For the second year in a row, CropLife Magazine surveyed its list of top ag retailers to inspect the agriculture retail business as it stands halfway through the fiscal year. In comparison to the survey responses from 2017, CropLife was excited to report that the overall projections and predictions have drastically improved.
In order to better manage a large and extensive ag retail business, CropLife once again divided their survey questions into four major product categories: crop protection products, fertilizer, custom application, and seed. Here are a few noteworthy category findings:
- Crop protection products have been performing the strongest year-over-year, growing 14% between 2016 and 2017 to top $11.4 billion.
- Fertilizer product sales were down 10% from last year, dropping from $13.5 billion in 2016 to $12.1 billion.
Political opinions from the surveyed ag retailers have also changed from last year’s survey, specifically about President Trump and several of the legislative decisions that have impacted the ag retail business. While support for the president is still the greater majority, the ag market is expecting to take a hit with trade discussions regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Mexico reportedly stalling, the possibility of an all-out tariff war with China over important agriculture exports such as soybeans and sorghum, and the continuation of the debate on the 2018 Farm Bill.
Additional agriculture market discussions that have trended from the 2017 Mid-Year Survey include various mergers with big ag business players such as ChemChina, Syngenta Crop Protection, Monsanto, and Bayer. This has left 73% of the 2018 CropLife 100 Mid-Year Survey “somewhat concerned” by all the supplier mergers and what they will mean for their businesses going forward.
Other crop field-related conversations that carried over from last year’s survey were about the continued spread of herbicide-resistant weeds. In 2017, the majority of ag business retailers believed that this was a major problem during their growing season. However, with the introduction of new herbicide options available, only 23% of ag retailers are now considering the weed spread a minor problem.
In conclusion of the 2018 Mid-Year Report, projections for sales are still trending increasingly higher this year. However, factors not discussed in the survey results indicated that 2019 will not be as successful as 2018.
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