Our industry is in dramatically better shape this year compared to last year when it comes to supply.
Last year, we were limited on quantities for most herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. This year, there are only a few products where I feel supply is truly an issue. Now, it may seem a little worse, so here’s my opinion on why supply issues appear to be a concern, as opposed to what we actually believe is happening behind the scenes.
Over the last three years, we have loaded up all our stores with product earlier than ever before. We even held onto product in the summertime rather than returning it to the manufacturers like we usually do because we were so worried about supply and price increases. This summer, however, we will likely go back to normal and try to empty our warehouses. We believe crop protection costs have topped out and overall total supplies look great.
However, many in our industry are still hoarding product, fearful that 2023 will once again not have enough herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide for every farmer to have exactly what they want, when they want it.
My prediction is most of the products that retailers are currently saying are short, will actually have 20% to 30% leftover by the end of this season.
Since most retailers ran out of product in the spring of 2021 and then again in the spring of 2022, they are scared it will happen again. They feel like having as much supply as possible here in 2023 is essential.
On the other side, many farmers last year ordered the same product from multiple retailers, figuring no single company would have everything they need. Retailers also were guilty of this, as many put in exorbitant orders with multiple manufacturers who all offer roughly the same thing, doubling or tripling orders compared to their actual need.
2023 is when we expect all these things to come to a head.
There is now more than enough product to treat every acre. Prices have likely topped out. Once retailers realize there is more than enough product to go around, they will cancel this year’s double and triple orders they made with manufacturers, and by next year we will likely go back to what we’ve had for the better part of 50 years — ample supply on almost any crop protection product you want.
WHAT THIS MEANS RIGHT NOW…
For this spring, we still expect spot shortages of glyphosate, as there aren’t enough trucks to move product as quickly as possible at the last minute when every farmer wants it. We also believe there will be a few fungicides like Veltyma, Revytek, and Delaro Complete that will sell out due to incredibly high fungicide demand, thanks to tough diseases like tar spot in corn and frogeye leaf spot in soybeans. The good news is the shortage of Liberty and generic glufosinate is over already, and that was the molecule that was in the tightest supply for the last two years.
If you have specific products you want to buy for rebate or financing purposes (Bayer Plus, Corteva’s TruChoice, etc.), we encourage you to pick those up as soon as possible to make sure you get exactly what you need.
Otherwise, know there are lots of alternatives for almost every herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide out there. By next year, we expect prices to be down, especially on most generic pesticides, and we look for supply issues in the crop protection market to be pretty well done. I could certainly be wrong about this, but that’s my take on the market as it stands today.