Farmers should consider a multitude of weed control options for the upcoming growing season as herbicide supply issues could linger for months.

Bayer recently alerted retail partners it may not be able to fulfill some glyphosate contracts this spring.

The company officially declared a “force majeure” event, which is a technical way to describe an uncontrollable incident that prevents a party from fulfilling a contract. Bayer reported a supplier of a vital raw material for glyphosate experienced a “mechanical failure” at a manufacturing plant.

“It’s not great news,” said Jeff Bunting, GROWMARK crop protection division manager. “But, honestly, we’ve been dealing with glyphosate shortages and challenges since late last summer (dating back to Hurricane Ida in August and the closure of a plant) in terms of production.”

Bayer stated the supplier is on track to restore production and it’s sourced additional materials and made mitigation efforts to help manage the situation. The company expects a marginal impact on its annual glyphosate production.

Bunting said GROWMARK continues to pass along any information it receives from glyphosate manufacturers to all FS members every week.

“We’ll do what we can to get farmers what they need,” he said. “There’s still a lot of things yet to be produced that causes some anxiety. We know we need to get (inputs) delivered into farmers’ sheds.”

Farmers dealt with similar supply issues of glyphosate and glufosinate last season due to everything from worker shortages at production plants and transportation snags to Hurricane Ida. The Category 4 storm was reportedly the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana on record.

Many farmers had to improvise their crop management plans around supply issues in 2021, and that appears to be the case again this year.

“A key right now is a little bit of patience from farmers and also retailers,” Bunting said.

And, what about crop management decisions if some herbicides aren’t available in select areas?

“The main thing right now is if you can’t get your Plan A, understand what the Plan Bs and Plan Cs are,” he noted. “I really do think we can get through this. It will take good communication, collaboration and coordination this spring season.”