“I am told that there is product in the channel, but I can’t find it.” I have heard this comment at least twice this week from consultants in both ends of Arkansas. I started hearing about shortages in certain products as long as three weeks ago. It is currently the first of June as I am writing about it.
I tweeted (@Bscottbob) it back then, hoping it was just a rumor, but sadly it is not. Specifically, Facet L, RiceCo products and RiceStar HT are ones being mentioned most often. I spoke with the companies and they say they produced more than last year, but really could not anticipate the demand they have seen this year. Privately some have expressed frustration over company policy and efforts to keep inventory down to a bare minimum.
This is a tough one for me to understand. I know that inventory costs money, but so does not having product to sell when the customer is ready to buy. At some point a lack of inventory has to hurt the bottom line instead of cost it.
I have also had dealers tell me that it frustrates them that product will be returned at the end of the season when there is no chance left to sell to someone else. I guess the problem is self-perpetuating in that regard?
I have talked to a few growers — and I don’t blame them — who have “hoarded or pre-bought” the chemicals they thought they would need.
Sometimes no backup
What makes it tough from a weed control standpoint, especially in rice, is that often times we do not have a backup plan. If I make a recommendation and the grower cannot find that chemical, then option two may provide only partial control or be much more expensive.
It was surprising to hear that so many post-applied herbicides were running short when the post season had just started. Again I was told it was in the channel — just very little more to come. Hopefully, industry will have addressed some of these issues by the time this article comes out.
The other big issue lately has been herbicide injury. I am hearing reports that treatments like a low rate of Command plus League, Command plus Facet or Newpath applied pre-emergence has provided up to 45 days of residual control. This is almost unheard of, but it is a testament to how active some of this chemistry is under cool, cloudy and wet conditions. I am seeing the same thing with soybean herbicides.
Unfortunately, along with this great weed control we are seeing some herbicide injury hang on longer than normal and some unexpected injury from some products.
Lord, give me two weeks of sunshine and warm weather and things will look a lot better!