A new Rabobank report says that the threat of glyphosate suspension in Brazil remains, and that farmers will face higher costs if they are forced to procure substitute herbicides.
In August, a Brazilian judge ordered the sale and use of glyphosate to be suspended until the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency concludes a toxicity re-evaluation. The injunction was overturned in September, but proponents of the ban on glyphosate may still appeal that decision. If the judgement remains in place, the soybean chain could face difficulties in controlling weed infestations in the next crop season, due to the high dependency on this product, the report says.
Rabobank expects a small impact on the pace of Brazil’s soybean acreage expansion for the upcoming season. This will curb the production potential slightly. Although plantings of existing fields will not be cut, yields could still be negatively impacted if there is a lack of alternative herbicides.
“If the glyphosate suspension continues, farmers will have to go back to the market and procure substitutes for this active ingredient – an alternative is a basket of herbicides used in conventional soybean areas. This could increase farmers’ expenditure on herbicides by around 80%, at current prices, or $30/ha. Although, the increase in costs could be much higher because the additional demand will boost the prices of other herbicides,” the report says.
Brazil will start the planting of the 2018/19 season in mid-September and Rabobank expects Brazilian soybean acreage to reach 36.7m hectares, up from 35.1m hectares last season. This potential increase in area has been boosted by good margin expectations, given higher export premiums and BRL devaluation.
“We cannot ignore the scenario in which farmers are both unable to use glyphosate and are unable to find enough substitute products in the market. The reduction in demand for the substitutes during last decades has affected production and current stocks level could not fulfil demand expectations. This means that the ban could cause unpredictable losses in soybean yields, in total Brazilian crop size, and in uncountable losses for the whole chain,” according to the report.
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