CropLife 100: Fertilizer on the Upswing?

CropLife 100: Fertilizer on the Upswing?

The past few seasons, fertilizer sales among CropLife 100 ag retailers has been in a steady decline as grower-customers cut back on virtually all types of crop nutrients with the exception of nitrogen (N). Still, this overriding trend took its toll on CropLife 100 fertilizer sales, with 2016’s revenues dropping more than $1 billion to $13.5 billion.

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However, there were some positive signs to come out of the 2016 CropLife 100 survey when it came to the fertilizer category. For one thing, respondents indicated that trying to convince grower-customers to apply the various forms of macronutrients was becoming easier than it had been during the prior two seasons. Indeed, when asked how they would characterize the level of challenge faced getting customers to use crop nutrients in 2016, all three major sectors — N, phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) — scored better than 50% each as being “not unusually challenging.” K scored the highest at 67% with N scoring the lowest at 54%.

A Continuing Trend

Even more promising, this upward trend for fertilizer sales seems to be continuing for ag retailers now that the industry has entered the fall fertility season. According to respondents to the 2017 CropLife 100 Mid-Year Survey, fertilizer has managed to grow revenues for many ag retailers vs. the expectations from the beginning of the year.

When asked to tell us which of the four major categories that make up the CropLife 100 statistics — fertilizer, crop protection products, seed, and custom application services — fertilizer was far-and-away the market leader. At the start of the fall season, 48% of CropLife 100 ag retailers say their fertilizer sales so far in 2017 are “better than expected.” Crop protection products and seed finished tied for second on this list at 24% apiece.