Throughout much of the 19th century, cotton was the crop that used to be referred to as “king” because of its influence and impact on agricultural practices. Of course, in the mid-21st century, corn has replaced cotton as the reigning monarch of crops, chiefly because of its ability to spur crop input and service sales across all sectors for ag retailers.
Although crop plantings haven’t been historic in recent years, ranging between 86 million acres and 88.2 million acres between 2008 and 2010, the commodity price for corn has still been high enough to benefit both growers and ag retailers. And the good times appear poised to keep rolling in 2012. According to USDA forecasts, the nation’s growers are expected to plant 94 million acres of corn this year, the highest mark in five years. As for the other major crops, the picture is somewhat mixed. Wheat acreage is projected to grow 6.6% to 58 million acres, soybean acreage should be flat at 75 million acres and cotton acreage will be down 11.6% to 13 million acres.
So with corn leading the way, 2012 is shaping up to be another excellent sales year for ag retailers. This week, most growers across the country will begin putting in their seeds, but the fertility work has already begun in earnest. On a recent visit to a cooperative in Illinois, I was told by the manager that the outlet was selling 1.5 million tons of blended fertilizer per day, with this total expected to hit the 2 million ton mark in the coming weeks.
So enjoy a nice spring planting season, everyone. Here’s hoping it is a profitable time for everyone who makes their living in the agricultural field!