AgriBusiness Global, sister publication to CropLife Magazine, sat down with UPL’s Brian Ahrens, Head of U.S. Sales, and Tom Mudd, Marketing Manager, Corn & Soybean Herbicides to discuss the rapid expansion of the glufosinate molecule and what it means for ag.
Can you talk about developments in the glufosinate space over the past year, and what you are expecting for ’21?
Brian Ahrens: With UPL being based in India, we are close to the Asian markets. When you look at countries like Vietnam and the Philippines, there were a lot of quick regulatory restrictions on active ingredients like paraquat and glyphosate.
While we were coming into our summer last year and people were getting into harvest, here in North America, it was pretty quiet about glufosinate. But, as we started to prepare for our fall market, we were becoming aware that, because of those bans, there were quick surges of our supply going into Vietnam and neighboring countries. When that happened, in Brazil, Argentina, North America, and Canada we started picking up on those supply situations. Our price was still staying relatively low, but as we went into our campaign year of 2021, in September and October, the pace started picking up.
People started coming out with fall programs just like we did, and we soon realized that with that quick removal of supply that was supposed to be coming into the Western hemisphere, that those price points changed. Orders started really started coming in as we thought about what was happening here in the U.S. marketplace. People at that time were still unaware of what was going to happen with dicamba.
Tom Mudd: On the global perspective, we’re hearing that some of the generic suppliers here in the U.S. that usually source product out of China are struggling to get (glufosinate) supply. Part of that is, they are using more of the production domestically in China for their own needs, so a lot less is being exported out of China.
Of course, you compound that with what is going on in the U.S. market: We’re probably seeing glufosinate-traited acres double this year with the increase in new traits in soybeans, such as Enlist E3, LibertyLink GT, and XtendFlex. We are going to have a lot more crop acres that are enabled for glufosinate and that, coupled with the fact that we’re continuing to see an increase in glyphosate resistance is driving demand domestically here in the U.S.