Shift Happens

Has everything we knew about our business and the world-at-large shifted? Based upon what experts are saying and I’ve heard first-hand, I think the answer is yes.

At a recent industry meeting, Jay Vroom, CEO/president of CropLife America, uttered the following observation: “After the election of 2008, we knew we were in for change. But none of us expected what happened these last 18 to 20 months.”

The facts concur. While compiling information for this month’s CropLife®, I spent many hours chatting with friends in the retail, production and equipment channels. Given that most economic gurus have said the Great Recession is over and the high crop input prices that virtually shut down application work during late 2008 and early 2009 are a thing of the past, I fully expected to hear that the ag retail world was “back to normal.” This would translate into higher crop input sales, more application work being done and a general sense of relief being sighed by everyone.

To be truthful, I’ve heard plenty of sighs. However, most of these were ones of confusion rather than relief. As you will read in the story Climbing Back, the overall mood for fertilizer is positive, but retailers are still trying to figure out how to hedge their risks when it comes to keeping products in inventory. This has made just-in-time delivery to grower-customers the new standard.

“I’ve been looking for signs that the marketplace is getting back to normal. So far, I haven’t seen that normal side yet,” said one Midwestern retailer.

A similar shift seems to be taking place in crop protection. Once upon a time, some were predicting a permanent end to the problem of yield-sapping weeds. The combination of glyphosate and glyphosate-resistant crops would conquer all, said the experts.

But Mother Nature has proved to be a more resilient engineer of weeds than mankind could have ever imagined. Today, there are almost one dozen varieties of glyphosate-resistant weeds. More are certain to appear. I was told by one crop production representative at a recent meeting that in some Southern cotton fields last year, resistant Palmer pigweed had become such a problem to control that approximately 70% of these fields had to be weeded by hand. “This puts us back using production methods that were employed in the 1970s,” said the representative.

Also, although the recession is over and companies are again making money, they aren’t investing it in workers. Reportedly, the nation’s top companies are sitting on $837 billion in cash reserves. This amount could employ 2.4 million workers at $70,000 annual salaries for five years.

This all seems to indicate that a major shift has happened in our world. The fact that fertilizer bins are not filled to capacity before the season starts and growers are being forced to hand weed entering the second decade of the 21st century do seem like some pretty significant shifts. Given these facts, I would stay tuned for even more shifts to happen ahead …

Leave a Reply

Latest News
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Mana…
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Corey Abels To Midwest Sales Te…
April 22, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Corey Abels as Territory Sales Manager for the Midwest region. In Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesHELM AGRO US Unveils New Sheridan 25 WG Herbicide
April 22, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new Sheridan 25 WG herbicide for selective Read More