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

Trending Articles

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
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. 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
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipCTIC Tour Dives Deep Into Everglades
October 31, 2014
The most recent Conservation In Action Tour (CTIC) hit South Florida recently to tour the Everglades Agricultural Area. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More