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Reports of short supplies of glyphosate and glufosinate concern growers; manufacturers confident in supply

By: Shaun Haney

April 30, 2021

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As farmers begin to hit the field in Canada, ensuring adequate supplies of crop protection products is essential for the growing season.

As retailers get product in place, growers are hearing of potential shortages of glufosinate and glyphosate in the U.S., both of which are critical early in the growing season. These two products touch the growing season of most major crops in one way or another across the country.

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In both cases, the Canadian supply situation does not appear to be as dire or impacted at all, although farmers are paying attention to such an important part of the weed control options.

A spokesperson for Bayer Canada says that despite the global demand the company does not see any major supply issues for the overall Canadian market for Roundup brands.

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“Challenges due to COVID have provided some delays with 10L packaging on certain Roundup products, but we have been able to manage these forecasts with other products,” the company says.

It’s a similar story from BASF. Mark Shillingford, director of marketing, crop protection, with BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, says, “BASF is not experiencing production challenges; we’re currently well positioned to meet Canadian farmers’ Liberty needs this season.”

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Although Bayer and BASF believe the supplies will be adequate in Canada, several growers communicated personal stories to RealAgriculture that their retailer expressed concern about getting enough product on farm.

It seems the U.S. situation is happening because of a “perfect storm of pandemic slowdowns, shipping issues and increased demand from farmers”, according to a recent Farm Journal story. The concern is high enough that some retailers there are talking about rationing products.

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BASF U.S. did tell Farm Journal that a multitude of issues has “tightened” the glufosinate supply and the company had implemented measures to ensure product is on ground at the right time such as expedited air freight from overseas and securing multiple new sources for intermediate material needs.

In Canada, BASF produces Liberty at Regina, Sask., which recently underwent a $14 million upgrade to improve production flexibility, quality, and reliability according to the company. The facility’s sole purpose is to produce for the Canadian market.

BASF’s ability in Canada to forecast Liberty sales accurately is very tied to its connection to to the InVigor hybrid canola business.

According to Bayer, even though its supply of Roundup is produced in the U.S., the company feels confident that Canada will not be shorted on supply.

“We’re continuing to bring Roundup supplies in from our U.S. production plants to meet the forecasted volumes of our Canadian customers. Meeting the needs of the Canadian market for Roundup is a 12-month consultation process, whereby our channel partners help forecast the demand and product arrival time throughout the year. To date, we have not seen any major production issues and have been supplying our customers with their committed Roundup volumes; as such, we’ve not felt the need to reach out to farmers directly with any supply concerns,” the company says.

All Canadian-based retailers we contacted refused to comment on supplies of either product for the 2021 growing season.