Anthem Could Strengthen FMC's role in Herbicide Market

Extraordinary new compound could be available next year.

Published on: Jul 13, 2011

Those who thought there would only be two or three chemical companies left by now may have miscalculated. FMC Corporation began a transition from a company just selling insecticides to a company selling herbicides, with Authority and then Cadet, about five years ago. This week FMC is unveiling what it hopes will become its' flagship herbicide in plot tours across the Midwest, from York, Nebraska to Noblesville, Indiana.

"We're really excited about what Anthem can do for farmers and for our company," says Bog Hooten of FMC. "There are many good pre and early post products on the market, but this one controls a few more weeds than most, and lasts longer than most. That will make it a very flexible herbicide."

The beauty of Anthem is that it can be used in corn and soybeans. It can be applied preemergence or early post, and is designed to complement a Roundup Ready or Liberty Link system. Rights to the brand new compound are actually owned by a Japanese company, who is in the process of getting final approval for the compound.

Once that happens, FMC will submit for registration fro Anthem and Anthem ATZ with the Environmental Protection Agency. Anthem ATZ contains atrazine, and is only designed for corn applications.

Anthem is very good on grasses, but it is not just a grass herbicide, Hooten insists. It also picks up a number of broadleaf weeds, and provides control or suppression of some of the more common escapes, including suppression of morningglory.

Although the goal is to receive registration by spring of 2012, FMC officials realize that would mean tricky timing for a 2012 launch. Their current plans call for a full launch to farmers in 2013. They hope to have approval in time to put out plots with the help of dealers and retailers who handle their products on actual farms next year.

The company has some 14 research plots out this summer. Their goal is not only to reaffirm how well the product works against various weeds, but to learn more about the right rate and most economical rate to recommend on the product label for various soils. Soil pH does not affect it.

The fact that the product provides full-season residual control of many weeds means it will be a more flexible tool in a farmer's toolkit, Hooten says. The ability to add atrazine through Anthem ATZ for corn will help in certain situations where atrazine can provide a little extra punch against problem weeds.