Currently, herbicide resistance is increasingly troubling more and more growers, especially in those regions where genetically modified crops are widely grown and non-selective herbicides are used indiscriminately.
At the same time, growers are badly in need of labor-saving solutions due to the decreasing number of people in agriculture who are also aging. It is in such a scenario that flumioxazin emerges as one of the herbicides with the fastest sales growth globally in recent years.
According to Phillips McDougall, the global sales of flumioxazin in 2018 was US$380 million, ranking 12 in global herbicide sales, which is double as compared to five years ago and about five times 10 years ago. Data show that the global demand for the TC of this product today is close to 2,000 tons. It is expected the global demand will double in the coming five years as more and more agricultural players have been promoting the use of this product.
Data source: Kleffmann, customs data and forecasts
Increasing registrations in China, covering a diversify of crops
According to ICAMA’s registration data
, the number of flumioxazin-related registrations in China has increased in the past two years, and now there are many more varieties of single-formulation products and combined-formulation products than before. At present, 99.2% registrations for technical products of flumioxazin are held by 19 companies. Flumioxazin 50% WP is registered by three companies, including two Chinese companies of which the products are mainly used for controlling annual weeds in peanut fields, and one Japanese company, Sumitomo, of which the products can be used in soybean fields, peanut fields and citrus plantations. Flumioxazin 51% WG is registered by three companies and flumioxazin 480g/L SC by one company(Yifan
Biotechnology Group Co., Ltd.), both for controlling annual weeds in soybean fields.
In terms of combination formulation, in addition to the combined wettable powder of flumioxazin and glyphosate
or glufosinate (both for weed control in uncultivated land), there are flumioxazin + pendimethalin 34% EC for controlling weeds in cotton fields from Anhui Xifengshou Agricultural Science & Technology Co., Ltd. and Shandong Kesai Agrochem Biotechnology Co., Ltd., and flumioxazin + acetochlor 73% EC for controlling weeds in soybean fields from Shandong Kesai Agrochem Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
China is strongly supporting the cultivation of oil crops and textile crops, we believe there will be much more prducts of flumioxazin registered on soybean, peanut and cotton. And also, many companies are exploring the application on orchard, number of registration on Non-cultivated land is increasing too.
Refering a lot of field trial data in China, flumioxazin has many superiorities compared to existing herbicides:
* Fast and long-lasting effect: it takes effect two days after its application and has a residual effect for more than 50 days. Compared to most soil treatment herbicides, flumioxazin has doubled efficacy and is time- and labor-saving.
Comparison of crop 60 days after application of flumioxazin + metolachlor
* Destroyer of malignant weeds: it can effectively control many tough malignant weeds such as Amaranthus retroflexus, Portulaca oleracea, Herba acalyphae, Amaranthus hybridus, Solanum nigrum, Conyza canadensis, Chenopodium album, etc. This product is used as an effective solution to combat malignant weeds in soybean, cotton and sugarcane fields in the US and Brazil, and is one of the few products available in China to effectively control malignant weeds such as Solanum nigrum in cotton fields.
* The best partner of non-selective herbicides: it can be combined with glyphosate or glyphosate to expand the spectrum of weed control, increase the action speed, improve the low-temperature effect and prolong the residual effect period. Flumioxazin is one of the first herbicides included in the former Roundup Ready Plus program of Monsanto to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds. In Japan, the mixture of flumioxazin and glufosinate has been used to control weeds in orchards a long time ago.
In addition to the three superiorities mentioned above, flumioxazin has many other advantages, such as small use rate as low as 3.5~7 grams per mu; applicable to a wide range of crops, such as soybean, peanut, cotton, sunflower, sugar cane, vegetables and orchards; high safety in rotation, suitable for succeeding crops such as corn, wheat, barley, sorghum, alfalfa and even sugar beet.
