According to Kline & Company’s Crop Protection Manufacturers Report, U.S. crop protection sales rose 9.5% over the previous year, totaling $8.0 billion in net manufacturers’ level sales in 2012. Many macro-economic factors, essential for a strong market remained in place, as above-average commodity prices, along with positive global demographic changes, economic growth, and rising standards of living, drove optimism within agricultural markets prior and into 2012.
A warm winter and an early planting season favored the use of herbicides and insecticides as growers planted record-setting acres of corn and soybeans. Fungicide applications were reduced in those areas of the country that were severely affected by the drought. Mid-year reports of the drought had many believe that the crop protection industry would make minor gains; however, growers, retailers, and manufacturers were able to adapt, despite deficits of corn and soybean production of 13% and 4%, respectively, over 2011, (according to the USDA).
In addition, the demand for pre-emergent herbicides continued to increase amongst concerns for glyphosate-resistant weed problems. As a result, phenoxy herbicide sales experienced a healthy increase during the year. Grower awareness of corn rootworm resistance in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) traits in corn continued to result in a renewed recognition of soil-based insecticides. Seed treatment sales further contributed to increased sales within the crop markets with a number of generic companies beginning to target this segment.
One of the noteworthy events of the year was the interest generated among manufacturers within the biologicals market. The biologicals market includes: the areas of pest management solutions, inoculants, nematodes, micronutrients, and colorants and coatings. Other notable highlights during 2012 included Bayer CropScience’s purchase of AgraQuest, and BASF’s acquisition of Becker Underwood. Another important outcome during the year was that several manufactures began work on the development of biological product lines, in anticipation of future growth in this field.
Kline’s Crop Protection Manufactures Report covers the 2012 marketing year for the U.S. crop protection industry. The study provides an extensive review of sales and trends affecting the crop protection chemical industry, along with extensive profiles, including individual product sales of the fifteen leading companies that supply over 95% of total industry sales.
– Written by Joe Prochaska