Supply shortages, surcharges, and other unprecedented challenges in the global agriculture supply chain have deeply impacted farmers’ ability to secure crop protection products. Planning for next season has never been more important. Michael Bittner, Lead for crop protection provider Atticus, said a lot of factors are contributing to supply instability and price increases.
“We have seen huge demand for products coming out of China and India, and the inability to transport them in a timely manner. Global shipping costs are up around 300% over last year, and we’re seeing delays due to extreme congestion at ports in China. And when product does arrive in the U.S., we’re facing backups on this end as well, including data limitations on truck drivers and labor shortages, which is also leading to increased congestion at the U.S. ports. On top of all this, there have been shutdowns of active ingredients and intermediate manufacturers to the adoption of new environmental standards in China, and basically all of this is leading to increased pricing on all fronts of the manufacturing, shipping, and even formulating process in the U.S.”
Bittner shares what he thinks growers can expect moving forward.
“At Atticus, we’ve built a broad global and U.S. domestic-sourcing network, and a robust regulatory strategy at both the technical active ingredient and end-use product levels, which gives us the know-how to implement practices to mitigate them or provide alternative options to our customers in a timely manner. And one thing about us is we’ve committed to operating with reliability and transparency with our customers. We do expect this instability in the market to continue well into 2022, but in the near term, we’re recommending considering alternative chemistries to some of the higher-demand chemistries, because this year, there’s going to be a lot of these products that there are just not going to be enough getting into the United States.”
Bittner said growers can set themselves up for success next year despite the challenges
“Whether it’s weeds or disease, if you can start clean and stay clean, that’s the best approach for maximizing yield. You need to start with a foundation and then address the multiple applications with multiple modes of action to provide the most comprehensive amount of control for weeds and disease and insect, but the biggest thing is plan ahead. Work with your retailer now to secure the chemistry that you’re looking for, because this is the one year that if you wait to plan, or you wait to lock in products, you most likely will not get the products that you’re looking for.”
The industry outlook will remain uncertain for some time.
“Well unfortunately, we don’t see a near-term solution, especially as it relates to shipping, so hunker down for the ongoing uncertainty. One thing I would recommend is looking for allies that can deliver transparency and tell you really what is happening in the market, because here at Atticus, we are intensely committed to delivering reliability with extreme flexibility. Because of our sourcing and logistics expertise, we do continue to be well positioned to meet the challenges that arise in the ever-changing market.”
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