Malignant weeds destroyer still need in-depth research on application
Flumioxazin can be used for soil treatment to control common annual broadleaf weeds and some grassy weeds, such as Amaranthus retroflexus, Amaranthus blitum, Chenopodium album, Solanum nigrum, Portulaca oleracea, Commelina communis, Commelina benghalensis, Eclipta prostrate, etc. in crops such as soybean, peanut, cotton, garlic and the like, and has special effects on malignant/resistant weeds such as redroot (herbicide-resistant Amaranthus retroflexus) in soybean fields in Northeast China and Solanum nigrum in cotton fields in Xinjiang.
Phytotoxicity caused by flumioxazin
Solanum nigrum is a tough herbicide-resistant weed in Xinjiang’s cotton fields, which can hardly be controlled by common chemicals. Flumioxazin is the right solution for such a weed and some glyphosate-resistant weeds. Unfortunately, in the middle and late April of this year, extreme high temperatures and rare rainfall occurred in northern Xinjiang, and accordingly, drip irrigation was heavily used. For some cotton fields, dripping was conducted three times for crop emergence. As a result, part of the seedlings in some regions was compromised due to the leaching feature of flumioxazin.
However, judging from the recent performance of cotton fields, the phytotoxicity of flumioxazin has generally been eliminated. Compared to other chemicals such as prometryn, oxyfluorfen and pendimethalin, the phytotoxicity of flumioxazin occurred quickly but seedlings recovered from it firstly. To speed up the elimination of phytotoxicity in cotton fields, amino acid, brassinolide, abscisic acid, amino oligosaccharide or polysaccharide products were generally applied twice by cotton farmers, which helped promote the growth of cotton. Due to the special climatic environment and high use of hormonal products, there is a higher probability of occurrence of diseases and pests, which requires more intensive management of cotton fields subsequently. At present, the accelerating industrialization of flumioxazin is happening in China.
According to our search results, 19 companies in China have obtained the registration certificate for the TCs, including some leading companies such as Lier
Chemical Co., Ltd. , Yifan
Biotechnology Group Co., Ltd., and Shandong Cynda (Chemical) Co., Ltd. Lier Chemical announced a plan in 2018 to invest RMB 350 million to build a 1,000-ton production facility, which is now in operation.
Currently, the price of flumioxazin TC has reached more than RMB300,000/ton. Although the TC price is higher than that of competing herbicides such as oxyfluorfen, sulfentrazone and other protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors, the mu use rate of its active ingredient accounts for only 1/2~1/3 of oxyfluorfen and 1/5~1/6 of sulfentrazone. In terms of the acreage use cost of the active ingredient, flumioxazin has a sharp cost-performance advantage. However, agribusinesses still need to implement in-depth research on the development of formulations and application technologies targeting local conditions.
Sumitomo seize Brazil Flumioxazin market, China's companies are coming after
Throughout the world, Brazil is the most important market for flumioxazin, accounting for about 28% of its global sales, followed by the United States (US) and China. Soybean is the biggest consumer of flumioxazin, with sales of $100 million, accounting for 28.5% of the total market. Sugarcane ranked second and cotton third, with sales of $28 million (8.1%) and $25 million (7.0%) respectively.
Sumitomo Brazil imported 1,300 tons of TC directly from Japan in 2019, appartently they are speeding up the marketing in Brazil, in addition, there are at least 6 China's companies are registering flumioxazin in that market. In contrast, the US used to be a major market of this product, a typical product is VALOR-SX 51%WG,produced by Valent USA LLC, a subsidiary of Sumitomo, mainly for soybean and cotton. In 2019, Valent imported about 130 tons of TC from Japan and China respectively, while in 2018, the figure was 816 tons. The sharp decline in US imports in 2019 is directly related to the reduction of soybean cultivation.
China exported 300 tons of flumioxazin (as A.I.) in 2019, 280 tons (as A.I.) in 2018 and 195 tons (as A.I.) in 2017, experiencing rising export year by year. On the contrary, the TC price declines continuously from the peak FOB102.34USD/KG in 2018 to 44.1USD/KG in the first quarter of 2020, reduced by 56%, which is directly related to the further release of the production capacity of this product in China. In near future, China's flumioxazin will be much more competitive.
Flumioxazin techcnial export price change