Severe ongoing droughts cause slowdown in Roundup production
Monsanto will cut 100 contractors at its Luling plant due to severe ongoing droughts in certain areas of the world and unusual weather across the country.
Though no full-time employees will be laid off at the Luling plant, the 100 cut contractors represent a reduction of more than 10 percent of the plant’s 950-person workforce. But the reduction isn’t unique to Luling. All of Monsanto’s manufacturing plants in North America will make a short-term, downward adjustment in the production volume of Roundup herbicide over the next several months.
“The principle reasons for adjusting our production planning in this way are the severe ongoing droughts in Argentina and Australia, unusual weather this year in the United States and a later-than-normal grower order pattern for all agricultural products in the United States,” George McGowan, Monsanto’s Luling plant manager, said. “Our goal is to use this period to cost-effectively manage the company’s inventory of product and complete projects that prepare for future growth opportunities.”
One of those projects is the Luling plant’s $196 million expansion, which will be completed this year as scheduled. The improvement project, which has been ongoing for almost a year, will increase the site’s manufacturing capacity of Roundup by 20 percent. In addition to the expansion, Monsanto has also undertaken an energy-reduction project at its Luling facility. The company has implemented a hydrogen-recovery project, which will enable it to reduce natural gas costs and better conserve and utilize hydrogen, a by-product of the glyphosate manufacturing process. Glyphosate is Roundup’s main ingredient.
The energy-reduction project is expected to allow the company to reduce its direct or indirect greenhouse gas emissions at the facility by an estimated 128 million pounds, or 58,000 metric tons, annually.
This reduction equates to a carbon footprint that would be generated by more than 9,000 airplane trips around the world annually.
“Roundup herbicide continues to play a key role in sustainable agriculture throughout the world,” McGowan said. “Roundup is, and will continue to be, the basis for Monsanto’s weed control platform into the foreseeable future.
“The company will carefully monitor the supply situation so that it can anticipate farmer’s needs and respond in a timely manner to future changes in the supply situation.”