CropLife 100: Machine Works

For the custom application business, 2008 was a good year — not great, but good. Overall according to the figures compiled in the 2008 CropLife 100 survey, sales for this category increased a modest 1% to $837 million. Market share was down 2% from the 2007 total, but the category showed several positive signs for the year.

On the custom application end, 71% of CropLife 100 retailers said that their revenues in this category grew from 1% to more than 5% during 2008. This was down slightly from the 2007 total of 76%. However, in 2007, 17% of ag retailers polled said their custom application sales had declined for the year from 1% to more than 5%. In 2008, this percentage had dropped to only 6%.

In the minds of many CropLife 100 retailers, custom application has benefitted from a couple of ag industry trends. First off, the impressive run up in corn acreages during 2007 served as a big plus for the marketplace. While corn acres dropped slightly in 2008, respondents indicated that demand for custom application work continued to stay strong. Many even credited a stronger performance among soybeans for keeping their work loads busy during 2008’s growing season.

The other big reason for custom application business continuing to grow ties back to the increased popularity of fungicide application in corn. For many years, various crop protection product manufacturers such as BASF have been promoting the use of fungicide as a preventative agent/yield booster in corn. Until recently, these claims have been unsupported by the industry’s Extension researchers. However, during 2008, some researchers began softening their stand, giving an added boost to fungicide sales and application work involving them.

Indeed, when the 2008 CropLife 100 form asked retailers if fungicide application had or would continue to have an impact on their bottom lines, 86% described this as “a significant growth opportunity” for their businesses. More impressively, the remaining 14% thought fungicide preventative application work would be a “good growth opportunity” going forward.

On the precision side of the equipment equation, the numbers were a little more muted. In 2007, 58% of respondents to the CropLife 100 survey said their precision agriculture sales were up 1% to more than 5%. This year, that figure fell slightly, to 53%. The number of ag retailers seeing slight declines in their precision agriculture revenues also grew, from 5% in 2007 to 7% in 2008.

The Equipment Mix

For equipment manufacturers caught up in the overall ag economic growth, 2008 was a bit of a breather. In 2007, caught off-guard by the increased demand for their brands in the wake of huge upticks in corn acreages, equipment manufacturers spent virtually the entire year scrambling to fill customer orders in a timely fashion. Of course, for many, the definition of “timely” lengthened some, from three months from order placement to delivery to six months or more.
“We spent all of 2007 running like crazy to keep up with demand without even stopping,” says Bob Mills of Ray-Man Inc. “This year, things were still busy, but not as crazy as they were.”

Other manufacturers agreed with this assessment. By the time 2008 rolled around, manufacturers had pretty much gotten a handle on their order/delivery schedules. And this was reflected in the CropLife 100 numbers.

Starting in 2006, the CropLife 100 survey began asking retailers which product names were most common in their sprayer fleets. In that year, Ag-Chem brands were the most popular, used by 81% of respondents. A distant second was Case IH at 54%. In 2007, there wasn’t a lot of movement between these two equipment giants, with Ag-Chem maintaining its 81% percentile and Case growing slightly to 61%. The news in 2007 was the performance of John Deere. Sprayers painted green were present in 58% of the machine fleets of CropLife 100 retailers in 2007, up from 53% the year before.

Given this history, how would 2008 play out, we wondered? In a word: wow.

According to the 2008 CropLife 100 survey, Ag-Chem sprayers still represent the lion’s share of fleet equipment, but the percentage has fallen slightly to 80%.

The real news, however, comes from the company that now sits in second place. In 2008, according to respondents, 71% of their sprayers were John Deere green, up 13% from the year before. As for the previous No. 2, Case sprayers now represent only 50% of the average CropLife 100 retailer fleet, down 11% from 2007.

The only other sprayer company that made any kind of move was GVM. Its percentile grew slightly, from 12% in 2007 to 18% in 2008.

Looking ahead to 2009, the race between Ag-Chem and John Deere sprayers could become even more interesting if CropLife 100 respondents are to be believed. When asked what brands they were considering buying for the upcoming growing seasons, 48% said they would be looking at John Deere units. Meanwhile, 46% have plans to scope out Ag-Chem sprayers. If these numbers hold, the gap between Ag-Chem and John Deere sprayers within CropLife 100 retailer fleets could shrink to 5% or less during 2009.

Although, this assumes that demand for Big IRON stays strong into 2009 — by no means an absolute given the prevailing economic conditions currently plaguing the overall U.S. market. But big rig manufacturers should be able to breathe a little easier based upon the data reflected in the 2008 CropLife 100 survey.

In 2007, the number of retailers not planning to add or upgrade their equipment fleets stood at 24% — somewhat surprising given how strong the marketplace was performing. This year, however, the percentage of ag retailers not planning to expand their number of units droppped to 23%

Leave a Reply

CropLife 100 Stories

CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Greater Efficiencies
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Manito Transit Joins SmartWay Transport Partnership
July 7, 2016
Manito Transit, a subsidiary of GROWMARK, has been recognized by the U.S. EPA as a registered SmartWay Transport Partner. The Read More
Crop Production Services (CPS)
CropLife 100Agrium To Acquire Cargill’s U.S. Ag Retail Business
July 7, 2016
Agrium Inc. has announced a binding purchase agreement between its Crop Production Services (CPS) and Cargill AgHorizons for the acquisition of Read More
Grower Truck at retailer
CropLife 100ARA Seeks Comment on Ag Driver Sleep Apnea Issue
July 5, 2016
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are seeking public Read More
Trending Articles
Southeast Farmers Coop - Finished Building
Retail FacilitiesNew Stueve Facilities Offer Ag Retailers Speed, Accuracy
July 9, 2016
Leading the industry in planning and constructing dry fertilizer storage and chemical warehouse solutions, Stueve Construction helped three ag retailers Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
FertilizerGypsum Added To List Of Conservation Practices
July 28, 2016
Crop farmers in a growing number of states may be eligible for financial assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Read More
Management2016 CTIC Cover Crop Survey: 33% Report ROI From Cover …
July 28, 2016
Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesStudy: Fall Weed Controls Can Make Significant Impact O…
July 28, 2016
An article published in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science shows that adopting harvest-time and post-harvest weed controls Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta: Beware Of Early Stinkbug Threat To Soybeans
July 28, 2016
With the record warm temperatures this past winter and confirmations from early entomologist reports, Syngenta encourages growers to monitor stinkbug Read More
Peanut field
Crop InputsVerdesian Introduces New Inoculant For Peanuts
July 28, 2016
As planning begins for the next growing season, Verdesian Life Sciences adds Primo Power CL, a new liquid inoculant, to Read More
Soil Young Corn
Crop InputsSmithsonian: 5 Things to Know About New GMO Labeling Bi…
July 27, 2016
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring large food companies to label products containing genetically modified Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesSpecial Issue Of Weed Science Explores Human Aspects Of…
July 27, 2016
Weeds that evolve resistance to herbicides are a serious threat to global agricultural production. In this Special Issue of Weed Science, Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Great…
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
Crop InputsNACHURS Joins Field to Market
July 27, 2016
NACHURS announced today that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working Read More
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More