Glufosinate Ammonium or commonly known as Glufosinate/AG is the most widely used pesticide (herbicide to be exact) in the world after glyphosate. Following the discussion on the price of glyphosate that continues to creep up in our previous articles, it will be interesting to see what happens at AG nowadays.
AG experienced a consistent increase in 2020, specifically from the end of semester 1 of 2020 until now. The price increase is predicted to touch 38.00 US Dollars per kilogram at the end of July 2021. The prediction of this increase is quite strong because it is based on unbalanced supply and demand in the market.
This imbalance initially occurred due to the emergence of COVID-19 cases in China at the end of 2019. Security and regional quarantine to overcome the pandemic problem were the reason why several agrochemical companies in China withheld some of their glufosinate export supplies abroad.
The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted several countries to issue regional quarantine policies for safety purposes. This policy, on the other hand, also tightens cargo delivery in various modes of transportation.
Detention of shipments, increased transportation costs, and the implementation of strict health protocols made the increase in glufosinate prices unavoidable in the first half of 2020. Pandawa Agri Indonesia recorded the price of glufosinate reaches 21.46 US Dollars as of July 30, 2020, affect these less than ideal conditions that occurred throughout the first semester of 2020.
Entering the second semester of 2020, the price of glufosinate is still increasing. This increase is still closely related to all kinds of issues in the first half of 2020. One of them is the detention of one of the primary ‘intermediate’ supplies of glufosinate in China’s Hubei province for several months.
Whereas the use of glufosinate can be said to be experiencing an upward trend in markets outside China. Glufosinate is considered as an appropriate alternative herbicide active ingredient to control weeds, one of which is soybean weeds in the United States.
The role of glufosinate in the agricultural sector of Uncle Sam’s country is predicted to replace the use of herbicides with the active ingredient dicamba in soybean farming. Glufosinate is considered quite effective in controlling weeds in soybean plants which are considered to have resistant conditions due to the continuous use of dicamba.
Currently, the consumption of glufosinate in the United States depends on raw materials stocks originating from China, namely yellow phosphorus. Because of China’s reserves of high-grade yellow phosphorus subside, the Chinese government has taken decisive action to tighten exports abroad.
This situation triggers the increase of glufosinate raw material prices that is impacting the market price of glufosinate itself. Pandawa Agri Indonesia noted that at the end of 2020, the glufosinate price on the market had reached 26.79 US Dollars per kilogram.
This number continues to climb into 2021 because the fourth or first quarter of each year is usually the peak of the herbicide market. The increase in demand from various consumer countries such as Asia or Latin America increased in the two quarters. The absence of an increase in production capacity that occurred at the end of 2020 or early 2021 made the price of glufosinate reach 28.67 US Dollars as of February 25, 2021.
The campaign to increase glufosinate prices will continue until mid-2021. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and increasing demand without adequate supply support are the main reasons for the lack of signs of a decline in glufosinate prices.
In June 2021, Pandawa Agri Indonesia noted that the price of glufosinate had reached US$30.97 per kilogram. Some experts said that this increase is predicted to reach 38.00 US Dollars at the end of July, higher than the price in 2018.
Glufosinate prices increasing starts to raise agrochemical business players’ and consumers’ concerns. The reason is that glufosinate is currently the active ingredient of herbicides that are widely used following the ban on paraquat in various countries, including Indonesia. Due to restrictions on the use of paraquat, glufosinate is widely used by plantations as the main alternative due to its known semi-contact and semi-systemic properties.
So far, the two active ingredients of these herbicides are the most effective in controlling difficult-to-control weeds in agricultural fields. Then if both experience price increases, what should we do?
As we said in the previous article about glyphosate, there are 3 things that we need to be aware of. Glufosinate price in Indonesia that can increase too, glufosinate price that will change rapidly (monthly or even weekly), and also a limited supply of glufosinate.
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Responding to this vigilance, the need for strategic plans to overcome the increase in glufosinate prices is an important point that we must pay attention to. One of them is using a reductant that can reduce the dose of herbicide without reducing its efficacy.
The use of reductants is proven to reduce the adverse impact of the use of herbicides on the environment. On the other hand, reductants can significantly reduce the cost of purchasing herbicides, which are currently experiencing price increases in the market.
This is good news amid the issue of increasing herbicide prices. Reductants do not have toxicity to the environment or the users who use that. That’s why using these reductants can encourage sustainable agriculture.