Why Micronutrients Might Be Generating More Revenue for Ag Retailers Than You Think

Conventional wisdom would say that in an uneven crop year (such as 2019 was), one of the crop input segments that would suffer most would be micronutrients. Afterall, during the last growing season, the amount of prevent plant acres (primarily earmarked for crop nutrient-intensive corn) topped almost 20 million acres. In addition, uncertainty regarding crop export possibilities cut into overall grower income numbers, meaning farmers were likely looking to pair back their expenses on such micronutrients as boron, iron, and manganese to save some money.

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Despite all this uncertainty, however, the micronutrients segment has continued to see relatively steady usage/sales among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In fact, according to the 2019 CropLife 100 survey, 53% of the nation’s top ag retailers saw their micronutrients revenue increased between 1% and more than 5% during the 2019 growing season. More impressively, this continued upon a long-term growth trend for micronutrients, where year-over-year sales increases have been recorded by more than 50% of CropLife 100 ag retailers for three of the past four years (51% in 2016, 55% in 2018, and 53% in 2019; the exception being in 2017, when the figure was 45%).

As for why the micronutrients segment has been able to continue to outperform other, larger crop input segments over the past few years, many market watchers put this down to the versatility these crop nutrients offer to growers. “The products are tried and true and meet the needs of most dealers and producers,” says Dale Edgington, Procurement/Production Manager at Advanced Micronutrients Products. “Whether it is phosphate with zinc, potassium with magnesium, or boron with zinc, the soils, climate, crops, and farming practices are different from one end of North America to another.”

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Looking ahead to the 2020 growing season, early USDA projections show approximately 95 million acres of corn expected to go into the ground, an increase of 5 million acres from 2019. If this indeed happens – and growers reclaim some prevent plant acreage in the mix – the micronutrients segment can probably expect to continue its strong growth run among CropLife 100 ag retailers once again this year as well.

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