra’s Transorb technology works better than Touchdown at moving the active ingredient glyphosate into weeds. Not surprisingly, Syngenta soon claimed the ads were misleading, and has recently sent out e-mails saying so to farmers across the Corn Belt.

Meanwhile, Iowa State University weed scientist Bob Hartzler has weighed in, saying that he has not seen any independent research showing a consistent advantage of one glyphostate product over another. Hartzler, who questions the methodology of Monsanto’s research, even went so far as to give Monsanto’s ad campaign a place in his herbicide advertising Hall of Shame (see www.weeds.iastate.edu/weednews/adhallofshame.htm).

To read more of Bob Hartzler’s comments, go to www.weeds.iastate.edu.weednews/monsantogly.htm.

A portion of Monsanto’s ad campaign can be seen at www.roundupweedcam.monsanto.com. The opening statement on the Web site says, “Scientists continue to test Roundup UltraMAX™ with patented TranSorb® technology against Syngenta’s latest imitator product so that you don't have to test in your field.”

To see Syngenta’s spin, go to www.syngentacropprotection-us.com/prod/herbicide/touchdown/index.asp?nav=claims.