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
Crop InputsOhio State Researchers Announce Progress on ‘Phos…
October 27, 2016
Researchers at The Ohio State University are investigating new techniques to detect organic phosphorus compounds in water samples from the Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program To Launch…
October 26, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program will expand the voluntary retailer program to the full state of Ohio, allowing nutrient Read More
AGCO RG700 at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
EquipmentAGCO Parts Rolls Out No-Interest, No-Payments Offer Via…
October 26, 2016
AGCO Corp. is now offering an innovative financing solution on qualifying Parts and Service transactions. Now through December 31, 2016, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsIncotec Invests In North America
October 25, 2016
Leading seed enhancement company Incotec, part of Croda, has announced an investment in their North America business. The total investment of Read More
Patriot 25th anniversary
SprayersCase IH Celebrates 25 Years Of Patriot Sprayers At Bens…
October 24, 2016
Case IH executives, employees and special guests celebrated 25 years of production of Case IH Patriot sprayers in a special Read More
4r Nutrient stewardship
StewardshipNominations For The 4R Advocate Program Due October 31
October 24, 2016
Nominations for the 4R Advocate program are due to The Fertilizer Institute by October 31, 2016. The program recognizes agricultural Read More
Corn close up
Eric SfiligojProtecting Agriculture’s Ability To Feed The World
October 24, 2016
The rate of change coming to agriculture is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This Read More
Student Young Worker CHS
CropLife 100CHS Supports #FirstJob Compact
October 24, 2016
CHS joins the White House and many of the country’s largest employers in signing a new initiative centered on helping Read More
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More