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

Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regulatory Approval
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
Trending Articles
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Latest News
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Shareholder Proposes Monsanto ‘Host…
July 20, 2016
One of Bayer AG’s top 20 shareholders said Wednesday it may make sense for the life-science company to launch an Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsNew Leaf Symbiotics Snags Former Monsanto Microbials Le…
July 20, 2016
NewLeaf Symbiotics, announced today the appointment of Dr. Janne Kerovuo as Vice President for Research and Discovery.  Dr. Kerovuo comes Read More
Corn and ditch
ManagementStudy: Saturated Buffers Reduce Nitrates From Subsurfac…
July 19, 2016
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force and Dr. Dan Jaynes with the National Laboratory Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentAgronomists, CCAs, Custom Applicators Invited To FSR Ag…
July 19, 2016
Agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) and custom applicators can stay current on agronomy issues on the grounds of the Farm Read More
Soybean Field
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Brian Hill Legislator Of…
July 19, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Latest Monsanto Rumors: A Game Of Tones
July 18, 2016
When companies are engaged in the back-and-forth of the acquisition game, the tone of their various announcements is always important. Read More
Nozzle spray close-up
AdjuvantsWest Central Distribution Introduces New Elite Family O…
July 14, 2016
West Central Distribution recently released a new line of Elite adjuvants to work alongside the new herbicide technologies that combat Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsBayer Makes New Offer For Monsanto
July 14, 2016
Bayer AG boosted its takeover offer for Monsanto Co. to about $65 billion in a bid to overcome the U.S. Read More
ManagementAn Update on Water
July 14, 2016
CropLife Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matthew Grassi discuss agricultural water issues in conjunction with a recent field trip in Ohio. Read More
Co-Alliance employee
EmployeesNew Purdue Program To Focus On Talent Management
July 14, 2016
Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business is starting a new professional development program to help food and agribusiness Read More
Industry NewsFMC Agricultural Solutions Appoints New Global Regulato…
July 14, 2016
FMC Corp. has named Andy Hedgecock as Global Regulatory Affairs Director for FMC Agricultural Solutions. He joins the company this Read More