Concerns over potential supply shortages, higher transportation costs and climbing chemical prices have farmers weighing whether to buy next season's crop inputs now rather than wait until the usual winter buying season.
Independent crop consultant Stephan Melson has encouraged his southern Minnesota farmer-clients to make herbicide and seed trait decisions before harvest. “With continued uncertainty of supply and higher costs, it makes sense to get your hands on products that fit the traits you want to plant. Otherwise, you may need to rethink seed purchases for 2022.”
Melson and his two crop consultant colleagues with United AgTech in Trimont are hearing reports that products mainly manufactured overseas, such as glyphosate and glufosinate, will be in short supply and more expensive. “I’ve not heard of a shortage of dicamba, Enlist products or others manufactured in the U.S.,” he stresses.
These manufacturing challenges may require you to make a few adjustments to your weed control program. “For example, if I can’t get glufosinate, it’ll be really hard to control waterhemp in LibertyLink soybeans because, in our area, waterhemp is gaining resistance to the alternative product fomesafen,” Melson says.
A similar strategy holds whether to plant a LibertyLink GT27 that adds the glyphosate resistant trait. “If you can’t get glyphosate or glufosinate, I don’t know if I’d take the risk to plant the traited seed," he adds.
For corn, Melson isn’t as worried about product supply. “We’ve got more options in corn for weed control. For example, if you can’t get glyphosate for glyphosate-resistant corn, you can always use mesotrione, tembotrione or other products.”
In an upcoming season where product availability might make dicamba or Enlist soybeans more popular, Melson points to potential regulatory uncertainty given crop damage with dicamba during 2021.
“This year, we’ve had the most dicamba damage I’ve seen in the past five years, perhaps even more than 2017 when it was first available to be sprayed on soybeans. And the recent EPA statement regarding a review of the data is concerning,” Melson says. “If EPA is going to further restrict dicamba, that takes away another option for us.”
Melson encourages all his clients to use a preemergence herbicide program in either corn or soybeans. “Most growers are using pre’s, and we believe this trend will continue because even in this dry year, it worked, given the little rain we had early in the season.” Using preemergence herbicides as part of your overall weed control strategy, he believes, is the best way to keep the longevity of herbicides intact and minimize weed resistance.
“The bottom line for 2022 is to know what genetics you want to plant, then go buy those products now and put them in the shed,” he adds.
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