I was one of those kids who had to be called in to supper. I roamed these sand hills with my two dogs making up imaginary adventures with every step. A stand of sand pines adjacent to the farm and across the dirt road had a cool feature — the remnants of an old mine, I suppose, that had filled in over time. To me, it was a deep ravine with sandy sidewalls. To an adult, it was probably no more than a glorified ditch. I would slide down one side and try to climb up the other, falling back into the soft sandy middle.
That was my playground many years ago. The ditch probably filled in over the years, but the sand pines remained until recently. So did the dirt road. In the span of a couple of weeks, the landscape of my whole life changed. The pines were clear-cut and the road paved. It’s odd how different things look now.
Some recent events have me concerned about the landscape of all our lives. The supply chain of crop protection products is strained. Manufacturers report product sitting at ports for weeks waiting on an open container for shipping. Once shipped, it may sit at the next port waiting on trucks to move it to the next location. This is happening more frequently and with an increasing number of products.
Another trend is the attack on crop protection products through the court system. In the United States, the Ninth Circuit Court’s recent decision related to chlorpyrifos requires the Environmental Protection Agency to either write a new rule to allow for the safe use of the insecticide or halt all food residue tolerances for it, which would effectively ban its use. In the European Union, its highest court recently rejected Bayer’s appeal of a lower court ruling that banned three neonicotinoids, which affects the insecticides imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
Some missing pines and a paved road will be easier to deal with than shortages or outright banned ag chemicals needed to make good yields. This changing landscape will take a lot more planning, communication with your ag chemical retailer and flexibility in your management plans.