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Cyhalofop-butyl price is close to the cost, while paddy market will pick up soon. What measures will the industry take?qrcode

Mar. 13, 2023

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Mar. 13, 2023

Commercialized in Asia in 1995, Cyhalofop-butyl is an aryloxy phenoxy propionate (APP) systemic conductive herbicide developed by Dow AgroSciences. 

Due to its high safety and excellent control effect on paddy, Cyhalofop-butyl replaced penoxsulam and became a new dominant product in the market of herbicides for paddy fields in 2015. After years of development, China has become the largest market for this product and the leading supplier of its technical product (TC). The market demand is relatively stable. However, the high price of Cyhalofop-butyl and the drought in the Yangtze River basin undermined the end market last year, affecting the market demand that should have picked up in November.

In the past two years, the mainstream market price of Cyhalofop-butyl TC in China was at a high level first and then declined, from RMB250,000/ton at the end of 2021 to RMB155,000/ton recently, down by over 35%. Currently, the prices of raw materials for the production of Cyhalofop-butyl have hit short-term bottom. Then, what is the layout of the domestic production capacity of Cyhalofop-butyl? What is the export trend of TCs and formulations? What are the primary export destinations? What is the trend of Cyhalofop-butyl market in the future? And facing the current market situation, how will domestic mainstream producers of herbicides for paddy fields respond and how will they lay out production lines? This article will briefly introduce the application status and prospect of Cyhalofop-butyl in Chinese market from production capacity, export, market and industry feedback, etc.

Market price of Cyhalofop-butyl TC continues to decline. Has it reached the bottom?

According to our investigation, the price of Cyhalofop-butyl was affected by the price of its upstream intermediate DHPPA. In May last year, when we wrote the article titled ″China’s new DHPPA production capacity reaches 17,000 t/a, and how much will the production capacity of APP herbicides be affected?″, the price of DHPPA gradually dropped from RMB165,000/ton after the Spring Festival last year to about RMB145,000/ton due to the weakened market demand. The price declined further to about RMB115,000/ton, once reaching RMB100,000/ton, down by 30%. (Figure 1)


Figure 1: Fluctuations in the Price of Cyhalofop-butyl TC (97%TC)

The price of DHPPA is directly affected by fluctuations in the price of hydroquinone, its upstream raw material. The price of hydroquinone is about RMB68,000/ton currently (last year, after a rise, it plummeted in October and November and once reached RMB55,000/ton). According to core suppliers, the price of DHPPA has stabilized for nearly ten days. Due to the demand support from other fields and the control by several core suppliers, the price will not fluctuate significantly in the short term. One hears that the price may go up in March. The current price of hydroquinone, i.e. RMB68,000/ton, basically leaves no profit margin for DHPPA, of which the price level is RMB115,000/ton.

In addition, because the price of 3,4-difluorobenzonitrile, another core intermediate of Cyhalofop-butyl, is relatively stable at RMB140,000-145,000/ton, the price of Cyhalofop-butyl is also close to its cost at present. Its traditional peak season stretches from November to April. Now the downstream demand for Cyhalofop-butyl is rising gradually. However, according to our agricultural materials channels, the demand almost halved compared with the same period in former years, which may be the result of the reduction in herbicide consumption caused by the severe drought in paddy fields in the Yangtze River basin and the sharp fluctuation of raw material prices in October and November last year. According to the latest information, manufacturers of Cyhalofop-butyl TC began to receive orders gradually.

Production capacity of Cyhalofop-butyl has changed significantly in recent years

With the expansion of the direct seeding area of rice and the increase in herbicide resistance of gramineous weeds, the demand for Cyhalofop-butyl has been on the rise every year. According to the Pesticide Information Network, there are 455 Cyhalofop-butyl products registered in China so far, including 32 TCs, 265 single formulations and 190 mixed formulations. The formulation types mainly include emulsion in water, wettable powder, emulsifiable concentrate and oil dispersion. And the registered crops are primarily rice.

According to Agropages’ statistics on public information of government EIA websites and announcements of investment and construction enterprises, in the past two years, the total applied production capacity of Cyhalofop-butyl TC in China is 9,000 t/a (Table 1). Major domestic manufacturers and their production scales include Zhongxun Thinkgreen with 3,500t/a (it has reached production capacity of 2000 tons), Vision Fluoro 3,500t/a (reached production capacity of 1500 tons), Fengshan Group 700t/a, FLAGCHEM 1,500t/a and CAC Nantong 300t/a. The peak output of Cyhalofop-butyl TC in Chinese market is about 4,000 t/a, the domestic market is stable at 2,500-3,000 t/a, and the international market demand has increased to 600-700 t/a in the past two years.

