Ups And Downs For Agriculture This Winter

As I write this week’s enewletter column, I’ve just returned from the annual Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) meeting and convention. Other state associations have also held their annual meetings this month, with plenty more scheduled between now and the big National Farm Machinery Show in mid-February.

On the floor of the IFCA show itself, exhibitors seemed relatively pleased with their prospects for 2014. In particular, those companies involved in new ag retail plant construction and fertilizer blending indicated that business was “brisk,” with plenty of activity going through until the end of the year. Likewise, field equipment manufacturers said their orders for new machinery were equally strong through the middle of 2014.

What do you think is the biggest threat to a strong 2014 for agriculture?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

On the other side of the coin, however, are fertilizer distributors. Following several strong demand years since 2009, many fertilizer dealers and suppliers at IFCA indicated that their advance sales for spring 2014 are “slower than I would have expected.” Most blamed the recent fall in corn prices convincing growers to possibly switch to less fertilizer dependent soybeans for the upcoming season. Others thought that because growers have applied “lots” of crop nutrients the past two years, they were choosing to “mine the soil” in 2014 instead of applying new fertilizer. A few even blamed the lack of a Farm Bill to have added to this uncertainty (although it looks like a new one should be passed shortly).

No matter what way you slice it, 2014 could end up being the most up/down year the ag retail marketplace has experienced since 2008 – when everything hummed along nicely until mid-year and then ground to a complete halt. In addition, another uneven weather year in 2014 could make this uncertainty even more pronounced.

As one IFCA attendee told me off the record: “I think we are just one really bad trend away from this whole bull market for agriculture coming to an end.”

I certainly hope this isn’t the case. But I will be watching events very closely just the same.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Ups And Downs For Agriculture This Winter

  1. Your comments mentioned that due to low corn prices many growers considering switching to less dependent soybeans. It is well known that rhizobacteria that colonize the plant roots help increase symbotic nitrogrn fixation. One must realize this assistance comes at a price. The plant must extrude 20 to 40 percent of their energy ( derived via photosynthesis)into the root zone to feed
    these microorganism.That is a heavy tax on the plant. However this tax can be eliminated by biological products containing photosynthetic microorganisms that use the entire light spectrum ( including radio waves and microwaves, light not visible to the human eye) to product ten times the
    energy for the plant.
    The microbes inhabit the entire ciculatory system of the plant producing sugar 24 hours per day. It is like a plant having it’s fsertilizer factory.

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

MAGIE 2015 Overview
Eric SfiligojThe Read From MAGIE
August 29, 2016
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Latest Monsanto Rumors: A Game Of Tones
July 18, 2016
When companies are engaged in the back-and-forth of the acquisition game, the tone of their various announcements is always important. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
Eric SfiligojThe Cooperative Consolidation Crunch
July 11, 2016
One month ago on June 14, I had the opportunity to attend the official opening of a new ag retail Read More
Eric SfiligojWanted: A New Villain In Agriculture?
July 6, 2016
More than 30 years ago, I remember reading one particular comic book story that still resonates with me to this Read More
Trending Articles
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. 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
Latest News
MAGIE 2015 Overview
Eric SfiligojThe Read From MAGIE
August 29, 2016
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being Read More
EquipmentAGCO Opens Nominations For 11th Annual Operator Of The …
August 29, 2016
AGCO Corp. is now accepting nominations for 2016 Operator of the Year, which recognizes hard-working applicators across the country. These Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
CropLife 100CHS Completes $10 Million Renovation Of St. Paul Agrono…
August 29, 2016
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has completed a $10 million Read More
2016 ShowStopper | Case IH Patriot 4440 Sprayer
Equipment5 Show-stopping Products On Display At 2016 MAGIE
August 26, 2016
For 10 years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with voting for Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More