Farmanco Agronomy Team Leader, David Cameron, gives a rundown on the fertiliser and chemical input supply issues, relating to Covid-19. Podcast here. In writing below.
Fertiliser and chemical input supply issues relating to Covid-19
Hi, I’m Keith Symondson, the CEO of Farmanco.
We are currently putting together some specialised podcasts on the possible impacts of Covid-19 on a number of areas related to agriculture.
The first of these podcasts is from our Agronomy Team Leader, David Cameron, about the potential impact of the spread of the virus on the supply of fertilisers and chemicals.
Obviously the situation is constantly evolving (day by day) and so if you have any ideas on other areas you’d like us to research and do a podcast on, in relation to the spread of the virus, please let me know by email at email@example.com and I’ll hand over now to David Cameron.
Fertiliser supplies should be good, given that most is already in Australia or on-farm. The implications are probably for future purchases given that the dollar has dropped in relation to other economic issues surrounding the virus.
The real issue lies with chemical supply and this year we’re likely to get hit with a triple whammy.
A couple of years ago, the Chinese tightened their regulations for manufacturers in China and supply decreased for some actives. We haven’t felt the full effects of that because the east coast wasn’t demanding a lot of product over the last two winters, whereas this year it may be.
One of the other factors is the east coast itself having really high demand for cropping chemicals and so products have moved east and we need to be really mindful about this.
Number three is the virus itself and the implications with lack of supply out of China and even movement domestically around our own country.
So, suppliers are saying that different parts of China are producing at different capacities. Some provinces producing well, others are still quite restricted because of the way the virus has shut them down and of course there are freight issues involved there.
The next six weeks is usually quite significant for importers into WA and Australia. We need to be mindful and making sure that if there is a restriction on movement and potentially domestic logistics is challenged, whether at port or on the road to you on the farm, that you have enough product to make what you want to do happen in relation to the season.
We are beginning to hear that some chemicals aren’t available. That the active has sold out. And at this point you will be able to buy other actives which are relatively substitutable, so we’d like all Farmanco clients to be prepared. Ideally have 100% of your requirements on farm, particularly for knockdown pre-emergent and the post-emergent herbicides.
With the fungicides, it is probably more the high rainfall zone growers that should have them on-farm, whereas the medium rainfall zone and low rainfall zone can delay this decision. Or perhaps at least get the volume of propiconazole that they’d use for their barley/wheat‑on‑wheat hectares, but you might need to consult your agronomist for fine tuning this and that could change quite quickly, given the way the situation is changing.
With the insecticides, you should order your early-season and mid-season insecticides now and have them on-farm. There’s no reason not to. A lot of these products are pay June or later, so it makes sense to do that and quoting is underway and we’re getting competitive pricing on all products, including the post-emergents which are being quoted ahead of their usual time.
Now, the other thing that you should do is just stay in communication with your re-seller, particularly if there’s an unusual requirement that you have. If there’s a product you haven’t used a lot of in the past, just letting them know that. Because they’ll be taking positions on the usual larger volume products, but if there is anything you’re going to use that isn’t typical then let them know that.
So, the key will be to continue communicating and focusing on getting your ag-chem supplies on-farm.