Bayer CropScience's decision not to restart the transitional production of methyl isocyanate at its site in Institute, West Virginia, could have a significant impact on farmers this year. The product is used in the manufacture of the popular Temik brand insecticide.
The company has announced it is moving forward immediately with decommissioning the reconfigured MIC and associated units at Institute, as well as the closure of its Woodbine, Georgia facility.
Aldicarb, a carbamate insecticide, is the active ingredient in Temik. It effectively protects against thrips, aphids, lygus, spider mites, fleahoppers, leaf miners and sucking insects. It is also an effective nematicide, which is one of its primary uses.
Following a 2010 agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bayer CropScience agreed to phase-out Temik and had timed production to end in 2012, to allow for an orderly market exit and meet immediate customer needs. This basic conclusion was based on a number of factors, with both strategic and economic considerations, and the company noted it is fully in line with Bayer CropScience's global strategy to focus on delivering innovative solutions to modern agriculture and replacing older compounds in its portfolio.
To fill customer demand in 2011 Bayer CropScience had planned to start the MIC unit and begin transitional production of Temik insecticide this year. However, uncertainty over delays led the company to the conclusion that a restart of production could no longer be expected for the 2011-growing season.
Ironically, the safety of the MIC plant had been affirmed by a federally commissioned report but the company said continued uncertainty regarding the timing of resumption of production made company officials decide not to continue its efforts to restart Temik production.
"This was a very difficult decision, particularly as our employees did everything possible to ensure the operational safety of our newly-constructed MIC unit during the remaining production period", said Achim Noack, member of the Board of Management of Bayer CropScience. "Our business case was based on our ability to supply the market needs beginning in 2011, and with the recent delays, that plan is no longer economically viable."
"We regret that the decision taken today to not restart production of MIC will not allow farmers access to Temik anymore", said Bill Buckner, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience in the United States. "However, we are committed to delivering the right solutions from our innovation portfolio in support of modern agriculture for our customers."
Temik has been a favorite insecticidal product of cotton producers, soybean producers and peanut producers. It has also used effectively on a variety of other crops, including coffee, dry beans, maize, ornamentals, pecans, sorghum, sugar cane, sugar beets and tobacco.
When Bayer entered into discussions about discontinuing Temik, the Environmental Protection Agency had concerns about the safety of Aldicarb, particularly on certain crops. As a result Bayer CropScience agreed to stop producing Temik for use on citrus and potatoes in an earlier decision.
Farmers who have come to depend on Temik and other Aldicarb products have been looking into alternative products and strategies to help them combat the pests that they have used Temik to control over the years. Some retail outlets have limited left over supplies of Temik available for purchase in 2011.
Bayer CropScience is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Learn more about Temik and other Bayer CropScience products at www.bayercropscience.com.