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Farmers facing pesticides crunch

By February 25, 2022No Comments
Tom Wolf, a pesticide application specialist and owner of Agrimetrix Research and Training, spoke about dealing with pesticide shortages in 2022 at Agri-Visions at the Lloydminster Exhibition Association on Feb. 9. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Waste not, want not. That applies to farmers in the Lloydminster area planning to spray herbicides with expected shortages and prices already soaring.

Pesticide conservation planning is top of mind for application specialist Tom Wolf, owner of Agrimetrix Research and Training in Saskatoon.

He spoke about dealing with pesticide shortages in 2022 at Agri-Visions at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds which was breaking news to some farmers in the audience.

“Some people had not heard there was going to be a shortage because it’s typically a little early to take delivery of the product,” said Wolf following his talk on Feb. 9.

“The news is really travelling down the supply chain now and we’re realizing we may be in a bit of a crunch.”

He says the three key products people are talking about are glyphosate, glufosinate, and clethodim better known as the brands Roundup, Liberty and Centurion.

“The cost of glyphosate and glufosinate has gone up three to fourfold already,” he said.

“That means we’re moving from a $4 to $5 per acre treatment for glyphosate to a $12 to $15 per acre treatment.

He says the price for Liberty could rise to a $50 to $60 per acre treatment.

“Fertilizers have really spiked in price as well,” he said.

Wolf says glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world and is used in Saskatchewan and Alberta for pre-seed burn-off.

Area farmers also use it for in crop control of weeds in canola and as a pre-harvest aid to get rid of perennial weeds.

Wolf says the looming product shortage means farmers may not get all the pesticides they need to treat all their acres, so acres may go untreated.

The second thing he says is they may need to stretch their herbicide over more acres and use lower application rates than they have been using.

When it’s time to spray, Wolf advises farmers to pay more attention to surfactants, water quality, and droplet size, to make sure the products work well.

Wolf also provided the audience with an overview of how much product might be lost during spraying, noting the amount of waste is surprising.

“So we need sprayers that can make the most of what we have and that means not wasting any,” said Wolf.

He says priming the sprayer boom, for example, can take a few minutes and that puts the product on the ground while it flows to the furthest part.

“They might lose 20-30 gallons doing that. That’s two or three acres worth,” said Wolf.

He says it’s also important to spray as uniformly as possible.

Wolf also advises farmers to make sure the spray nozzles are within a 5 per cent flow rate tolerance along the entire boom and to invest in individual nozzle shutoffs to improve sectional control resolution.

Anyone who missed the presentation can read his current online article on the same topic in Sprayers 101 which is loaded with spraying conservation tips.