Monsanto’s Big Move

Way back in the dark ages of modern technology — September 2009, to be precise — I wrote a blog post on the PrecisionAg Network, my humble technology kingdom, from a hotel room in central Illinois.

Back late from a long, hot day walking the grounds of the Farm Progress Show, I whipped up a piece I titled “The Future According To Monsanto.” It was in 2009 that Monsanto publicly challenged itself to effectively double average row crop yields in 2030 (vs. the average yields recorded in 2000) through a combination of trait and variety improvement and best planting and agronomic practices. So Farm Progress was ground zero for explaining how they intended to achieve this goal.

I remember the Monsanto area of  the show as being impressive and overwhelming, and the media was given a personal tour of the display and festivities by Dr. Robb Fraley, chief technology officer. It was all pretty much what you would have expected until the end, when Fraley unveiled Monsanto’s agronomic research efforts.

By its own estimates, Monsanto said at the time it believed that 5% to 7% of the improvement in yield would need to come from agronomic sources — understanding the impact of field and weather variables on specific varieties, hybrids and traits, and reacting accordingly.

It was clearly not lip service. As I wrote in 2009: “For the past two years, Monsanto has been quietly developing tools for evaluating planting and field variables and their effect on the varieties they sell, so that they can make better agronomic recommendations to growers who choose to plant Monsanto brand family seed.”

Flash forward to 2012, and we find the company making good on its promises through the acquisition of planter technology company Precision Planting. And with it the promise of delivering to growers specific recommendations for variables such as planting depth and population per acre that would be tied agronomically, and one would assume financially, to specific hybrids and varieties.

Now, there’s still a ways to go before Monsanto will have fully ingested and incorporated Precision Planting technology into its own Integrated Farming System vision. In its own words, Monsanto says that “the 2012 program includes additional on-farm pilot trials with an eye toward future enhancements, including recommendations for seed optimization through next generation planting, fertility and water management.”

Should full-service retailers be threatened by this development? I talked to a couple of folks I know with strong ties to a number ag retailers who provide services to growers, including seed placement recommendations, to get some sense of the concern. The consensus is that where market and agronomic knowledge and customer relationships are strong, the threat is low. But where service is lacking and relationships are weak, Monsanto may find a more willing and open audience.

What this will mean for full service retailers has yet to be seen, as it’s not clear how Monsanto will deliver information and services, and how or if it might be attached to the seed purchase. But it’s a development that retailers will need to be watching closely in the months and years ahead.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Monsanto’s Big Move

  1. Paul, good article on Monsanto's big move. Retailers need to get their head out of their behind andmake a real commitment to seed like they have fertilizer and chemicals.Remember what I told you ywears ago, "if you look in the dictionary under "paranoia it will say ie. ag chem retailers. Monsanto may be forced to work witalternatives in areas where retailers think they are "too good" for seed

Paul Schrimpf Stories
Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
Bayer CropScience, ILeVO
Crop InputsISU: ‘Halo Effect’ From ILeVO Soybean Seed …
May 28, 2015
Farmers who were lucky enough to plant soybeans and spray pre-emergence herbicides in between rain events may now be seeing Read More
ManagementCorn Planting/Monsanto-Syngenta Update; New PrecisionAg…
May 28, 2015
Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf give updates on corn planting progress, the latest on Monsanto-Syngenta rumors and preview a brand Read More
Waterhemp in soybean stubble
HerbicidesEPA Signs Off On Monsanto’s Warrant Ultra Premix
May 27, 2015
Soybean and cotton growers looking for new tools to manage weeds will have a new, first-of-its-kind option in 2016 with Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesSTUDY: Weed Diversity Primarily Influenced By Geography
May 27, 2015
The potential long-term impacts of glyphosate-resistant crops on biodiversity of the agricultural landscape have been the subject of controversy. A Read More
Seed/BiotechAgrilead Forms Distribution Alliance With Kansas-Based …
May 27, 2015
Agrilead, Inc. announces the formation of a strategic alliance with KALO, Inc. of Overland Park, KS. Through the alliance, KALO Read More
EquipmentPrecision Tank Announces A&B Welding Acquisition
May 27, 2015
Precision Tank, a specialized tank and equipment manufacturer, announced today the acquisition of A&B Welding of Thompson, IA, a manufacturer Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementTraining Program Gives First Responders Skills For Grai…
May 27, 2015
When stored grain forms hard bridges, columns and other irregularities, those working to correct it find themselves at risk of Read More
Industry NewsBASF Sponsors Space Farming Research Project
May 26, 2015
Is it possible to produce large quantities of high quality vegetables on a space station, about 320 kilometers away from Read More
FertilizerTexas Ammonium Nitrate Bill Passes Senate, Heads To Gov…
May 26, 2015
The Texas State Senate gave final approval last Thursday to new regulations for ammonium nitrate, reports The Dallas Morning News Read More
Young corn plants
Industry NewsArysta Europe Details New Organizational Structure
May 26, 2015
Arysta LifeScience Europe recently announced a new organizational structure to leverage its scale and accelerate the company’s growth in this Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojMonsanto-Syngenta Could Hinge On A Judgment Of Solomon …
May 26, 2015
In the bible, the reputation of King Solomon’s wisdom in matters of despite comes from a tale of one child Read More
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More