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How BASF is managing supply chain challenges

Steps BASF is taking include boosting production of high-demand products, adding a gluofosinate production site

Agricultural companies are wrestling with supply chain challenges spurred by COVID-19 and other factors. Here is how BASF officials say they are managing it.

“BASF is experiencing record levels of demand for many solutions in our herbicide and fungicide portfolios, including but not limited to: Liberty herbicide, Rely herbicide and Veltyma, Priaxor, Revytek fungicides as well as other crop solutions, said Kate Greif, product manager, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America, in a news release. 
 Increased levels of demand, coupled with pandemic-era supply chain issues, has compounded the challenges we are facing.”

Prepay season (December – February) is typically a high-pressure time for growers; overlapping with current supply chain challenges. Thus, transparency in availability has never been more crucial, say BASF officials. 

“Price increases are also being experienced industry-wide and are needed to compensate for surging raw material, transportation, and energy costs, as well as other rising costs, including labor, packaging, and maintenance,” said Scott Kay, vice president, U.S. crop protection, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America, in a news release. “The pandemic challenges are not unique to one company and will likely impact the agriculture industry for some time to come. BASF’s goal is to continue to be fair and transparent in our pricing and availability today and in the future.”

“Supply chains that support agriculture and our Professional & Specialty Solutions (P&SS) businesses have been stressed for nearly two years due to a variety of factors, including labor shortages, transportation availability and delays, natural disasters affecting raw material supplies and COVID-19,” said Robbie Upton, director, marketing-U.S. crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America, in a news release. “While no one can predict the end to these challenges, BASF has been and will continue to deliver on its promise to bring to market as much of our top-performing products and solutions as possible.” 

Here’s what BASF is doing:
* Increasing production on high-demand solutions to address availability concerns.
* Adding a formulation production site coming online in the spring to improve glufosinate (Liberty) availability.
* Expediting air freight to alleviate seaport backlogs in the supply chain; using approximately 300 planes to transport goods faster for domestic formulation 
* Increasing emphasis on forecasting accuracy and ordering raw materials earlier, sometimes months in advance of traditional lead times (about 6-8 weeks ahead of schedule), with the goal of securing chemistry availability in time for grower sourcing and planting.
* Prioritizing equitable allocation of key active ingredients across the entire globe to help offset potential monopolization, so that no one region is unfairly supplied.
* Investing $260 million in North America to improve reliability and increase production capacity. Of this total, $150 million is going to herbicides to expand production of active ingredients base. 

Here’s what BASF officials say farmers can do:

* Increase communication with retail partners.
* Think diligently through plans for 2022 and identify where plan B options may need to take place. 
* Use effective pre-emergence and residual herbicides and follow proper timing on post applications to minimize the need for resprays. 
* Evaluate cultural practices like those we encourage through BASF’s Operation Weed Eradication. 

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