Glyphosate shortage concerns reach new level with Bayer reporting supplier problem

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Concerns about a shortage of a key herbicide have risen to a new level, as Bayer has informed customers about a problem with sourcing a raw ingredient needed for making glyphosate.

While supplies of many crop protection products are already tight, the significance of this supplier issue on glyphosate supplies is not yet clear.

Udo Schneider, Bayer’s global head of active ingredient manufacturing, sent a letter to certain customers on February 11, 2022 stating that a supplier of a raw ingredient of glyphosate experienced a mechanical failure at a manufacturing plant, and that this would lead to a substantial reduction in glyphosate production. The letter says repairs at the facility could take three months.

According to Schneider’s letter, Bayer is declaring a “force majeure” event — potentially absolving them of certain contractual obligations and purchase order terms.

On February 14, Bayer officials in Canada told retailers that they expect “some near-term impacts” on the supply of glyphosate and Roundup-branded products in Canada as a result of the failure at the supplier’s plant.

“We are working through those challenges and will be communicating volume impacts of our branded Roundup products as soon as possible,” says a notice sent to Canadian stakeholders on February 14.

The equipment failure occurred at a plant that supplies a raw ingredient for Bayer’s production facility in Luling, Louisiana.

Bayer says it has sourced additional raw materials and is making other production changes to help alleviate the shortfall in the meantime.

“Due to the historically tight supplies on crop protection products, we’ve already been working with our customers on supply management of our Roundup-branded products, and that will continue for the foreseeable future as we work together to meet their needs,” says the notice sent to Canadian retailers.

More to come…

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect new information, including the notice sent to Canadian stakeholders on February 14.

Related: 

Reports of looming shortages of glyphosate and glufosinate downplayed by suppliers

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