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

Young corn plants
Crop InputsNufarm Reorganizing Ag, Industrial Vegetation Management Sales Divisions
August 3, 2015
Today Nufarm announced a reorganization of its Agriculture and Industrial Vegetation Management sales and marketing organizations effective August 1, 2015. Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soybeans
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
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
Latest News
StewardshipOhio Grower: Why Water Quality Matters To Me
August 3, 2015
Fresh off the first anniversary of last summer’s unfortunate Toledo Water Crisis — which was largely attributed in mainstream media Read More
Young soybean field
Industry NewsH.J. Baker To Build New Facility In Emporia, KS
August 3, 2015
H.J. Baker has announced the expansion of its Animal Health and Nutrition division with the ground breaking of a new Read More
Young corn plants
Crop InputsNufarm Reorganizing Ag, Industrial Vegetation Managemen…
August 3, 2015
Today Nufarm announced a reorganization of its Agriculture and Industrial Vegetation Management sales and marketing organizations effective August 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipExcellence Through Stewardship Reaches 30 Members
August 3, 2015
Excellence Through Stewardship, a non-profit that promotes the adoption of best practices and stewardship in agricultural technology, reached the milestone Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
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
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
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