Crop Protection Forecasts Mixed

Recent press releases from three major crop protection manufacturers — Syngenta, DuPont Co., and Dow AgroSciences — contain news of varying degrees of growth and profits.

Syngenta Hits Record ’08 Sales

Syngenta reported record sales and earnings growth for 2008 worldwide. Overall sales were $11.6 billion, up 21 percent, helped by a 22 percent increase in crop protection sales and a 16 percent increase in seed sales. Crop protection sales totaled $9.2 billion and seed sales rached $2.4 billion for the year.

For the first time, fungicides were Syngenta’s largest product line, led by AMISTAR for which sales reached $1 billion worldwide. Syngenta’s global crop protection lineup gained market share for the fourth straight year; its Touchdown herbicide was one one of those gaining market share. On the seed side, the company’s proprietary Agrisure 3000 GT triple-stack seed was successfully launched in the U.S. and its first corn pipeline trait, Agrisure Viptera, received EPA approval in December.

The manufacturer expects their seed treatments, including the new Avicta on corn, to help drive more growth in 2009. Syngenta has a strategic alliance with Rohm & Haas to develop and commercialize INVINSA technology as a unique product for crop stress protection in field crops, and will also prepare regulatory studies jointly with DuPont for DuPont’s Cyazypyr, a new broadspectrum insecticide with significant potential for combination with Syngenta’s own products. A pipeline of corn and soybean traits is highly anticipated by the company.

“In 2008, buoyant agricultural markets demonstrated the central role of technology in an ongoing drive to raise yields. Syngenta capitalized on the favorable environment, reinforcing our global leadership position,” says CEO Mike Mack. “In 2009, early signs for the northern hemisphere season are encouraging and we are well placed again to outperform the overall market, enabling us to continue targeting growth in earnings per share in 2009 despite economic uncertainty.”

DuPont Lowers 2009 Forecast; Ag Still Strong

U.S.-based chemical maker DuPont Co. reported a $629 million loss for the fourth-quarter 2008. A $380 million restructuring program accounted for most of DuPont’s loss for the quarter, compared with a profit of $545 million a year before. Full-year 2008 earnings were $2 billion, down from $2.9 billion in 2007. Fourth quarter net sales fell 17 percent to $5.8 billion from $6.98 billion, as the company reported a 20 percent decline in volume. Higher prices in all regions and across all business segments were more than offset by volume declines and negative currency effects, reports the Associated Press.

DuPont will make further cuts to its contractor work force, which already involved releasing 4,000 contractors by the end of 2008; it planned to carve a total of 8,000 contractors from its rolls by the end of January. The company previously cut 2,500 jobs, and will be eliminating merit salary increases this year and cutting work schedules for some employees, according to CEO Ellen Kullman "We’re attacking costs and expenses aggressively," Kullman said, adding that the benefits of the restructuring will be seen in the second half of the year.

While DuPont expects weak market conditions to continue throughout the year, Kullman said she is confident that DuPont will emerge from the current economic turmoil "stronger, leaner and more agile, and better poised for growth." The company said it expects very weak global demand for first quarter of 2009 in most key markets — excluding agriculture, which Kullman described as "the bright spot on the first-quarter volume horizon."

Jim Borel, group vice president in charge of DuPont’s agricultural businesses, said he expects continued volume growth in North American seed markets, and DuPont expects to continue "an appropriate level of spending" for high-growth, high-margin businesses, which includes seed products.

Ag Only Bright Spot For Dow

Dow AgroSciences set a fourth-quarter sales record of $885 million, 2 percent higher than the same quarter last year. Dow AgroSciences reported that its full-year sales grew 20 percent to $4.5 billion, reflecting an 8 percent increase in volume and a 12 percent increase in price.

This marked the 10th consecutive quarter that Dow AgroSciences has recorded a sales record vs. the comparative period of the prior year. Volume declined 4 percent, but price rose 6 percent. Price was up in all geographic areas except Asia Pacific, while both price and volume rose in North America.

Seed sales increased vs. the same quarter last year, led by U.S. corn sales and sunflower sales in Latin America. Sales of agricultural chemicals declined due to product shortages and lack of available credit for growers in some regions.

