Roundup prices are rising and farmers are feeling the pressure

Picture: Joshua Peach

Picture: Joshua Peach

Herbicides appear to be the latest addition to the growing list of key agricultural chemicals facing major supply constraints and price hikes.

A stroll through any gardening centre shows the extent of the issue, with the shelves in the herbicide aisle often bare and price tags noticeably more expensive. While this is certainly an issue for home gardeners hoping to beat back intrusive weeds propelled by the recent rains and hot weather, the shortage is hitting the state's producers hardest of all.

One of those producers is Stuart Burbury, who runs a sheep and irrigated crop operation in Tasmania's Midlands.

"The price of our main knock-out herbicide Roundup has more than doubled to over $10 a litre and that was over just a six-week period," he said.

Supplies of Roundup across Australia are reaching breaking point after a year-long shortage of its key active ingredient, glyphosate.

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Those rising herbicide prices are adding to already sky-high prices for other key agricultural supplies, such as fertiliser and urea, which remain in high demand globally. With chemical prices pushing higher, farmers are being forced to make difficult decisions to navigate the coming season.

"At these prices we're looking at $500 to $600 more a hectare so you've either got to limit your inputs and try to hold the crop that way or run your program as normal and cop the extra," he said. And while similarly high farm gate prices for most crops and cattle have helped offset the rising production costs, Mr Burbury doesn't think it can last forever.

"Yes commodity prices are good, but if they turn around suddenly we'll be operating on extremely thin margins."

This story Roundup prices are rising, farmers are feeling the pressure first appeared on The Examiner.