MONKLAND — Plastic resin prices have been on an upward trajectory since last fall, and the impact is being felt in the hayfield this spring.
As Goodman & Uhr co-owner Claudia Goodman puts it, there’s not so much a shortage of bale wrap and silage bags as much as there is a shortage of those things at “a good price.”
Her own Monkland-based firm ordered this year’s inventory last fall when plastic prices seemed relatively high, amid the pandemic, but before they climbed even higher after U.S.-based resin makers got hit by weather-related calamities on the U.S. eastern seaboard through the winter. The investment worked out. Consequently, Goodman & Uhr has been able to largely shield its customer base from what would otherwise have been a 24 percent price increase.
Other industry players bet against rising prices last fall and held off buying their stock and are now short of product, says Goodman.
“We’ve had some very large suppliers reach out to us to see if we had any extra stock that we would be willing to part with,” she says, adding that they are willing to pay attractive prices. “And there’s two reasons why we haven’t: We want to make sure we’re supplying our own local customers first; and we want to make sure we’re supplying locally, and looking after our own back yard.
“We want to make sure Eastern Ontario is looked after, that’s our primary goal.”
The local farm retailer also switched suppliers in one case, opting for an Argentinian silage bag manufacturer this year because the regular vendor got caught by the resin rise and demanded a higher price.
Goodman says the production of personal protective equipment likely played a role in gradually raising the price of plastic by about 8 percent by last fall, when Goodman & Uhr locked in supplies for the 2021 season. That decision — in line with how they operate every year — avoided the later plastic price surge after hurricanes damaged a couple of production facilities, setting output back a number of weeks. Then the Texas freeze- up and blackout knocked more resin production offline for a time, according to Goodman.
The trade publication Plastics Technology reported in May that the five types of resin used in all manner of products continue to climb in value.