The Continuing Importance Of Seed Care

As most of the people who do business in agriculture will tell you, the seed is at the heart of virtually every agronomic move made by the grower. “Almost every decision a farmer makes each year starts with his seed selection,” said Sano Shimoda, President of BioScience Securities, Inc., at a recent industry event. “Everything else he purchases or uses in that growing season follows this choice.”

Naturally, with this being the case, protecting the seed from harm is of paramount importance to ag retailers and their grower-customers. And for several years, treating each seed before it is delivered to the field with some protective or nutrient coating has been the norm. In fact, according to statistics gathered during CropLife magazine’s recent seed care survey, better than 90% of soybean seeds are treated prior to being delivered into a grower’s hands. Cereal and corn seeds lag behind this percentage significantly, but still top more than 40% and 20% treated, respectively.

Amy Asmus
Amy Asmus

“There’s definitely been more interest from growers in having their seeds treated than we’ve ever seen in the past few years,” said Amy Asmus, Co-Owner of Asmus Farm Supply, during a recent visit by CropLife to the company’s facility in Rake, IA. “I think most of them realize the potential yield benefits you can get from protecting your seed before you ever put it in the ground.”

This echoes a statement that Kevin Adams, SeedGrowth Strategic Business Lead for Bayer CropScience, made to CropLife during a 2015 interview. “When times are tight, growers say ‘do I really go for corn seed treatment protection or a lower-level protection?” said Adams. “But with a five-bushel yield advantage even at today’s commodity prices, that’s over $20 an acre gross return. That is a great return on investment, and there is a lot of consistency that that product brings to the field.”

The Impact of Today’s Prices

Since Adams made this statement, however, the commodity price situation for growers has only grown worse. According to the latest crop prices, corn is looking at a per bushel price of less than $3 by the end of 2016. Likewise, soybeans are trading for less than $9 per bushel. Furthermore, USDA estimates are predicting that the 2016 harvests for both crops will be stronger than normal, which will undoubtedly continue to put downward pressure on crop prices if usage demand numbers remain where they currently stand today.

With these kinds of numbers in the marketplace, USDA estimates predict grower incomes will fall to less than $60 billion for 2016 — off nearly 50% from the end-of-2014 figures of more than $100 billion. Many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry such as fertilizer suppliers, equipment makers, and crop protection product producers have already felt the pinch in their annual sales as growers look to pair back on their spending across the board.

Seed treatment chartBut is seed treatment feeling this pullback as well? The numbers say yes, but not significantly. In fact, according to preliminary numbers from CropLife’s annual survey of the nation’s top ag retailers — the CropLife 100 — the percentage of companies seeing between 1% and more than 5% growth in their seed treatment revenues for 2016 held steady at 57%. Another 27% had flat sales figures for seed treatment between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, this number stood at 31%.

If there is a note of caution for seed treatment fortunes in 2016, however, it comes from the ag retailers that saw their sales drop in this sector between 1% and more than 5%. In 2015, this percentage stood at only 12%. But according to statistics from the 2016 surveys tabulated thus far, the figure for this year will be closer to 16%.

Fortunately, this slight pullback in seed treatment revenues for ag retailers in 2016 hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for marketplace innovations. Throughout the year, marketers were busy introducing new products for the seed treatment industry. This included such entries as Lumisena fungicide seed treatment from DuPont Crop Protection for protection against Phytophthora and downy mildew in soybean and sunflower seeds and Commence for Corn from Agnition.

And this promises to be just the start of a potential whole new direction for the entire seed treatment marketplace, according to Justin Clark, Technical Marketing Specialist at BASF. “You are going to see some really innovative things that you haven’t seen from basic manufacturers, with biological products in what they do in combination with chemical active ingredients,” said Clark in a late fall 2015 interview with CropLife. “As we start to scratch the surface about what the different components on the seed can do for us, it’s important to take a holistic, on-seed approach, and look at benefits you are gaining from each individual component, because there are so many things going on with seed these days.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Seed Care Stories

KSi Seed Treater at CPS
Seed CareSeed Care Evolves Through The Years
November 1, 2016
When you are a student of history (like myself), it’s oftentimes fascinating to realize just how many times really useful Read More
Verdesian TO_BrandFamily
Seed CareTake Off Seed Treatment Technology Provides Market Advantage
November 1, 2016
Visitors to the town of Hoople, ND, can easily find their way to Hoople Farmers Grain Co. A long-time fixture Read More
Treated seed
Seed CareUsing Seed Treatments To Nourish And Protect
November 1, 2016
As the nation’s largest ag retailer by revenue, Crop Production Services (CPS) conducts its business in virtually every state in Read More
Albert Lea Seed house
Seed CareThe Added Benefit From Seed Treatment
November 1, 2016
For many growers in Southern Minnesota and the surrounding areas, the seed they use tends to come from Albert Lea Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Latest News
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More