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

Top 100 Articles

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More