Illinois is off to a great start with harvest activity across the state. In fact, you might be in the small minority wrapping harvest up soon.

The harvest season has always been a favorite of mine and I’m sure for many of you, too. It’s where all the effort that started over five months ago comes to an end and every management practice is evaluated. Where else can you be 15 feet above and look across every acre and see what worked and what didn’t – not to mention the important result is the grain bin that’s behind you. Once again, we must review our activities and start to plan for the next year. Let me review some of the key wins from 2021 and provide some insight into 2022.

Fungicide sales nearly doubled back in June, with many of your FS Crop Specialists scouting and making the agronomic recommendation and selling the value for that late season application. The growing season was nearly perfect for disease development and we did see a lot of that as the corn quickly reached maturity – earlier than some had planned. Early reports so far prove that was a wise decision with late-season diseases setting in on both corn and soybeans with fields treated showing better stalk integrity and quality. Over the coming weeks, we will learn a lot more about the ROI from those applications and will assess time of application, product performance and the benefits of sequential applications. Again, your FS Crop Specialist will continue to play a vital role in providing the information you need to learn from what happened locally as well as from others across the state in what worked and what didn’t work in 2021.

We continue to hear of supply issues that are basically impacting every part of our lives from all sectors – appliances, automobiles, goods and services. It was a challenging year for the supply of crop protection products, too. With the complexity around the crop protection business, along with the demand globally for many of the common products such as glyphosate and glufosinate, we continue to experience supply challenges as we wrap up 2021. Your FS Crop Specialist will once again be a critical source of information to develop your weed control program for 2022. The use of integrated pest management plan will be crucial as we look toward 2022. Many of you will begin to book seed for 2022, and from that decision will lead to the crop protection programs. Your local FS cooperative did a good job of preparing for this in 2021 and providing alternatives, recommending full rates of residuals and preserving products for when that application was needed the most. It will be critical to have good communication in what you need for 2022. We have time now to develop a plan and prepare for 2022. Utilize your local FS Member company as a partner in your options.

Jeff Bunting serves as GROWMARK’s crop protection division manager.