Living In Interesting Times

An old Chinese proverb says “may you live in interesting times.” While most listeners would view this as a positive state of affairs with unlimited potential for growth and prosperity, others see it as a curse, with “interesting” being another word for “dangerous.”

At the 50th anniversary gathering of the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA), both views were on display. According to , founder, president, and CEO for ABG, ag has never been in a time like this.

“We are at an interesting inflection point in the evaluation of the industry, broadly,” said Jackson. “Right now, there are things going on here that weren’t here two years ago and are not forever kind of things such as $3.50 a bushel corn. Then again, two years in this industry is kind of almost forever.”

Market Differences

In particular, Jackson cited several examples of how today’s ag market differs from that of the one a few years back. For instance, the value of the crop protection market was rapidly declining, to around $5.5 billion. In 2007-08, however, the value increased back to $5.7 billion. Meanwhile, seed and trait values have grown to more than $12 billion. Likewise, anhydrous ammonia could be had for $200 to $300 per ton back in 2006. Today, that same amount costs more than $1,000.

“In particular, retailers are facing incredible price risk on crop nutrient purchases, and need to have increased working capital requirements to keep supplies up in this area,” said Jackson.

Still, the future is bright, according to other speakers. “As world population grows and urban areas expand, the quantity and quality of land available for agriculture declines,” said Monty Bayer, U.S. marketing director for Dow AgroSciences. “By 2020, there will be just over 0.2 hectares per person for animal and crop production, compared with almost 0.4 hectares back during the 1970s.”

Todd DeGooyer, Northeast regional director for Monsanto, agreed with this view. “In fact, we were issued a challenge by our CEO Hugh Grant to double yields for corn and soybeans by 2030,” said DeGooyer. “This would mean increasing today’s yield of 150 bushels per acre for corn to 300 bushels and soybeans from 40 bushels per acre to 80 bushels.”

Brad May, strategic business entity lead, seed treatments for Bayer CropScience, added that the need to address alternative fuels and climate change would have an impact on the future direction agriculture takes. “There will be increasing demand for renewable energy and biofuels, not to mention the yield losses through weather conditions and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said May. “This will lead to acreage competition between food, fuel, bio-energy crops, and fiber.”

At Monsanto, this quest involves introducing an ever-expanding array of seed traits for growers to pick from. “In 2009, Monsanto plans to launch our YieldGard BT Pro trait,” said De­Gooyer. “This will offer growers multiple modes of action and could help them reduce the amount of crop refuge needed from today’s 50% down to 20%. This added 30% should help them to increase their crop yields.”

Seed Treatments Ahead

Over at Bayer, May said the opportunities for seed treatment are rapidly growing. For example, in soybeans, the marketplace has expanded from $45 million in sales during 2007 to more than $65 million this year. Furthermore, seed treatments are running the gambit of options, from insecticides and fungicides to inoculants and film coatings. “Seed treatments are known to provide better emergence, healthier plants, and disease/insect control,” said May. “But they also contribute to increased yields and complementing the traits themselves.”

Finally, at Dow, the focus is on improving crop protection products to take advantage of the overall industry trends. As Bayer pointed out, crop protection products won’t be disappearing in the near future despite the advances being made in seed traits. “Ag chem will always have a place because Mother Nature always wins out in the long term over our efforts to control it,” he said. “Therefore, we believe there is a strong future for these products.”

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Eric Sfiligoj2016: The Year Of Consolidation
April 4, 2016
Usually when we are putting together our end-of-the-year wrap up stories here at CropLife magazine, we generally can categorize any Read More
Eric SfiligojTechnology And The 20-Minute Rule
March 21, 2016
I have a seven-year-old with an iPad that can tap into the Internet. To my son, “wait a minute” is Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
ScoutPro iPad
Precision AgWhat’s Trending In Soil Testing And Scouting
April 6, 2016
Keeping up on soil testing and scouting, especially following unusual weather conditions, can play a role in maximizing yields. Soil Read More
Latest News
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Mana…
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Corey Abels To Midwest Sales Te…
April 22, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Corey Abels as Territory Sales Manager for the Midwest region. In Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesHELM AGRO US Unveils New Sheridan 25 WG Herbicide
April 22, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new Sheridan 25 WG herbicide for selective Read More