Monsanto has announced plans to significantly reduce the price of its Roundup herbicide. The company also announced additional investment in U.S. manufacturing capacity to help provide a long-term, reliable supply of Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate.

“We anticipate farmers will see Roundup prices that are 50 percent of what they were last year,” said Glenn Stith, North American crop protection lead. “This new price is effective now as retailers and farmers begin planning for the 2010 planting season.

“The global glyphosate business was incredibly volatile in 2008 and 2009 resulting in a difficult situation for both suppliers and farmers,” Stith says. “Retailers and farmers faced uncertain product supply, rapidly fluctuating prices, and some quality issues from Chinese suppliers that led to crop safety concerns and failures in weed control.

“It is critical for U.S. farmers to have a trusted and reliable source in a highly competitive market that has seen dramatic fluctuations. We believe we can offer farmers a competitively priced product that is superior to the Chinese generics in the market.”

There are two primary sources of glyphosate — Monsanto and approximately 50 China-based companies, many of which are government-owned or controlled operations that frequently shift production based on changes in policy and need for the key raw materials. This can have a significant impact on supply to U.S. farmers, Stith says.

Monsanto says it has invested $200 million in additional capacity in its Luling, La., plant that supplies formulated Roundup agricultural herbicide brands. The added supply from Luling will come online in the months to come. The company has also made investments to increase mining capacity for glyphosate raw materials in southeastern Idaho. Proposed plans for the mine are currently under regulatory review.

Farmers using Roundup brand agricultural herbicides continue to receive the backing of the Roundup Rewards program, which offers several programs to manage risk on the farm. Since it began, the Roundup Rewards program has paid farmers more than half a billion dollars through programs including replant, crop loss and Start Clean, Stay Clean program as well as warranties on Roundup brand agricultural herbicide performance.

“We encourage farmers to contact their local retailer as they plan for the 2010 season. Talk to them about the weed control programs that will meet local field conditions and design a full program approach,” said Matt Helms, North America crop protection marketing lead.