A shortage of a type of herbicide widely used on cotton crops in the southeastern U.S. apparently has some concerned that Bayer CropScience is trying to corner the market on cotton seed. According to a report from the South East Farm Press, rumors are swirling that Bayer colluded to create an artificial shortage of its Liberty and Ignite glufosinate herbicides to force other companies out of the cotton seed market.
According to the report, both herbicides are intended for use with LibertyLink seed crops, also marketed by Bayer, as well as non-Liberty Link crops such as Phytogen cotton seed, which contain a gene marker making these varieties resistant to glufosinate. The farmers who purchased that type of cotton seed, as well as growers who bought Bayer’s Stoneville and FiberMax varieties with the LibertyLink gene for resistance to glufosinate, are having a hard time finding the herbicide.
For its part, Bayer insists the shortage of Liberty and Ignite glufosinate herbicides is not its doing. Instead, the company claims that increased pressure from glyphosate resistant weeds and the use of Liberty herbicide in both LibertyLink and non-LibertyLink crops has pushed demand.
Bayer says its production facilities are working at full capacity to expedite shipments of Liberty herbicide. If that’s true, the supply situation will continue to be less of a problem as the growing season continues. Only time will tell.