Monsanto: Glyphosate Still Strong After 40 Years

Louis Lucas las vegas trade show

Monsanto’s Louis Lucas chats with FCI Managing Editor Jackie Pucci at the FCI Trade Summit — Americas.

Louis Lucas holds one of the most influential agrochemical positions in the world, and the way he got his job back in 1979? He had heard of glyphosate, while his competition for the spot had not.

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Lucas, Monsanto’s Global Glyphosate and Acetochlor Supply Lead, sat down to talk about the glyphosate market at the Media Center on the show floor of the FCI Trade Summit — Americas in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

He is unquestionably positive about the future of the world’s most widely produced herbicide.

“Can you imagine agriculture without it? What systems would you have to go back to if you eliminated glyphosate? I like to think the future of it’s good. The product has been on the market for 40 years. I’d like to believe that 40 years from now it will still be here, although I’m sure there will be other compounds.”

The classification of glyphosate by the World Health Organization’s IARC as a possible carcinogen is just one of countless regulatory challenges that are sure to come, and more than 800 studies conducted that have proved its safety will continue to see it through re-registrations around the globe, he says.

“I think the future for glyphosate is very, very good. It’s probably one of the most versatile herbicides, if not the most versatile.”

Lucas estimated there are currently around 700,000 metric tons of operating capacity in China, and combined with Monsanto’s output, there is an ample amount of supply based on global need. The decline in glyphosate prices over the past 18 months to around $3.25/kg he attributed to a combination of factors including oversupply and slowing growth.

Weed resistance, he says, is an issue in Brazil and the United States more than anywhere else. While there are fewer than 25 weeds resistant to Roundup, there are more than 100 that Roundup still controls, he pointed out. Still, in certain cropping situations, alternative active ingredients are needed, such as in cotton where Palmer amaranth became a severe problem and Monsanto recommended a system of up to four AIs designed to treat the weed.