THE CROP protection industry is closely monitoring global glyphosate supplies after Bayer was forced to call a Force Majeure event after one of its suppliers of the raw materials used to make glyphosate suffered a serious mechanical fault in its plant.
Force majeure is a legal term for an event that constitutes unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.
In a statement Bayer's global head of active ingredient manufacturing Udo Schneider said the company's ability to supply its customer with glyphosate or glyphosate based products as per agreements could be impacted.
However, there was better news locally with a Bayer Australia spokesperson saying in a statement they did not expect the news to disrupt glyphosate supplies to Australia for the all-important autumn planting window.
While the news in itself is not the major threat to Australian glyphosate supplies it was when Monsanto, now part of Bayer, held the patent to the herbicide, there are still potentially serious ramifications.
The global crop protection industry is experiencing historically tight supply due to challenging trade flows, effects of the pandemic and other forces which have continued to put pressure on already tight supplies, which will mean further disruptions to the supply chain will put even more strain on the market.
The Bayer spokesperson said the company was working with its customers to help manage supply to best meet their needs, and the needs of Australian growers.
"We are currently working to understand if there are any immediate implications for Australian customers and growers and will be providing more information as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.
News reports have indicated the issues at the raw materials plant may extend for as long as three months.
With good summer rain over much of the Australian cropping belt a significant amount of glyphosate has already been used this year in summer spraying programs.
Prices for glyphosate are at close to record levels, well in excess of $10 a litre, with quotes in some areas closer to $15/l.
The news with Bayer, while not directly majorly influential on Australian supplies has growers nervous that there could be further difficulties in getting supplies as those tied up with Bayer come back to the market to compete for even tighter supplies.
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