In summer, all things flourish. With the temperature rise and the decrease in rainfall, fruit trees are growing rapidly, coming into a critical moment for control of Panonychus citri. There are various kinds of pesticides available for control of Panonychus citri, which is not an easy job, as Panonychus citri may often become resistant in a short time. These are regarded as tough issues for prevention and control of Panonychus citri.
As an acaricide with a unique mechanism of action, bifenazate has a high activity against Panonychus citri in its active stage. Adoption of a best method and the use of bifenazate at best timing in combination with other acaricides may be a good solution to orchard farmer’s long-time headache. Today, AgroPages also noted that due to the lack of scientific guidance on pesticide application, the misuse of bifenazate by users and the irregular act of production of technicals and formulations are causing harm to the life cycle of this excellent acaricide, resulting in threats and challenges to the sound and orderly development of the bifenazate industry sector.
Market demand for bifenazate
It is known that the market demand for bifenazate has been rising in recent years and China has become a major market. The current domestic market demand in China is about 1,600 tons, with price rising from Yuan480,000 per ton to Yuan580,000 per ton in 2020, which then fell back to Yuan500,000 per ton in early 2021. Later, due to the short supply of mainstream intermediates, the price rose again to Yuan520,000-530,000 per ton. However, with the increased production in small factories (grey factories) and the completion of the rollout for the spring shooting, the price has fallen back to around Yuan460,000 per ton.
In terms of the international market, the demand for bifenazate is smaller than that in the Chinese market. The peak export of bifenazate from China in 2016 – 2021 was 330 tons, of which 88% was exported to the United States, followed by India, Turkey and Jordan. China’s export fell sharply in 2019, which was gradually recovered in 2021. In 2019-2020, majority of supply to the global bifenazate market came from the European Union, until 2021, when China regained its absolute proportion of supply of this product, accounting for about 60%.
Ranking of destination countries of Chinese bifenazate export
According to feedback of overseas consulting companies, the global market demand for bifenazate (exclusive of China) remained around 550 tons in 2019-2020 (for indicative purpose), which are mostly supplied to North America, accounting for nearly 60% of the global market exclusive of China. China’s Yingde Greatchem Chemicalsand Shaoxing Shangyu Xinyinbang Biochemical are the two prime Chinese manufacturers that supply bifenazate technical to the North American market.
Let us take a look from another perspective, the perspective of US import, where the import of the United States of bifenazate shows an upward trend over the last three years, being respectively 187 tons in 2019, 209 tons in 2020 and 330 tons in 2021, at an increase of 50% year on year. It is worthy of note that the import of bifenazate in the United States in the first quarter of 2022 reached 150 tons, which is a significant increase year on year. The mainstream type of formulation in the United States is 50% WP single agent. Moreover, according to professionals, the Middle East market such as Egypt is also looking for novel acaricides because of the problem of resistance, where the market for bifenazate may grow.
Supply of bifenazate
As the market at home and abroad is gradually growing over the last two years while the existing Chinese domestic manufacturers have been unbale to expand production in a short time or planned expansion is being restrained by the shortage of upstream materials, the product has come to the attention of many enterprises. However, as this product involves multiple dangerous steps of process, enterprises need to make a full study of the facility setup before launch of newbuild so as to assess the feasibility, environmental compliance and safety issues. A rush launch of a newbuild would not ensure production safety and product quality. So far, there have been manufacturers running production without required permits while some downstream enterprises are chasing after rapid product release to market to make quick money, without proper management of procurement and supply. As a result, the purchase of products from these suppliers are not dependable. Therefore, it is recommended that enterprises should carefully select suppliers and check whether the suppliers hold the “three permits” as requested by government, thus, to ensure a reliable product supply on a long-term basis.
At present, the Chinese suppliers with all required permits of bifenazate include Yingde Greatchem Chemicals and Shaoxing Shangyu Xinyinbang Biochemical, whose products are exported to many countries and regions around the world, besides their priority supply to Chinese market.
The prime suppliers of the intermediate 4-Phenylphenol include Sinochem Hebei and Lianyungang Sunlion. With the resumption of production run in Lianyungang Sunlion, the market supply gradually tends to be saturated. The current market price has fallen back to below Yuan100,000, which may be a sign of supply exceeding demand. The Chinese mainstream supplier of the intermediate isopropyl chlorocarbonate is Changlong, which was recently reported to have suspended production. It is not foreseeable at this time whether the production of bifenazate will be affected or not.
Registration of bifenazate in China
China is the world's largest bifenazate market. As of May 2022, there are 125 valid bifenazate registrations in China, including nine technicals and 116 formulations. The nine bifenazate technical registrants include Yingde Greatchem Chemicals and Shaoxing Shangyu Xinyinbang Biochemical (Table 1). Among the formulation products, there are 46 single agents and 70 mixtures, most of which are suspension agents (accounting for about 97%). The mixture with etoxazole is of the largest number of registrations, with 39 registrations, followed by mixture with spirodiclofen totaling to 13 registrations (Table 2).
