Supply chain issues, high costs could affect local farmers

Farmers could see impacts from the global supply chain that could make them re-think how they plant this year.
Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 4:12 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Supply chain issues are impacting everything from what’s on shelves in grocery stores, to how much we’re paying at the pump.

Now, farmers could see impacts from the global supply chain that could make them re-think how they plant this year.

Auburn University Extension Specialist, Steve Li says chemicals “used to take 4-6 weeks for those chemicals to get to the United States, now it’s taking over 4 months.”

Those chemicals come from China and are used by farmers to prep their fields and protect their crops.

Li says multiple factors in China are causing these shipping delays.

“High energy prices over there, pollution control, and also this past Tuesday was the lunar Chinese New Year, so everybody’s taking off. And then the production scale has went way down since last September.”

It’s not the delay in shipping that Li is worried about, it’s the lack of supply for farmers all around the world.

“We know for sure that for glyphosate, glufosinate, and clethodim, which are the three most commonly used post-emergent herbicides, there will not be enough chemical volume to satisfy, or to support a whole global production,” Li said.

One Headland farmer says it’s not the supply chain issues he’s concerned about, it’s the cost of the product.

Ed White said “the prices are up, and they are up drastically.”

He says he’s willing to revert back to old farming practices if it means saving money and not having enough herbicide.

“Of course, we didn’t make the yields that we make now-a-days, but we knew how to plow, and we knew how to band spray instead of broadcast spray,” White said.

Despite the concerns over shipping delays and cost of supplies, Ed believes farmers can still have a successful yield this season.

“If you do it the old way you don’t have as much in the crops, so you don’t have to make the yield that you do. With the modern way, if you don’t make the yield, you’re going to lose your bottom from buying all that stuff,” he said.

Even if that means cutting back on some of the finer things in life.

“Listen man, if you went through the 80′s like we did, you learned how to tighten your belt. You tightened up or went out, one or the other. It’s the only game in town, so you’ve got to play the game the way that it’s being played, and you’ve got to do the very best that you can. And if it means tightening your belt, tighten your belt,” White concluded.

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