Monsanto Co. has outlined changes to its Roundup-brand agricultural herbicide business which they say will lead to better glyphosate prices for U.S. farmers.

The company said in a news release today that business changes include adjusting the price of its Roundup brand agricultural herbicides; investing in U.S. manufacturing capacity to help provide a long-term, reliable supply; and continuing to invest in product quality and new innovations.

The company announced it's cutting the price on its Roundup-brand agricultural herbicides.

"We anticipate farmers will see Roundup prices that are 50% of what they were last year," says Glenn Stith, North American crop protection lead. "This new price is effective now as retailers and farmers begin planning for the 2010 planting season."

Stith says the global glyphosate business was incredibly volatile in 2008 and 2009, resulting in a difficult situation for both suppliers and farmers to manage.

"Retailers and farmers faced uncertain product supply, rapidly fluctuating prices and some quality issues from Chinese suppliers that led to crop safety concerns and failures in weed control," Stith says.

There are two primary sources of glyphosate, the company says — Monsanto and approximately 50 China-based companies, many of which are government-owned or controlled operations that frequently shift production based on changes in policy and need for the key raw materials. This can have a significant impact on supply to U.S. farmers.

"Monsanto is investing to help U.S. farmers have a reliable supply of Roundup-brand agricultural herbicides that is competitively priced and superior to generic imports. It is critical for U.S. farmers to have a trusted and reliable source in a highly competitive market that has seen dramatic fluctuations," he says. "We believe we can offer farmers a competitively priced product that is superior to the Chinese generics in the market."

In the past two years, the company says it has invested $200 million in additional capacity in the Luling, La., plant that supplies formulated Roundup agricultural herbicide brands. The added supply from Luling will come online in the months to come.

The company has also made investments to increase mining capacity for glyphosate raw materials in southeastern Idaho. Proposed plans for the mine are currently under regulatory review.

The company is also actively investing in weed-control research, including biotechnology traits like dicamba- and glufosinate-tolerance, as well as new formulations of dicamba and acetochlor.