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Cautious optimism for 2020

BLOOMINGTON – The president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association senses optimism on the ag retail side of things.

“I think their pre-pay seasons for the 2020 crop year were good,” said Jean Payne. “We had a pretty decent fall fertilizer season for both dry fertilizer and ammonia.”

Payne believes the industry is in a good position from a supply standpoint. We have not seen much of an impact yet on the China situation curtailing imports of generic chemicals that are used in blending here in the U.S.

“The nice thing about the ag industry is we are always ready for spring six months before spring with inventories of inputs for the farmer.”

Once growers get through the initial spring rush, the re-supply period is critical, which includes side dress and post emergence crop protection products.

“I think everybody is cautiously optimistic about the 2020 year,” said Payne.

Payne anticipates increased interest in the use of new Enlist technology which allows for 2,4-D to be sprayed over the top of traited soybeans. Other technologies out there include Xtend, Liberty and non-GMO. This means there could be nine million acres of soybeans that don’t all “play nice together.”

“Whether you are a farmer or commercial applicator, continued attention to identifying the fields that are around whatever technology you are spraying is going to be so important,” Payne added.

The U.S. E.P.A. is expected to decide in August or September if dicamba use will be allowed on soybeans going forward in 2021. The future of the ag chemical technology is uncertain if we still have issues with it this season. Since there is so much at stake, Payne recommends taking the extra time and doing all you can to protect and co-exist with your neighbors.

“We really need to steward these weed technologies if we want to keep them in the tool box,” explained Payne.

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