“It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” This was a public service announcement run by one of the TV stations of my youth. Yes, one of the 4 or 5 channels we had available on our black and white TV. Stop laughing, you young guys. Times were tough before cable and satellite. So here’s my dealer service announcement: It’s late. Do you know where your customers are?
Yeah, I know. They are either holed-up in the shop or have gone somewhere warm, depressed and licking their wounds from the growing season of 2012. It’s not been fun. They don’t want to see you; don’t want to think about next year. Maybe some of you have even fallen into that same trap. If you feel good coming into work, the last thing you want to do is go talk to a bunch of grumpy farmers after they harvest 40 bu/acre corn. However, the conversations you have with them in the next couple of months may be the most important.
So, do you know where your farmers are? Did they have marestail problems last year? 2,4-d and dicamba products will be tight this year. Have they ordered their seed for next year? Did they try a few acres of Liberty corn or beans, like it, and order all Liberty Link for 2013? If you don’t sell them all their seed, you won’t know. We will have supply issues again with Liberty in 2013. Are there any other weed resistance issues popping up? Harvest time might have been the last time the farmers see all their acres until planting. By spring, they will have forgotten that patch of odd weeds that didn’t die in the north 80. Ask them if they saw anything unusual during harvest. Many farmers still expect to be able to call you on Monday and have the products they need by Tuesday. That may not be the case anymore.
The next question is: do we know where you are? Are you ticked off at a particular rep or company and switching acres? Are you planning to use more generic corn pre’s? We need to be aware of any major shifts in weed control programs that you are considering. We are putting in orders now for many of the products needed for next spring and summer. The more information we have, the better we can meet your needs.
Communication will be the key. Please be talking to your farmers and then talk to your chemical reps and to us. Will we be able to guarantee you a great supply of everything for spring? Probably not, but the more time we have to source product, the better our chances will be. That will make all our lives easier.