Crop protection sales remained strong in 2013

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Affected by prolonged rainfall, weed resistance issues, and higher manufacturing costs, the U.S. crop protection industry remained strong in 2013, posting an 8.2 percent increase over the previous year. Net manufacturers’ sales within the crop protection industry total $9.2 billion, according to the recently published Crop Protection Manufacturers Report: A Strategic Market Analysis of the U.S. Crop Protection Industry by worldwide consulting and research firm Kline & Company.

In anticipation of a healthy planting season, corn growers purchased high inventories of herbicides but excessive spring wetness in the Corn Belt and throughout the country caused almost 2 million acres to remain fallow and deferred spring planting, forcing some corn growers to switch to short maturity soybean varieties. The wet conditions reduced insect pressure, causing the insecticide segment to decline at a double-digit percentage while promoting disease pressure and modestly increasing fungicide sales. However, many growers halted or did not start fungicide applications as the wet weather was soon replaced by the summer time droughts. The plant growth regulators segment declines slightly as it heavily targets the cotton markets where acres planted decrease almost 16% in 2013.

“The wet weather conditions were ideal for growers to utilize the value of seed treatments. The feedback from growers planting treated seed was that they saw very good control when faced with additional pressure from disease and insects,” comments Joseph Prochaska, Project Manager at Kline’s Agriculture and Specialty Pesticides Practice. “Both Bayer and Syngenta saw excellent market share gains as their recent product introductions performed very well during the year.”

“With high commodity grain prices still warranting maximum crop production, major crop acres planted during the year declined just 1.2% from the previous year. Despite the decline in planted acres, growth within the crop protection market came in part from factors outside of planted acres,” adds Prochaska. The major growth drivers included weed resistance issues, increased prices due to higher manufacturing costs and major research-based manufacturer leverage of integrated strategies within its seed business. As a result of weed resistance issues and higher manufacturing costs, the industry witnesses glyphosate prices climb from an average of $9.50 per gallon in 2012 to $11.50 per gallon in 2013.

While the growing biological market within crop protection remains a hot topic of discussion, it has been pushed aside by the weed resistance problems that continued to persist in 2013. Consequently, herbicide use rate applications grew 10-20% to combat resistant weeds. According to the report, growers are formulating their own mixtures and looking for new and innovative solutions from manufacturers to target resistant weeds. As a result, manufacturers are developing new formulations with multiple modes of action and products that combine with new herbicide-resistant traits that aim to combat this persistent problem. Strategic alliances and partnerships are being formed for development of these new formulations that can best solve the resistance issue.

Kline’s Crop Protection Manufacturers Report covers the 2013 marketing year for the U.S. crop protection industry. The study provides an extensive review of the sales and trends affecting the crop protection chemical industry along with extensive profiles, including individual product sales, of the leading 20 companies which supply over 97% of the total industry sales.


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