Entering The Ethanol Age

Back in January, CropLife® magazine published its short list of top retailer issues for 2006: product pricing, glyphosate resistance/tolerance, and Asian soybean rust. Hindsight being 20/20, we now know that ethanol also should have been highlighted.

But that’s the beauty of a December synopsis; everyone gets to look back and tweak the list — after the fact.

In the end, this year’s major topics included energy and ethanol, rust and resistance, and biotech and meth, plus an exciting development in precision agriculture.

The New Gold Rush: Biofuels

Americans’ frustration with higher gasoline costs and dependence on foreign oil, increasing numbers of hybrid vehicles, and President George W. Bush’s State of the Union announcement of the Advanced Energy Initiative added more fuel to the fired-up interest in corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel this year.

Experts anticipate an increase in corn acres in an attempt to meet the larger demand for ethanol, and many ag dealerships are already strong believers in biodiesel. The expected higher market prices mean grower-customers will be willing to spend more input dollars, and that’s good news for retailers.

Biotech Bounty

The effort to increase corn and soybeans available for biofuel production also will require improved seed traits and yields. For example, earlier this year Syngenta announced that it expects to launch a genetically modified corn seed that could lower the cost of ethanol production by 10%.

More trait stacks, increased insect resistance, and technology licensing deals were just some improvements that marked the biotechnology landscape as seed continues to strongarm crop protection product sales

Growers gained new markets in Japan and the European Union, respectively, for Dow AgroSciences/Pioneer Hi-Bred International‘s Herculex RW Rootworm Protection and Herculex XTRA Insect Protection grain corn hybrids and Monsanto‘s YieldGard Plus corn and YieldGard Rootworm and processed products.

Weed Management

The glyphosate resistance/tolerance issue is now of such concern to retailers and their grower-customers that CropLife and its sister publication, Cotton Grower magazine, presented three “Total Weed Management” Special Reports, sponsored by Monsanto Co. in 2006.

In March, the report covered best practices for today’s cropping systems, with “Don’t Dismiss Resistance” as the key message. The second report, in May, focused on best practices for protecting yield and reducing risk.

“Total Weed Management: Year In Review and 2007 Outlook” was the theme of the November report. University, association, and manufacturer resources also were included with each report.

On the seed side, the first round of the battle over glyphosate-tolerant technology rights between Monsanto and Syngenta went to Syngenta Seeds, Inc. Monsanto announced it would appeal the U.S. District Court ruling that allowed Syngenta Seeds to sell its GA21 products.

Post-Patent Popularity Up

Post-patent products — which represent approximately half of the market share of all crop protection products — continued to be embraced by top retailers. This year, 86% of them reported buying post-patent products, a jump from 79% in 2005.

This figure becomes more significant when the across-the-board price increases are factored in. Manufacturers had previously been able to absorb most of the growing material costs, but this year’s jump in energy prices — due to increased demand and abetted by the 2005 hurricane season — forced them to share some of the increase with customers.

Rust Makes Late Surge

For most of its sophomore year in the U.S., Asian soybean rust stayed tucked away in the South again. A late-season surge — too late to affect yields in most areas — took the disease up into Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia.

Nothing stays stagnant for long on the rust front. The PIPE Web site was updated this year to show where rust-infected sites have been destroyed, soybean aphid tracking was added, and Mexico’s data may soon be included. And retailers’ arsenal of Section 18 emergency exemption fungicides for rust control was beefed up with the addition of Domark, Onset, Uppercut, and Alto.

Deterring The Meth Problem

Retailers got a helping hand with the growing methamphetamine (meth) problem when the USA Patriot Act was renewed in March. The act regulates the sale of pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in the manufacture of the illegal drug, and is expected to reduce the theft of anhydrous ammonia (NH3) from ag dealerships.

Another deterrent, discovered by Iowa State University researchers, is calcium nitrate. When injected into NH3 nurse tanks, it dramatically reduces the amount of meth produced. The product is not yet available on a large-scale basis.

Precision Gains Focus

In 2006, the practice of precision agriculture began its second decade. In response to the mind-boggling rate that new technologies come on board from many sources, the CropLife Media Group has launched the PrecisionAg Institute. This independent and neutral forum — which will be managed by the CropLife Media Group — will serve as a central depot for all things precision, and 13 companies have signed on as Founding Partners.

The Institute’s mission is to foster technology transfer, wider adoption, and increasingly effective use of precision agriculture technology worldwide in the years to come.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum Product
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confusion, Misinformation
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
Latest News
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta Recommends Soybean Scouting To Prevent Economi…
July 22, 2015
Proper soybean insect pest control begins with scouting. As the warm weather continues, Syngenta encourages growers to implement a scouting Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Launches Fall Sulphur Campaign
July 22, 2015
H.J. Baker has launched their “Keep Your Future Green – Use Tiger This Fall and Win Big” campaign. The campaign Read More
Central Valley Ag Randolph, NE
Retail FacilitiesStueve Construction Builds Fifth Facility For Central V…
July 21, 2015
Central Valley Ag partnered with Stueve Construction Co. to successfully design and build its Monroe, Oakland, Wakefield and Royal hub facilities Read More
FertilizerNew Research Could Lead To Less Reliance On Nitrogen, E…
July 21, 2015
Farmers often are required to apply nitrogen fertilizers to their crops to maintain quality and improve yields. Worldwide, farmers used Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Targets Farmers, AFBF In Syngenta Takeover
July 21, 2015
As Monsanto Co. struggles to convince rival Syngenta AG to discuss a potential merger, the seed and agrochemical giant is Read More