• Agronomic Insights, WUC - Insights
  • Apr 28, 2022

Glyphosate supply: What you need to know

Glyphosate is one of the hottest topics in agriculture right now, and for good reason. Supply is low and demand is high for this product that has become second nature to have on your input need list each year.
But this year, glyphosate is not so easy to come by.
“2022 represents the second year of global glyphosate supply chain challenges and production challenges. So, the market is currently tight on supply because we used up the inventory reserves last year, and now supply to the market is connected only to current production as it comes in,” says David Van Dam, director of business development and eastern sales, for WinField United Canada.
Last year, when COVID-19 put a strain on the ability to get glyphosate to the right place at the right time, the industry didn’t feel the pressure as much because of the reserve that many companies had, says Van Dam.
But in 2021, COVID-19 wasn’t the only issue that put a strain on the supply chain.
“The Luling, Louisiana facility for Bayer is the biggest glyphosate production facility in the world and produces an extensive amount of glyphosate for North America. That facility got hit with a hurricane Ida and was shut down for over six weeks, having major impacts. There was also a massive flooding event that happened in China in July 2021 that impacted the biggest production facility of glyphosate in China.
“So, you took China's and North America's number one glyphosate facilities out with natural disasters and production was down for a significant period of time, plus inventories got damaged. So, they had to backfill those. Those are some big factors, some of the biggest factors impacting supply today,” says Van Dam.
China also took a step towards reducing their carbon emissions last fall and that meant certain areas of the country had planned shutdowns.
“It's a rotating grid. So, for the shutdowns each plant takes a turn, and then they rotate who gets to run and who doesn't. That rotating shutdown structure is likely going to be in place indefinitely,” says Michael Kereluik, product line manager for WinField United Canada.
This means that the glyphosate facility in China couldn’t run continuously, like it normally would.
“It's like a perfect storm of everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong in glyphosate,” says Kereluik.
And that brings us to present day in Canada and the issues with glyphosate for the 2022 season. While things are tight, what we have for product will cover the acres need it this year.
“But there won't be enough if people hoard it or didn't plan or spread it out. There's enough coming in to cover the acres, we just got to be smart about how we spread it out,” says Van Dam. “That's how we're going to have to do this because it's going to be hand to mouth throughout the season.”
If you’re interested in learning ways to help use more with less when it comes to glyphosate, Errin Willenborg, market and development lead for WinField United Canada, recently talked about this in an article.
As for what you can do in the future, you need to plan and understand that these issues won’t be going away for a while yet.
“I don't think this is going away. It's going to be around at least through spring, probably into the summer. That’s just my opinion, but I think everyone would say that the supply challenges aren't going away, you have to plan, you have to work with your supplier and you have to work with your retail partner. I don't think you can take it for granted that the product is just going to be there. If you need it, you have to plan for both from an availability as well as a costing strategy,” says Kereluik.
If you want to learn more about glyphosate and the current situation, reach out to your WinField United account manager or market development manager or your local retailer for more information.

Featuring: David Van Dam, director of business development and eastern sales (left) and Michael Kereluik, product line manager (right) - WinField United Canada

Featuring: David Van Dam, director of business development and eastern sales - WinField United Canada
Michael Kereluik, product line manager - WinField United Canada

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