Concerning crops for application, bifenazate is mainly registered for use in citrus, involving 94 registrations, followed by apple with 21 registrations. As regards to the object of control, all formulation products are registered for prevention and control of Panonychus citri while some products are registered for prevention and control of two-spotted Panonychus citri (3 registrations) and yellow tea mite (2 registrations).
Table 1 Registrations of Bifenazate Technical
Table 2 Registration of Bifenazate Mixture
Panonychus citri prevention and control in China
Panonychus citri is the most harmful insect pest to citrus. From mid-to-late March to May each year, under appropriate temperature, Panonychus citri population occurs in large quantities during the spring shooting period. In case of an outbreak, fruit farmers would opt for increased use of acaricides in large volume. After repeated use of acaricides of same ingredients, resistance of mites occurs, which leads to a much-reduced effect. For example, Panonychus citri in some provinces, such as in Meishan, Pujiang, Lipu, Wuming, Xinning, Daoxian and Ganzhou, has become increasingly resistant to spirodiclofen, etoxazole and abamectin. In a worst region, the resistance goes up to 80 times.
With a series of questions in mind, we interviewed the experts of the domestic market department of Shanghai Yuelian Chemical, that has rich working experience with multinational companies on development of bifenazate products. The company’s bifenazate 43% SC (Yueji) and bifenazate.etoxazole 45% SC (Yuesuding) are both hot sellers on the market. The experts made the comment that “as the amount of use of bifenazate is big and price of technical material is high, bifenazate has always been used as a premium acaricide for application to strawberry, pepper, eggplant and flower in greenhouse. However, in the conventional citrus growing area, with the increased resistance of Panonychus citri to pyridaben, abamectin and spirodiclofen which leads to loss of effect of control, bifenazate is gradually accepted for use in fruit area as a rotative application. Judging from the current use in the main citrus producing areas of Guangxi, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Yunnan, within 4-8 times of applications in a year, there will be 1-3 times of the use of bifenazate. The results of use in all regions reveal that bifenazate 43% SC at 2,500-fold and bifenazate•etoxazole SC at 2,000-fold have a good effect of control on Panonychus citri upon occurrence, with an acaricidal effect between 85% -95%, lasting for 14 days, which can control Panonychus citri of one generation with one single application. After a large number of demonstrations, bifenazate is proved to be very mixable, being mixable with ovicides such as etoxazole and hexythiazox, the high-efficient acaricides such as spirodiclofen, spirotetramat and etpyrafen as well the fungicide/acaricide fluazinam, hence, to defer the occurrence of resistance to ensure the effect of control.”
Bifenazate 43% provided by Shanghai Yuelian Chemical tested on citrus in Yunnan Province, June 2019
21 days after application of bifenazate.etoxazole at 3,000-fold, Panonychus citri has been increasing (left)
Bifenazate.etoxazole SC 45% (Yuesuding) provided by Shanghai Yuelian Chemical, tested on citrus in Sichuan Province, October 2021
In recent years, bifenazate has become a primary agent for application in fruit growing areas; in the process of application, we have identified that bifenazate is a temperature-sensitive acaricide, which will have a better effect when being used at temperature above 23 degrees. However, due to its excessive use, the bifenazate single agent has shown a serious resistance in recent years. So, the scientific use of bifenazate is particularly important.
Bifenazate is a non-systemic acaricide, its acaricidal action may act on multiple sites. The mainstream point of view believes the GABA receptor to act on the nervous centralis conduction system, whilst other studies have shown that it also acts on the cytochrome b complex III Qo site of the electron transport chain. Bifenazate is of low risk to parasitic wasp, predatory mite and grasshopper, it is fit for control of Panonychus citri in protected area.
In the process of application of bifenazate for control of insect pests on fruit trees, the first important thing is to fully understand the law of occurrence and the harm caused by fruit pest mites in the field; it is also important to find the right time for application in line with the activity features of bifenazate as well as to ensure the quality of spraying to achieve reasonable and effective control of pest mites; attention needs to be paid to matched use and rotative use of acaricides with different mode of action and different mechanism of action, which will be of benefit to deferment of the occurrence of resistance of mites. This will prolong the service life of acaricide, reduce the number of acaricide applications and the amount of use of acaricide.
An outbreak of Panonychus citri will cause major losses. In the face of large variety of pesticides available on the market (some may contain invisible ingredients), farmers have a lack of systematic and professional knowledge, resulting in repeated use and excessive application, which would greatly accelerate the occurrence of resistance of Panonychus citri, eventually leading to a vicious cycle, where the amount of use is getting bigger and no matter how much the amount of is used at the end, Panonychus citri cannot be killed. To keep the efficient bifenazate effective, we are calling for standardized and conformable production and application of the bifenazate products to avoid the product life cycle being affected due to market disruption and abused use, which jeopardizes the vital interests of farmers.
If you are also experiencing severe Panonychus citri（Tetranychus cinnabarinus, Brevipoalpus lewisi...） infestation, you may contact AgroPages by following email, we can help you look for good quality product from China.
Contact: Erwin Xue
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