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Pre-harvest desiccation of wheat increases herbicide consumption in Brazilqrcode

Apr. 15, 2022

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Apr. 15, 2022

Pre-harvest desiccation of wheat increases herbicide consumption in Brazil

In the 2021 season, the sales value of agricultural pesticides used on wheat crops was US$268 million, an increase of 19% compared to the previous cycle, when products worth US$224 million were sold.

These statistics came from a survey by the BIP Spark Wheat – Business Intelligence Panel conducted by the consultancy Spark Smarter Decisions, which AgroPages had first-hand access to. For the first time in the company's history, herbicides were the products most demanded by producers, and sales of inputs rose 37% to US$104 million from US$76 million in 2020.

According to Spark's research specialist Victória Barbalho, the rise in herbicide sales can be mainly explained by wheat farmers increasingly adopting desiccation during the pre-harvest stage. This practice presupposes product applications when wheat grains reach the so-called 'physiological maturation' or best quality point. “This measure ensures uniformity in the crop, even when the weather is unfavorable, making harvesting easier and reducing costs,” she said.

According to Spark, in the 2021 harvest, desiccation accounted for cereal herbicide sales worth US$28 million, and data also indicates that the practice was used on 1.4 million hectares. “A total of 55% of the planted area had at least one application through desiccation. The indicator more than doubled, compared to 2017,” Barbalho said. Compared to the 2020 cycle, when crops accounted for 2.2 million hectares, the use of desiccation rose 14%, according to BIP Spark Wheat.

“BIP Spark Wheat 2021 highlights a strong tendency for desiccation to surprise again in the coming harvests. Triticulturists can see an advantage in adhering to this management method, especially in regions where the climate makes it possible to anticipate the harvest, as well as the planting of soybeans,” Barbalho added.

According to Spark, the general growth of the market for agrochemicals used for wheat in the 2021 crop was linked to two factors, which include a 10% increase in planted area from 2.2 million hectares to 2.5 million hectares, and an increase in input costs. The consultancy also stated the demand for wheat in the international market boosted the crop, despite the unfavorable climate of the South for corn. “Cereal can replace grain in the production of animal feed,” Barbalho explained.

Among other agrochemicals, fungicides, the second category of importance, accounted for 34% of sales,  grew 13% to US$ 92 million compared to US$81 million in 2020. Insecticides came in third place, accounting for 10% or US$27 million, and an increase of 11% or US$25 million. Seed treatment products, with a total trade value of US$26 million, were also in the range of 10% in terms of share, followed by adjuvants with 3% or US$15 million, and growth regulators with 1% or US$4 million.

According to Spark, the states of Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul remain the largest wheat producers in the country, sowing 1.2 million hectares or 47% of cereals and 1.1 million hectares or 45%, respectively. Together, SP, SC and MG accounted for 8%.

(Editing by Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages)

Source: AgroNews

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