It’s becoming something of an annual rite of passage to find new crop nutrition products entering the marketplace during the spring. In fact, although ag retailers still tend to divide the growing season evenly between spring and fall crop nutrition application work for the most part, there has been a decided movement toward more spring-applied work in recent years.
As I helped prepare the third-annual Crop Nutrition Special Report for CropLife® magazine, I had just returned from what many in the agricultural marketplace consider the end-of-the-season winter trade show — the Commodity Classic. This year’s show, held in Anaheim, CA, during the last few days of February, tended to feature numerous new product previews for the upcoming growing season from myriad industry suppliers.
Normally, most the “new” products making their market debuts at the Commodity Classic tend to fall into two distinct categories — equipment and crop protection. This year’s show was no exception, with dozens of new pieces of Big IRON sharing exhibit space with large booth displays from the various crop protection companies that do business in the industry.
What was a bit surprising was just how many new products and exhibitors there were that promoted crop nutrition items inside the Anaheim Convention Center. This laundry list of products included more than just “traditional” crop nutrition items. There were plenty of plant growth aids to see, along with more than a few biofertilizers and biostimulants.
All of this activity within the crop nutrition category seems to bode well for the industry having a stronger demand year from grower-customers than in the past few years. According to Dave Coppess, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Heartland Co-op, his company is anticipating 2018 could be a better year for crop nutrition demand than the marketplace has seen in recent years.
“Farm economics continue to be very challenging for farmers to turn a profit,” Coppess said in a early winter interview with CropLife. “[But] we anticipate fertilizer sales to be good, yet we will continue to follow the trend of lower nutrients per acre being applied.”