Sales grow 6.2% for crop protection distributors

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With growth of 6.2%, the U.S. crop protection chemical industry is projected to become an $11 billion market at the distributor cost of goods sold (COGS) level during 2013, according to the recently published report Leading Distributors in the U.S. Crop Protection Industry: A Strategic Market Analysis by global consulting and research firm Kline & Company. By tracking the leading 17 distributors, the report covers over 96% of total crop protection chemicals sales within the United States. Sales reported include both private-label crop protection chemicals and adjuvants, which include surfactants, oils, water conditioners, and drift control agents.

Among the factors shaping the value of the 2013 industry are slight increases in corn, soybean, and wheat acres planted, growing biotechnology through seed and traits, as well as consolidation.

The 2013 season began cold and wet, delaying corn and soybean planting across many major corn-producing regions.  Major crop acres planted increased by just 436,000 acres, less than 1% of the total; consequently, crop protection growth was driven by pre-season demand for herbicides, reinforced by strong concern over glyphosate-resistant weeds. Wet conditions throughout much of the United States contributed to reduced insecticide usage, but created demand for fungicides.

Distributor consolidation/expansion activity continued throughout 2013 with multiple acquisitions from both Wilbur-Ellis and Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings. Wilbur-Ellis acquired several agribusiness retailers including S&S Ag Supply, Blue River Ag Supply, Orchard Fertilizer, in addition to building a new agronomy center in Mott, ND. Pinnacle Ag Holdings, through its subsidiary Jimmy Sanders, acquired the assets of the Mayfield Grain Company, Freeman & Son Seed Company, 3-D Chemicals and Fertilizer, Mathis Farm Supply and Acuff Farm Supply. The “Big Three” national distributors—Agrium, Helena, and Winfield—have continued to follow a somewhat similar growth strategy.

Leading Distributors in the U.S. Crop Protection Industry: A Strategic Market Analysis identifies the U.S. crop protection industry as mature yet dynamic on a year-to-year basis with plenty of business opportunities for companies willing to take educated risks. Growth within this segment is being further driven by newer formulations and technology that support the highest-value crops. Biopesticide use will continue to grow as new regulations and effective use combinations with traditional chemistry are adopted.

This perennial report is written and developed as a tool for marketing professionals and executives to accurately assess the performance of the 2013 crop protection chemical market. By providing distributor COGS, the report affords industry professionals an actionable perspective of industry sales at the manufacturers’ level.

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