LAYFAYETTE, Ind,– Higher prices at the grocery are likely coming our way and while experts say supply chain disruptions are mainly to blame, another problem is growing closer to home.
Herbicide shortages are already making next year’s growing season challenging for Josh Cox and 90-thousand other Hoosier farmers.
Cox is a seventh generation farmer at Wildcat Valley Farms, where he grows crops like corn, soybeans and wheat.
“The prices have tripled in cost,” Cox said. “Fertilizers are in the same boat. They have increased probably 4 to 5 times the price of what the herbicides have.”
“Because of supply chain issues and the pandemic, we’re seeing a shortage in the most common herbicides we use in corn and soybean production,” said Bill Johnson, Ph. D., Professor of Weed Science at Purdue University.
Johnson says two of the most widely used active ingredients—glyphosate and glofosinate—are in short supply, driving the price for farmers up.
“If we’re spending more on inputs, like herbicides, that results in a lot of income that is not realized by the farmers in our state,” Johnson said.
Which translates to higher prices at the grocery store and lower incomes in areas heavily impacted by farm income.
“Much of the corn and soybeans produced in the state are fed to livestock, so certainly we’ll see a higher cost of meat products and other products that are made from corn and soybeans,” Johnson.
Farmers say there are alternatives to the ingredients, but they aren’t as effective and can take more skill to apply.
“I think there’s some ways to manage it, but it will be outside our comfort zone,” Cox said.