Outlook 2010: Crop Protection

In the grand scheme of agriculture, 24 months doesn’t seem like a very long block of time. However, from the perspective of the crop protection products business, 24 months must seem like an eternity ago. As many ag retailers and suppliers are quick to note, the entire industry was positively giddy with excitement at the start of 2008. Agriculture was just coming off a record year in corn acreage, and a positive growth curve for ethanol was expected to fuel increased sales for years to come.

Initially, things panned out this way. In its annual survey of ag retailers, CropLife found that crop protection product sales among CropLife 100 dealers increased more than $1 billion from 2007 to $6.5 billion.

But the upward trend didn’t last very long.

“Compared with other years, 2008 was an anomaly,” said Bill Buckner, North American head of crop protection, president/CEO for Bayer CropScience. “As a year, 2008 brought to light all the fears and unknowns in agriculture, countries that normally exported grain started hoarding it. Furthermore, wild swings in glyphosate and fertilizer prices made the world topsy-turvy for most companies that do business in agriculture.”

This made for a very difficult 2009 for the entire ag marketplace. According to data compiled in the CropLife 100 retailer survey, crop protection product sales fell $100 million to $6.4 billion. “Customers made much more cautious purchasing decisions in late 2009 vs. early in 2009,” said Buckner. “In the end, everyone suffered a downturn in sales. This also probably means we are in for much more challenging times going forward.”

Getting Better

Despite this fact, Buckner is optimistic that the outlook for crop protection products in 2010 is getting brighter. “Next year looks fairly promising for all of us,” he said, speaking at December’s Agricultural Retailers Association meeting. “I don’t think we will see the growth in crop protection product sales as we did in 2008, but the pounds on the ground should shape up to make it a pretty decent year.”

According to his market intelligence, there are two reasons to expect positive growth in the industry. First, he surmised, market growth should occur in part because of 2009’s late harvest and resultant poor crop quality in many regions of the country, particularly parts of the Midwest. This will most likely mean the nation’s carryover stocks will continue to decline, increasing pressure on growers in 2010 to bolster production in major crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat to compensate. “We will have to figure out ways to get more yield out of what we produce in this country,” said Buckner.

To achieve this, grower-customers will have to utilize crop protection products instead of foregoing these inputs in favor of newer biotech seed varieties. “I don’t care how many germplasms you have stacked in that seed,” he said. “If you don’t have ag chemicals on the ground, you are not going to produce the crop yields you want.” Buckner added that research has consistently shown that not using crop protection products leads to a average yield reduction of 48% for most crops.

The other reason to anticipate crop protection product growth in 2010 could be a result of the continuing battle against resistant weeds. For the past few years, the number of weed species with confirmed resistance to popular active ingredients such as glyphosate has been steadily on the rise.

To keep grower-customers from experiencing future yield losses to these weeds, Buckner believes it is critical for the industry to expand its efforts to find new active ingredients and new modes of action to retake crop ground. “Mother Nature will always come back to bite us if we ignore this,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More

Trending Articles

Matt Hopkins15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
December 16, 2013
These latest agriculture apps are sure to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2014 and beyond. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More
MicronutrientsGypsum On Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green
October 14, 2014
Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water. Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsVerdesian Grows Sales Staff
October 14, 2014
The new account managers will drive sales growth and support relationships with key customers in the plant nutrition and seed treatment and inoculants product categories. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
October 14, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Purchases Six Grain Elevators, Four Agron…
October 14, 2014
The Andersons has acquired Auburn Bean and Grain of Auburn, MI, which will increase the storage capacity of its Grain Group by about 13%. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Eric SfiligojEntering Agriculture’s New Phase
October 13, 2014
The market’s giddy ride the past few years might be coming to an end in 2015, warns one industry insider. Read More
Eric SfiligojWar And Green Peace
October 11, 2014
A one-time member of Green Peace recently explained why he left the organization after 15 years. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Add To Farm Sustainability
October 10, 2014
Farmers nationwide find cover crops to be a tool that helps groundwater, prevents erosion, builds soil quality and complements existing best management practices. Read More
EquipmentMeeting Changing Liquid Storage Needs
October 10, 2014
Tank and containment choices are expanding with shifts in farming practices and the economy. Read More
StewardshipEDF Launches Initiative To Reduce Fertilizer Pollution …
October 9, 2014
The effort will engage farmers and businesses throughout the supply chain to transform the way fertilizer-dependent grain crops are grown and sourced. Read More
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And …
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More
FertilizerASA: Drainage Tiles A Big Part Of Phosphorus Problem
October 8, 2014
A pair of studies published in the Journal of Environmental Quality today indicate that the buried network of drainage pipes known as the tile system can carry away as much phosphorus as surface runoff. Read More
FertilizerCompass Minerals Debuts Phosphorus Blend For 2015
October 8, 2014
The makers of Wolf Trax DDP Nutrients designed Nu-Trax P+ with the CropStart Nutrient Package, a blend of phosphorus (25%), zinc (20%), manganese (5%) and nitrogen (4%). Read More
ManagementIndiana Certified Crop Advisor Of The Year Nominations …
October 8, 2014
Indiana Farm Bureau and the Indiana Certified Crop Adviser Program are seeking nominations for the Indiana Certified Crop Adviser of the Year Award. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communit…
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More