Farmers should anticipate tight herbicide supplies well into the growing season

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Positioning of the right crop protection products in the right region for the right timeframe is an annual logistics challenge.

For the 2022 season, anticipated delivery snags and supply chain pinch points were managed as well as could be expected, but extreme conditions in Western Canada, and persistent manufacturer issues have suppliers and retailers working hard to jockey product to where it needs to be.

The supply issues with glyphosate and glufosinate were a big concern earlier this spring, and supplies are still tight, but recently there has been discussion of shortages of MCPA and 2,4-D, both widely used products, especially in multi-mode-of-action mixes.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as retailers in the east and west suggest farmers get their requests in for products as soon as possible.

Dale Cowan, agronomy strategy manager and senior agronomist with AGRIS Co-op says that, at present, product availability is tight but adequate.

“Farmers working closely with their ag retailer continues to be the way that the available supply can be where it needs to be when it needs to be there,” he says. “Being as precise on quantities as farmers can be is important so product can be allocated and supplied appropriately. Last minute changes are always possible but we have not received many of those.”

Trish Meyers, director of ag solutions for Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), confirms that both MCPA and 2,4-D have been subject to shortages or delays of delivery.

“I would say similar to other channels in Western Canada, we’re not immune to the shortages or logistic challenges for various goods [not only crop protection products],” she says.

The risk to growers is that the MCPA or 2,4-D they need for a tank mix or co-pack might not be available in time for this growing season, and this underscores the importance of working with their agronomist to identify alternate products as a backup, Meyers says.

“Proactive planning and frequent communication with that agronomist or ag retail sales specialist will be critical,” she says.

Corteva Agriscience doesn’t name specific products in its statement on the topic, however, the company does say that supply chains remain “very tight across industries around the world.”

Specifically in Canada, the availability of select Corteva products varies across the country, and growers in different parts of Canada may experience limited supply for crop protection products that are in high demand, the company says, adding that growers may have to be flexile on product preferences.

“We continue to work closely with our customers to support their product needs against this backdrop,” a spokesperson says.

Cornie Thiessen, general manager of ADAMA Canada, says that his company and others have been working to handle and anticipate shortages and supply issues of several products, including MCPA, since last fall. Still, there have been so many logistical issues and cascading impacts of the global pandemic that no one could have fully anticipated the effect on pesticides or pesticide product components.

To that end, however, Thiessen says that ADAMA made the decision to manufacture MCPA in one of its facilities instead of depending on other suppliers. That decision has ensured a certain level of product for the season, but as he explains in the audio below, the extreme spring conditions has altered the demand curve and locations for product.

Related:

Bayer confident in Roundup supplies for Canadian pre-seed and in-crop applications for ’22

Canadian supply of glufosinate secure, says BASF

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