A Bigger Micro Scope

For much of the 2000s, micronutrients have been something of a red-headed stepchild compared with other crop inputs. As macronutrient prices have stayed high, crop prices have been down, and fuel costs have risen on an almost weekly basis, it’s easy to understand why micronutrients haven’t recorded strong sales.

“Even when prices go high for major nutrients, growers aren’t going to grow anything without the N, P, K (nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium) products,” said Paul McCoy, Jr., president of NutriChem, a supplier partner to American Minerals, Dunedin, FL, when CropLife® interviewed him during the summer of 2006. “Un­for­tunately, the first thing that gets eliminated is micronutrients.”

For further proof of this trend in action, consider the findings of the 2006 CropLife 100 retailers survey: When retailers were asked how their micronutrient sales performed during the year, only 49% reported experiencing an increase (compared to 84% for biotech seed and 65% for fertilizer). An almost equal number — 44% — said their micronutrient sales were flat during the 2006 growing season.

But — not to sound too cliché — what a difference a year makes. Going into the 2007 growing season, market observers are practically universally positive that this will be a fantastic year for micronutrients. The reason, of course, ties directly back to anticipated growth in overall corn acreage in the U.S. as the rapidly expanding ethanol market grows in leaps and bounds.

“It’s shaping up to be an excellent year,” says Jeff Ivan, manager of marketing and business development for Tiger-Sul Products, Calgary, AB, CAN. “Strong commodity prices, brought on by demand from ethanol producers, are expanding into virtually all crop types. I believe we are starting a major trend upward in agriculture, with crop prices staying high for many years to come.”

More Corn = More Micronutrients

In a sense, say several market insiders, the expected boom times for micronutrients in 2007 is long overdue. According to most suppliers, U.S. growers have spent the past half-dozen years “mining” their soils when it comes to important micronutrients such as copper and zinc. “With crop prices low — around $1.70 per bushel for corn — not many growers were rushing to replenish their micronutrient levels, and they suffered some yield losses as a result,” says Kip Smallwood, director of sales for Tetra Micronutrients, Inc., Houston, TX. “But with corn prices now topping $3 per bushel, and expected to go higher as demand increases, many of these same growers are very interested in finding ways to boost their yields. Putting down a fresh batch of micronutrients is one of the ways to do this.”

If there’s a potential obstacle to this unprecedented micronutrient growth occurring in 2007, warns Smallwood, it could be a result of overall higher demand leading to higher prices. Demand for all crop inputs from fast-growing agricultural global powerhouses such as China and India has severely limited the world’s available supply of certain products in recent months. “You are already seeing some wild price fluctuations for a few micronutrients such as copper and zinc, with prices up over $1 per pound in some cases,” he says. “If this continues, and the costs for transportation and fuel keep climbing, you could see some pushback from the market starting to take place.”

Despite this threat to growth, however, most micronutrient suppliers are convinced 2007 will be a year to remember for everyone involved in the industry. At present, approximately 15% of the U.S. corn crop is utilized to produce ethanol. By 2010, this percentage is expected to double at the very least, say market forecasters.

“It’s well-known that corn is one of the most input intensive crops around, and several million acres more of corn in 2007 should mean all crop inputs will be up, including micronutrients,” says Kerry Green, managing director for Wolf Trax, Inc., Winnipeg, MB, CAN. “I fully expect crop prices to stay high enough that growers will be looking for every way possible to increase their yields. Basically, when all is said and done, this will probably be the closest to a ‘can’t miss year’ for sales we will ever see.”

Leave a Reply

Micronutrients Stories

Fertilizer Tender close-up
MicronutrientsHow Micronutrients Fit Into 2017 Fertility Plans
January 10, 2017
Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says Read More
Trey Curtis, Concept Ag owner
MicronutrientsConcept Ag Debuts TransMaxx Technology For Foliar Applications Of Calcium, Other Nutrients
December 15, 2016
Concept Ag Soil & Plant Nutrition has launched TransMaxx Technology, an innovative translocation technology for foliar feeding crop fertility products. Read More
Young Corn Closeup
MicronutrientsBiostimulants And Micronutrients: The Making Of A Market
September 7, 2016
The market for biostimulants and micronutrients continues to grow faster than many other areas of the crop protection market. While Read More
Aerial Photo of Advanced Micronutrient Products in Reese MI
MicronutrientsAdvanced Micronutrient Products Big On Custom Blends
September 7, 2016
John Bowen, whose father started Cameron Chemicals in 1986, has his own unique approach to today’s market. The company evolved Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning …
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More
ManagementAg Land Values In Limbo In 2017
January 10, 2017
Several factors will come into play in 2017 that will determine the direction of land values. Randy Dickhut, senior vice Read More
Industry NewsPattison Agriculture Positioned To Be Leading Canadian …
January 10, 2017
Pattison Agriculture Limited (Pattison Agriculture), a division of The Jim Pattison Group (the Pattison Group), has announced the merger of Read More
Fertilizer Tender close-up
MicronutrientsHow Micronutrients Fit Into 2017 Fertility Plans
January 10, 2017
Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says Read More
Fertilizer application
State of the IndustryCautious Optimism On Fertilizer In 2017
January 10, 2017
What kind of fertilizer rates are growers and retailers looking at in 2017 and beyond? According to stakeholders CropLife magazine Read More
Asmus Farm Supply crop protection products in storage
State of the IndustryCrop Protection Products Market: Complexity Begets Oppo…
January 10, 2017
While other key market segments in agriculture continue to see tumultuous shifts in sales volumes going forward (large equipment sales are Read More
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
Sprayers10 Sprayers That Will Showcase The Latest Application T…
January 10, 2017
Sprayer manufacturers continue to step up their games with the latest in application technology. From direct injection systems and four-wheel Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesGrowers Report Yield Boost, Extended Residual Disease C…
January 9, 2017
With the new growing season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about inputs for 2017. As growers weigh Read More