Poor housing market and social pressures hit chemicals and fertilisers category in USA

The housing crash in the USA is one of a number of factors that have led to a 5 per cent reduction in use of big-name pesticides and fertilisers.

The drop has been attributed to a fall-off in the housing market, reduced use of plant-growth regulators and insecticides in some sectors and more uptake of lower-cost generic herbicides, said research firm Kline

"The near half a billion US industrial vegetation management market (IVM) for pesticides and fertilizers has seen a 5 per cent decline since 2009," said a Kline spokesman of a market that includes pasture, forestry, utilities, roads and rail.

Industry manager Dennis Fugate said: "The emphasis remains on accommodating lowered budgets and, in some cases, societal pressures to minimize pesticide applications."

Problems would stem from slow, steady spreading of noxious weeds or sporadic increases in invasive weeds, he said. This could be offset by use of lower-cost generic versions of preferred products. Pastureland accounts for a third of total sales.

Dow AgroSciences was the biggest name in the market while Dow, BASF, and DuPont, held a 60 per cent market share. However several generic firms "occupying second-tier positions" were catching up, he said.

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