Related Reading: The Cyhalofop-butyl Project with a Production Capacity of 2000 t/a of Hubei Zhongxun Thinkgreen Technology Co., Ltd. Realizes its Design Capacity, and the Phase II Project Progresses Smoothly

Table 1: Application for Investment and Construction of Cyhalofop-butyl TC Production Capacity in China in the Past Two Years (Unit: t/a)

Applied Capacity

Hubei Zhongxun Thinkgreen Technology Co., Ltd.

Parent Company: Guangdong Zhongxun Agri-science Co., Ltd.

Hubei Jingmen Chemical Recycling Industrial Park



Guangxi Vision Fluoro Biotechnology Co., Ltd.

Parent Company: Vision Fluorochem (Nanjing) Co., Ltd.

Guangxi Tiandong Petrochemical Industrial Park



Gansu Liankai Bio technology Co., Ltd

Parent Company: Jiangsu Yongkai Chem Co., Ltd.

Jinchang Hexipu Chemical Recycling Industrial Park


Jiangsu Fengshan Biochemical Technology Co., Ltd

Parent Company: Jiangsu Fengshan Group Co. Ltd.

Dafeng Port Petrochemical New Materials Industrial Park700
Jiangsu Flag Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.Nanjing Chemical Industry Park


CAC Nantong Chemical Co., Ltd.Rudong Yangkou Chemical Industrial Park300
Total: 9,000 t/a
Note: All production capacity information of Cyhalofop-butyl in the above table comes from public data on government EIA websites and the announcements of investment and construction enterprises

The main intermediates of Cyhalofop-butyl are R-(+)-2-(4- hydroxyphenoxy) propionic acid and 3,4- difluorobenzonitrile. On May 12, 2022, the biological fermentation project of Anhui Anhe Biotechnology Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huimeng Bio-tech, was put into production. The project has a capacity of 5,000 t/a R-(+)-2-(4-hydroxyphenoxy) propionic acid (HPPA), 2,500 t/a of methyl R-(+)-2-(4-hydroxyphenoxy) propionate (MAQ) and 500 t/a of ethyl R-(+)-2-(4-hydroxyphenoxy) propionate (HPPA-Et). So far, the total production capacity of DHPPA in China is nearly 17,000 t/a.

Changes in overseas demand for Cyhalofop-butyl

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Figure 2: Export Volumes of Cyhalofop-butyl TC and Formulations in China from 2020 to 2022

As shown in Figure 2, China’s export volumes of Cyhalofop-butyl TC were 399 tons, 734 tons and 654 tons in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively, and the volumes of formulations were 129 tons, 197 tons and 166 tons, respectively, showing a sharp increase at first and then a slow decline.




Figure 3: Destination Countries and Volumes of Cyhalofop-butyl TC Exported from China in 2020, 2021 and 2022

According to Figure 3, in 2020, China’s Cyhalofop-butyl TC was exported largely to Vietnam, followed by Indonesia and Argentina, respectively, and mainly in the first half of the year. In 2021, China had more destination countries, and Vietnam was still the largest buyer. In addition to three major destinations, namely Vietnam, Indonesia and Argentina, there were some new destination countries in 2021, such as the United States, Peru and India. Still, their volumes were minimal, all below 10 tons. In 2022, the export of Cyhalofop-butyl TC from China was mainly concentrated from January to September. The main destination countries were Vietnam, Colombia, Argentina and India, while the export volumes to other countries were very small.


Figure 4: Mainstream Formulation Types of Cyhalofop-butyl Exported from China in 2022

In 2022, the main formulation types of Cyhalofop-butyl exported from China were TC, oil dispersion and emulsifiable concentrate (Figure 4). TC accounted for 80.96%, oil dispersion 15.16% and emulsifiable concentrate 3.87%, respectively.


Figure 5 Mainstream Formulations of Cyhalofop-butyl Exported from China in 2022

The mainstream formulations of Cyhalofop-butyl exported from China in 2022 are shown in Figure 5.  ″Cyhalofop-butyl 150g/L+Bispyribac-sodium 50g/L OD″ accounted for 55% of the total export formulations. Each of the three formulations, namely ″Cyhalofop-butyl 16%+Bispyribac-sodium 4% OD″, ″Cyhalofop-butyl 360g/L EC″ and ″Cyhalofop-butyl 180g/L EC″, had a share of more than 5%. With the change in planting patterns overseas, especially in Southeast Asian countries, the difference in grass species and the increase in resistance, etc., the market of Cyhalofop-butyl still has some space for growth.

