INDUSTRY OPINIONS are divided on what impact the US outbreak of Asian soya bean rust will have on European fungicide supplies this season.

Official US Department of Agriculture estimates suggest the cost to the US soya bean crop could top $2bn, but experts believe increased US fungicide supplies will avoid any impact on European prices.

Asian soya bean rust led to a ten-fold expansion of the tebuconazole market in Brazil last year to £100m – the same size as the entire UK fungicide market, said Dalgety‘s Peter Corbett.

“We can‘t buy any at the moment because it‘s all going to America,” he said.

But while Mr Corbett expects to see an 8% rise in the price of epoxiconazole and tebuconazole this season, Kent Smith from the USDA believes fungicide supply should meet demand.

This view was supported by Bayer‘s Jim Bloomberg, speaking at the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants annual conference in Los Angeles (Jan 21).

“Thank goodness the disease was spotted in November, it has given us time to prepare. We, as Bayer, have drastically changed our production to meet the need,” he said.