US farmers hit by chemical shortages – Reuters

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Soaring herbicide prices threaten to reduce harvests, industry experts told the media

US farmers have curbed the use of common weedkillers and changed their planting plans over persistent shortages of agricultural chemicals, Reuters reported on Monday, citing interviews with industry players.

They told the new agency that spraying smaller volumes of herbicides and turning to less-effective fungicides increase the risk of weeds and diseases crippling crop production at a time when global grain supplies are already tight.

“This is off the charts … Everything was delayed, delayed, delayed,” said Shawn Inman, the owner of distributor Spinner Ag in Zionsville, Indiana. According to him, supplies are currently the tightest in his 24-year career.

Prices for glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides soared more than 50% from last year, Inman said. The costs of glyphosate reached $50-60 a gallon, up from less than $20 a gallon in mid-2021.

Chemicals giant BASF told Reuters that the supply situation with glufosinate and other herbicides will not improve significantly next year.

Meanwhile, weed specialists at Texas A&M University have warned that reduced usage of herbicides this summer would leave farmers with more weeds to fight for the next two years.

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