A Tougher Road Expected For Ag Retailers In 2014, But Still A Nice Ride

For the most part, ag retailers are in agreement — the past few years have been a banner time for those companies and individuals that make their living from agriculture. At all levels, revenues have soared, commodity prices have stayed at record highs and even challenging weather conditions (a severe drought in 2012 followed by extreme wetness in 2013) haven’t depressed incomes, both on the farm and at the retail outlet.

Based upon these types of performances, the majority of ag retailers remain confident that 2014 will hold more of the same for the marketplace. In its annual CropLife 100 survey of the nation’s top retail organizations, CropLife® magazine asked respondents to rate their outlook for the 2014 season on a scale of one to 10 (one being extremely negative and 10 being extremely positive). When totalled, the numbers showed that 73% of the nation’s top ag retailers believe 2014 will rate between a seven and a 10 in overall sales.

According to these same retailers, their grower-customers are a bit more conservative in their views on the fortunes for 2014. When asked to describe how their customers think the year will play out, 69% of CropLife 100 respondents said they felt “cautiously optimistic” it would be a good year. Another 30% of grower-customers were “somewhat to very pessimistic” 2014 would continue agriculture’s current winning streak.

No 2008 Revisited

Perhaps following through on these feelings toward 2014, many growers apparently spent the fall of 2013 sitting on the sidelines when it came to conducting fall fertility applications. At several recent industry events, many ag retail  ers said their fall fertilizer sales were “very slow” compared with those in 2013 and 2012. “Producers seem reluctant to buy fertilizer and are expecting the prices to come down,” says Frank Schumacher, agronomy division manager at Mountain View Cooperative Inc., Black Eagle, MT.

At first blush, this kind of “wait-and-see” attitude harkens back to what the ag retail industry experienced in 2008, when rapidly rising fertilizer prices eventually lead to a marketplace crash. However, according to Dave DuFault, senior vice president, retail operations for J.R. Simplot Co., Boise, ID, this same kind of “disaster” scenario is unlikely to play out again. “Given what’s happening with falling commodity prices, fertilizer prices will have to come down some,” says DuFault. “In the end, 2014 might be a tougher year for fertilizer sales, but it’s not going to be like what happened in 2008.”

Leave a Reply

Special Reports Stories

An aerial shot of the new facility at Green Valley Ag in Wayland, MI. The company wanted rail access and increased storage capacity.
Retail FacilitiesA Celebration Of Facilities
July 7, 2014
Ag retailers have been building new outlets for several years — and it’s time to take a closer look at some of the industry’s new showpiece locations. Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Develops Efficient Liquid Fertilizer Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 8, 2014
Heritage Cooperative needed an efficient fertilizer plant. And with help from A&B Welding, that’s exactly what the company got. Read More
Retail FacilitiesNew Ag Retail Facilities: The Importance Of Pre-Planning
July 7, 2014
Recognizing the need for a new facility is only half the battle, say industry insiders. Before the first scoop of dirt comes out of the ground, there are plenty of other details that need to be worked out. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More

Trending Articles

Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More