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Herbicide shortages frustrating

At this point in the season, things continue to get more complicated. The weather delays have caused a lot of planting and spraying to be done much later than normal, resulting in all sorts of problems with adjacent crops.

A couple of articles ago I wrote that it is often not what you want to recommend but rather what you can get the applicator to put out. With rice, cotton, corn and soybeans all emerged together, most applicators are extremely skittish — rightfully so.

There is perhaps a bigger challenge on the later planted rice now. It may not be so much what you could get put out but what you can find! I am hearing about shortages and spot shortages and these are very frustrating.

When you get to this time the season in the crop, options are often limited to begin with. Then when you narrow a recommendation down to a chemical that will fit and it is unavailable, the farmer is left without a solution to his problem. This seems to be happening more and more as the years go by.

I have never been the person in a company that plans how much of a given product will be made for the season, so I have not walked in those shoes. As a person on the outside looking in, however, it would appear the rewards are much higher for carrying over zero inventory than leaving business on the table and making sure the customer has adequate supply.

As consultants and farmers, we get bombarded all winter on all the reasons we need to be using or recommending a certain chemical, and then when the time comes we really need it, there isn’t any. That creates ill feelings and frustrations, and it sure does not leave the impression that the customer ranks very high in the decision-making process.

I am continuing to get reports on suspected herbicide resistance situations. My University of Arkansas counterparts are getting a lot more than I am. This may well be the breakout year on Palmer pigweed resistance we have been expecting.

I do not know what it is going to take to change the way we do things, but if we do not start making changes quickly we could watch the best weed control technology we have ever known implode right before our eyes.

As I stated in last week’s article, Palmer pigweed plants are capable of producing 200,000 seeds. One does not have to be a mathematician to figure out that once they get going they can take the country by storm. History has also taught us that no matter how clean you keep your farm, you can get a lot contamination it from other sources.

I am going to keep saying that we had better start doing some things differently if we want to stay ahead of the resistance issue. There are a lot of new technologies in the pipeline.

A lot of companies are working on trait packages and a lot of companies that have been competitors will be combing technologies and becoming best friends to try and stay in business. All of this takes time.

Some of it may not happen and some of it that does happen may have problems. How long can you afford to wait?

I have a lot growers telling me on LibertyLink soybeans, “I think it is good technology, but I want to wait until it is stacked with Roundup Ready.” A LibertyLink plus Roundup Ready stack will be a fantastic product. I am excited about the possibility, but when will it be here? Agreements, approvals and variety development all take time. In addition sometimes things jump the tracks.

The pigweeds are not waiting. I believe the weed scientists at the University of Arkansas are out front on the resistance issues and have concepts that will work. You will have a lot of opportunities to hear about their programs at field days this summer. I encourage you to take them in.

I predict Palmer pigweed will get a lot of folk’s attention this season. We have some things that will work now. My challenge to you is to get on top of the situation, and implement a plan that will work.


TAGS: Management
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