Friday, 6 March, 1998
By Robert Harris
FUNGICIDE prices will fall by 10-20% this spring, with makers claiming they are realigning the UK with Europe and taking account of reduced farmer buying power after the collapse in cereal values. But grower reaction is mixed.
Exact prices will depend on quantities bought and whether distributor services are built in to the price, makers stress.
BASF will sell its new products Landmark and Mantra for about £50/litre on-farm, says product manager, Tony Grayburn.
With a minimum advised rate of 0.75 litres/ha, growers can expect to pay £75/ha for a two-spray programme. Zeneca, the only other entrant in the strobilurin stakes so far with Amistar, refuses to disclose a firm figure, although trade estimates settle about £36/ litre.
Popular so called “third generation” triazoles, used against septoria diseases, are set to fall too. Bayer, which makes Folicur, claims farmers will pay 10% less this spring, making a typical price of £28.50/ litre.
BASFs Opus, widely used last year, is likely to maintain a slight premium over that. Last year, average price was £35/ litre, the trade reckons it could be down nearer £30/ litre this season.
“We have not decided on a price yet, things are still settling down on the Continent,” says Mr Grayburn. But the cut wont take full account of the 16% green Pound revaluation seen since prices were set at the beginning of last season, he maintains.
Older triazoles used widely in mixes will fall about 15%. But prices for established mildewicides are unlikely to change, makers agree. Instead, Dow AgriSciences new entrant Fortress will fall by 20% compared with its test market price of £125/ litre last year.
Wisbech-based distributor David Hutchinson welcomes the fall. “This is a reasonable approach. We are now seeing parity with Europe.”
But some growers are not convinced. Northants farmer Justin Blackwood is disappointed. “We were hoping for £40-£45/ litre for Landmark. This higher level wont help distributors, since it will only fuel imports.”
In Somerset, Richard Payne hoped to base his spray programme on Landmark. “It is still far too expensive. I may use it but at lower rates. Or I may stay with Opus.”