Monsanto Co. has announced that it will increase seed prices up to 10 percent overall in 2010 even as it holds certain "workhorse" hybrid seed prices flat for growers unwilling to pay premiums for the company’s genetically modified (GM) seed technology, according to Reuters.
"We have to have a balanced approach," says Monsanto Chief Financial Officer Carl Casale. "You’ve got to continue to acquire new customers." Casale said 2010 price increases would range from 8 percent to 10 percent across the portfolio on average, although some seed prices would be held flat as part of an effort to give growers a broader choice.
Monsanto has implemented double-digit price increases over recent years on its popular GM corn and soybean seed technology that help growers maximize yields and efficiencies. Monsanto officials say that they are introducing for the first time a strategy to hold prices flat for certain seed offerings they described as "workhorses" — proven hybrids lacking some of the sophisticated new technology. Casale says the company did not correlate its seed pricing strategies with crop prices but rather with how much value the company thought it was providing the grower.
Monsanto reports mixed hybrid market share performance for 2009, holding flat with many of its brands, and slipping from 41 percent to 39 percent for its Deltapine cotton seed. The company says that its genetic corn traits were planted on 70.6 million U.S. acres in 2009 and 85.7 million acres worldwide. Soybean traits were planted on 73.2 million U.S. acres in 2009 and 159.5 million acres worldwide.
Monsanto plans to introduce at least one new product every year for the next seven years, officials say.