At Hefty’s, we have a great supply of most herbicides and fungicides. However, 2021 is a crazy year, and we do have issues with a handful of products. Before I run through some alternatives if you can’t get exactly what you want, here’s a little insight into how our industry works.

Most herbicides and fungicides applied in the U.S. are manufactured 6 to 12 months in advance. In order to make many of the products you use, it takes 18 to 36 months for the supply chain to gear up. There are many raw materials in most pesticides, so it takes a lot of pre-planning and a lot of time to put everything together. Then, it becomes a logistical challenge to get product into all the right places across the country.

The vast majority of the cost of any product is not the raw materials. A herbicide that sells for $50 per gallon may only have $5 worth of ingredients. The problem is between discovery, testing, labeling, building manufacturing plants, hiring people, insurance, shipping, and all the “other” costs that go into it, a company might have another $40 per gallon, for example, invested before they get it to the end user. Herein lies my frustration. When the incremental cost of producing a product is so low, it only makes sense to never, ever, ever miss a sale. However, most companies figure inventory value inclusive of all the fixed costs, rather than the incremental cost like I (and most farmers) would figure it. Because of this, companies don’t want to have much inventory around at the end of each season. Then, when we get a year when all the acres actually get planted and farmers want to invest more in their crops, there are supply shortages. To make matters worse in 2021, the U.S. still has millions of people collecting huge unemployment checks rather than going back to work, so production, supply, and trucking availability are all way down.

By the spring of 2022, we feel extremely confident these issues will all go away and supplies will be back to normal. For this year, though, we have been advising you for months to take everything you need on the farm through August. If you haven’t done that yet, please do so today, because while we have a pretty good supply of most ag chemicals, many of our competitors have already been running out, so their customers are turning to us to supply them. In other words, we’re going to sell out of almost everything we’ve got at some point, too.

Let’s talk about some of the products commonly sold out around the country and the alternatives you could use.

  • Generic glyphosate – We have a very good supply of name brand Roundup.
  • Liberty – This is a tough one, because generic glufosinate is sold out, too. If you can’t find more Liberty or glufosinate, you’re left with conventional herbicides. In soybeans, that means PPOs (Cobra, Cadet, or Flexstar) or Group 15’s (Warrant, Dual, Outlook, Zidua, etc.).
  • Anthem Maxx – This is a premix of Zidua and Cadet. There is plenty of straight Cadet available, and you can mix that with another Group 15.
  • Huskie – We should have enough Huskie, but if not, there’s plenty of Huskie Complete, Huskie Fx, and other good broadleaf products for wheat.
  • 2,4-D – If you can’t find old 2,4-D, that’s a good thing. We prefer to see you using Freelexx, anyway. This new 2,4-D has virtually no volatility. It will be much, much safer around any sensitive plants.
  • BASF fungicides – Between Bayer, Syngenta, FMC, Corteva, and all the other companies out there, there is more than enough fungicide available to treat everyone’s acres two or three times. Here are a few examples.
    • Endura – Use other white mold fungicides including Talaris/Topsin, Domark/Andiamo, Proline, etc.
    • Priaxor, Revytek, or Veltyma – Use other two- or three-mode-of-action products, including Fortix, Miravis Neo, Lucento, Trivapro, Delaro Complete, etc. You can also make your own dual-mode product by mixing single-mode triazole and strobilurin fungicides.
    • Caramba – Generic Folicur, Prosaro, or Miravis Ace.

With commodity prices where they are, you don’t want weeds or diseases to rob your yield and damage your income. There are still lots of herbicides and insecticides available, but more are running out every day. I have been involved in our business since I was a kid, and I’ve been here full-time for 30 years now. There has never been anything like this in the history of agriculture where we have had massive input supply shortages and a lack of trucks to move products around the country. This is literally the Boy Who Cried Wolf story. Each year, companies talk about supply issues, but for the most part, there are no problems. The wolf is actually here this time, so that means it’s time to take all the product you need for the season and run.