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

Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Speaks on Dicamba Issues in Arkansas
June 26, 2017
Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer, Robb Fraley, issued the following statement following the Arkansas State Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba, Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proactive Protection
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now What?
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situation in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Speaks on Dicamba Issues in Arkansas
June 26, 2017
Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer, Robb Fraley, issued the following statement following the Arkansas State Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba, Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proac…
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Wheat Growers
UncategorizedWheat Growers Names Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice Presiden…
June 12, 2017
Wheat Growers has hired Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice President of Agronomy. Linbo joins Wheat Growers after having served 10 Read More