Countermeasures of mainstream enterprises of herbicides for paddy fields amid a complex market and extreme weather

In China, Cyhalofop-butyl products are mainly in the form of single formulations (according to ICAMA, 55% Cyhalofop-butyl formulations are registered as a single formulation), and their content is getting higher and higher (the highest level is 40% at present, and may reach 50% or even 60% in the future). The market is now facing two issues, i.e. rapidly increasing resistance of rice weeds and frequent extreme weather. For example, from August 18 to November 15 last year, China issued meteorological drought warnings for 90 consecutive days. The number of drought days on moderate drought and above in the Yangtze River basin reached 45.6 days, up by 31.0 days compared with the same period of standard years. The dry weather has led to a significant increase in the incidence rates of weed damage. Moreover, less rainfall resulted in the absorption rates of herbicides dropping significantly, making it more difficult to control weeds. How does one deal with this situation? We first interviewed the manager of the rice line of Guangdong Zhongxun Agri-science, a mainstream enterprise of Cyhalofop-butyl. We learned that to solve the resistance issue, many enterprises have introduced the combined use or mixed formulations of Cyhalofop-butyl and metamifop. For example, they adopted 30% Cyhalofop-butyl and 10% metamifop in combination, which can control the risk of herbicide damage caused by metamifop and improve the weeding efficiency at the same time. ″High temperature triggers the closure of stomata of weeds in paddy fields, resulting in plummeting absorption rates of herbicides. Take examples of high-temperature areas such as Wuhu and Xuancheng in Anhui Province and Huangmei in Hubei Province. The times and area of supplementary application increased, and the dosage per mu rose from 30 liters to 40/50 liters. As a result, the cost of herbicides nearly doubled, and the weed resistance also increased rapidly.″ To cope with the high-temperature environment, experts from Guangdong Zhongxun Agri-science tried to promote their exclusive herbicide products, which adopt oil film technology in regions such as Dangtu of Ma’anshan and Hainan. The specially selected additives can retain water and effective components of the herbicides like a layer of oil film. This will reduce evaporation and keep leaves moist for a longer time. It will ensure the sustained release of the herbicide effect, reduce the labor and cost caused by the supplementary application and enhance the impact of Cyhalofop-butyl and metamifop. So far, the number of registration certificates of mixed formulations of Cyhalofop-butyl and metamifop has reached 42. Such mixtures will likely become the main solution for China’s rice market in the next stage.

For the areas with severely resistant weeds in paddy fields, KingAgroot developed Saidan (tripyrasulfone 3%+propanil 25% OD) and Daoyu (tripyrasulfone 6% OD), which are used in combination with Cyhalofop-butyl. Their market is proliferating. For example, farmers in Feidong, Hefei reported, ″For the malignant weeds like Chinese sprangletop, barnyardgrass and echinochloa caudata, manual weeding is difficult, and spraying Cyhalofop-butyl in the early stage can have certain control effect. But in the later stage, the weeds gradually mutate. Only when the content of Cyhalofop-butyl reaches 40%, and is used together with Daoyu can weed be killed.″ A farmer in Heilongjiang Province said, ″The resistance of weeds in some areas in Heilongjiang is severe, and they can’t be eradicated even if Cyhalofop-butyl and penoxsulam are used in combination. In these two years, we have used Cyhalofop-butyl 40% OD together with Saidan and Daoyu. Barnyardgrass and echinochloa caudata can be basically eradicated by using the herbicides once, and the weeding efficiency of 370 mu of land is improved.″


After the patent of Cyhalofop-butyl expired, many domestic enterprises were attracted to plan projects and invest in production capacity. According to the incomplete statistics of AgroPages, China has applied for 9,000 t/a of Cyhalofop-butyl capacity, which is much higher than the global demand for this chemical. Under the dual pressure of overcapacity and high prices of raw materials, and after Cyhalofop-butyl market has been affected by a series of factors reducing demand caused by extreme weather in 2022, the market of herbicides for paddy fields will pick up in 2023. Will the Cyhalofop-butyl market rebound to the level in previous years? We need to focus on the following factors: the weather conditions in 2023, the occurrence of resistant weeds, the promotion of the combined use of Cyhalofop-butyl and metamifop, the promotion of Saidan and Daoyu, and the market situation of other products, such as propanil, which was once in short supply in 2022. And what’s most important in this regard is the benefit to farmers and contribution to food security.

Please contact the author for further information:

Erwin Xue


+86 13750884233

This article was initially published in AgroPages' 'Annual Review 2022' magazine.


Source: AgroNews


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