Its agriculture division was a bright spot for the company. The economic recession dropped demand for plastic and industrial products, resulting in Dow Chemical Co.’s first net loss in six years, according to The loss of US $1.55 billion contrasts with a net income of $472 million a year earlier for the Michigan-based chemical company.

CEO Andrew Liveris announced that Dow will be closing factories and cutting jobs to cope with a global recession, which he predicts could last all year. In December, Dow said it will eliminate about 5,000 jobs, or 11 percent of the global workforce, permanently closing 20 facilities and idling 180 plants. Dow’s contractor workforce is being cut by 6,000 globally. Dow ran its plants at 44 percent capacity in December – its lowest ever – and at 64 percent for the total fourth quarter.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
HerbicidesMarestail, Hemlock Focus Of Fall Herbicide Application …
October 8, 2015
With the grain harvest progressing on or ahead of schedule in most parts of Indiana, no-till producers should start thinking Read More
Prairieland FS employees
EmployeesA New Approach To Employee Retention
October 8, 2015
Long gone are the days when the term “career” implied to 30-plus years with a single employer. In the past, Read More
Crop InputsNew Bionematicide Meets Large Market Need
October 8, 2015
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture, turf Read More
Industry NewsTessenderlo Kerley Completes New California Manufacturi…
October 8, 2015
Crop Vitality, a business unit of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. (TKI), the North American subsidiary of Brussels-based Tessenderlo Group, and the Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
HerbicidesNew DuPont Herbicide Gives Updated Burndown Options For…
October 8, 2015
Soybean growers seeking flexible, effective broadleaf weed control have another option to add to their toolboxes. DuPont Canopy Blend herbicide Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces New API Linking Operations Center With …
October 8, 2015
Deere & Co. and DN2K have agreed to form SageInsights — a joint venture to initially serve the agriculture industry Read More
Crop InputsDuPont, Caribou Biosciences Form Strategic Alliance
October 8, 2015
DuPont and Caribou Biosciences, a leading developer of CRISPR-Cas technologies for genome editing, jointly announced a strategic alliance. As part Read More
ManagementStoller Field Trip and Upcoming Events
October 8, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss a recent Stoller Field Day, the 2015 PACE Council Meeting and another event Read More
EmployeesSyngenta First Agriculture Company To Receive Fair Labo…
October 8, 2015
Syngenta has announced that it has become the first agriculture company to receive accreditation from the Fair Labor Association (FLA). Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Opens Dry Fertilizer Storage And Blending …
October 8, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co., ranked No. 4 on the CropLife 100, has constructed and opened a 22,000-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending Read More
Fall Harvest
Crop Inputs360 Yield Center: Tips For Fall N Application Season
October 7, 2015
Harvest is underway and soon farmers will start setting the stage for the 2016 season. For many, that means applying Read More
Ag retailer at computer
Matt Hopkins5 Lessons Learned From Launching An Agricultural Data B…
October 7, 2015
Like many other industries, agriculture has witnessed big data rocket up the corporate agenda. And as an ag media company, Read More
Tom Vilsack
CropLife 100USDA: Ag Retailers Posted Record Income, Revenues In 20…
October 7, 2015
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the nation’s farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record income and revenue in Read More
FungicidesNew Corn Disease Confirmed In Illinois
October 7, 2015
Symptomatic corn leaf samples from Champaign County, IL, have been confirmed positive for the bacterium Burkholderia andropogonis (Pseudomonas adropogonis (Smith) Read More
Crop InputsBASF Expands Production Capacities Of Biological Soluti…
October 7, 2015
With the opening of its expanded Littlehampton, UK production site, BASF is strengthening its ability to sustainably meet the growing Read More
Dupont Pioneer
Crop InputsIs A DuPont-Pioneer Split On The Horizon Following CEO&…
October 7, 2015
The abrupt departure of the top executive at chemical and seed giant DuPont has reignited the debate over whether the Read More
DTS10 Sprayer Hagie
SprayersHagie Introduces 2016 DTS10 Self-Propelled Sprayer
October 6, 2015
Hagie Mfg. has introduced to the market the newest and most innovative member of its product family, the 2016 DTS10. Read More