Seed Grows Upward

Retailers are experiencing increasing success with seed sales, but multi-channel distribution continues to be a major challenge.

Seed sales at the retail outlet continued its forward march in 2010 among CropLife 100 retailers, both in total revenue at $3 billion and as a percentage of revenue at 15%. The 2% increase in percent of revenue over last year is becoming the norm, indicating that successful retailers are gaining more trust with their grower-customers about seed offerings.

There are strategies that have been clearly effective — first and foremost is leading with the seed sale and building recommendations around the seed selection.

“We are a seed placement company,” says Larry Arndt, sales and marketing director at MaxYield Cooperative, West Bend, IA. “I have three seed specialists, and their job is to think about seed and sell the right seed for a field. The placement is all about putting together the right inputs with the right seed. It’s not about discounts; it’s about generating business by presenting solutions.”

The seed-centric strategy has required a full-on commitment of people, resources and investment for retailers who have had some success. At Cooperative Plus, Burlington, WI, an annual educational event surrounding corn agronomics has become a big hit with growers, says Mike Moser, vice president of agronomy. He points to a 20% increase in soybean sales and a 13% increase in corn as evidence of the retailer’s success in winning over grower-customers.

But approach to market is not a cure-all for the competitive issues that still exist throughout the Midwest. “There’s a lot of competition for placement,” says MaxYield’s Arndt. After doing a lot of groundwork building a total program, seedsmen will emerge and offer the grower the seed for a lot less, he laments. “It’s a game that we constantly have to play, and seed companies create some of their own problems with dealers because of it,” Arndt says.

Cooperative Plus’ Moser says he has similar frustrations in Wisconsin, where competition for seed business is hyper-competitive. “Syngenta and Monsanto both have subsidiary lines sold through farmer-dealers, and we compete against them,” he says. “The reality is, the seed sold by a Garst or Golden Harvest dealer and the seed I sell as NK are the very same seed in different bags, but they sell it cheaper because their costs are lower. We are certainly sitting down with them and asking them who they are going to support, and they are trying to work through those issues. They know the problems exist, and we feel our consultative, technical expertise approach is better way to sell seed.”

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Seed Grows Upward

  1. OK, You say revenues of seed sales equal 15%. What you don’t say is how much time those retail, (cooperative) fieldmen are spending on seed, I would guess it’s 70% or more of their time. Sooner or later General Managers are going to realize this. Are all these seed salesmen, seed specialist, fieldmen or whatever you want to call them really paying their way? I think not. I feel the Seed business should be done with local Seed Companies who are the professionals of the industry.

  2. Seems to be a great deal of energy spent arguing about who should sell seed. Truth is, the farmer decides in the end which expert he wants to do business with. You can find great and not so great seedsmen within any organization or dealership no matter the size or variety of offerings presented. Seed battles will be won in the field by the best representatives who truly help the farm revenue grow consistently. That right is earned and should not be simply granted to one entity over another based on any single business model. As margins shrink, the best will be left standing no matter the kind of storefront it is.

Seed/Biotech Stories

Seed/BiotechSyngenta Delivers Two New Winter Wheat Varieties To Eastern Corn Belt
August 6, 2014
Adding to its portfolio of AgriPro brand wheat varieties, Syngenta introduces SY 007 and SY 474 soft red winter wheat varieties. Read More
Seed/BiotechWater Optimized Seed Flowing Freely
April 1, 2014
As the demand for ag to diminish its water use while maintaining high yields and crop quality increases, three companies are leading the movement to grow more with less water. Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer Applies For Seed Treatment That Protects Against Sudden Death Syndrome
February 26, 2014
If approved, ILeVO seed treatment would be the first product to provide breakthrough protection for soybean seedlings from the soil borne pathogen Fusarium virguliforme, the fungus that causes SDS. Read More
Seed/BiotechSeed Still Central
November 1, 2013
Advancing genetics continue to make seed the crop variable that calls the shots for the season. 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