The Fight For Share

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As corn acreage grew in 2007, custom applicators went along for the ride. According to data from the 2007 CropLife 100 retailers survey, custom application revenue increased 3.4% to $827 million. Market share for this category remained steady at 6%.

For equipment manufacturers, however, 2007 was a bit of a struggle. According to insiders, the high demand for more custom application work meant the waiting time for machine delivery increased by several months. Some equipment makers were reporting that they could not deliver new units any earlier than October or November — and these orders were being discussed in January.

Because of this, there were several significant changes to the market shares of sprayer manufacturers among CropLife 100 retailers. But not at the top. For the second year in a row, Ag-Chem held the overall sprayer market lead with 81% of respondents saying their fleet consisted primarily of yellow and black units. As for Ag-Chem’s fellow AGCO brand, Spra-Coupe, the market share stands at 33% — good enough for fourth place. In both cases, these percentages were identical to the ones recorded in 2006.

The Race For Second

The battle for second place has heated up some, however. In 2006, CropLife 100 retailers were virtually tied in their affections for sprayers from Case IH and John Deere, with red units holding a 54% market share vs. 53% for green ones. But Case IH has put some distance between itself and John Deere. According to this year’s survey, 61% of the sprayers being used by CropLife 100 retailers are painted red, up 7% from 2006. Meanwhile, green units are being used by 58% of respondents, up 5%. Outside of the Big Three — or Four — brand names, there was one sprayer manufacturer that stood out from the crowd. In 2006, only 7% of CropLife 100 retailers said their sprayer fleets had Hagie units in the mix. This year, that percentage jumped a whopping 14% to 21%.

“Our plant has been very, very busy this year,” confirms Jim Williams, product marketing engineer for Hagie Manufacturing Co., Clarion, IA. “In fact, we’ve had so many requests for new sprayers that we are in the process of doubling the size of our production facility to keep up.”

The other sprayer market percentage leaders among CropLife 100 retailers in 2007 included GVM at 12% and Miller Application at 9%.

A Good Buy

New to the 2007 CropLife 100 survey, we asked retailers which equipment manufacturers they planned to buy from in 2008. Here, Ag-Chem and John Deere finished in a dead heat for first place, each garnering 49% among respondents. Case IH finished in third place with 38% of retailers planning to buy from the company. The only other sprayer brand names to finish with double-digit percentages were Spra-Coupe at 15% and Hagie at 11%.

Perhaps ominously, there is a sizable portion of the CropLife 100 that doesn’t plan to make any equipment purchases in 2008. When retailers in the 2006 survey answered this question, only 10% indicated their 2007 plans included no new equipment purchases. For 2008, however, 24% of respondents say they are not planning to buy during the year. 

Sfiligoj is the Editor for both CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines. He travels regularly to cover industry events and has been dedicated to the ag retail industry since he joined the staff in 2000.

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