At the end of the day, a retailer’s recommendation of any product on any farm field has to correlate to some measurable degree of value creation to the farmer. It’s true for the “traditional” crop protection and fertility products still prevalent in high-production-based agriculture, and it’s true for emerging biological products as well.
The challenge many biological products have faced is a lack of product performance depth at the local level. And without a foundation of provable value, it’s virtually impossible for a product to make its way to a retail shelf and become part of the crop production regimen. I cover this topic in great detail in my article “Building a Body of Proof on Biologicals.” The article was part of Meister Media Worldwide’s recently released Biological Crop Protection & Plant Health Annual Report.
But consumer preferences are shifting meaningfully, and downstream food production partners are more often demanding greater transparency in their quest to reduce carbon, champion practices that optimize nutrient use, and deliver on corporate sustainability goals.
Forward-looking ag retailers are keenly aware of downstream pressures, and they are actively looking for products that can maintain or increase production. And the widest “blue ocean” waterfront exists among biological products. To make the leap from a “has promise” technology to taking a prominent place in agronomic prescriptions, some retailers are taking matters into their own hands by partnering with suppliers and farmer-customers to put products through their paces.