Due to industry consolidation, investments in precision agriculture, and new product introductions, the U.S. crop protection chemical industry experienced an interesting year in 2017.
The total crop protection market in the U.S. grew by more than 5 percent in 2017, according to the Crop Protection Manufacturers Report: A Strategic Market Analysis of the U.S. Crop Protection Industry, a recently published report by Kline.
The increase in planted crop acreage, particularly in soybeans and cotton, helped contribute to an increase in the sales of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Only plant growth regulators saw a sales decrease by 0.4 percent.
2017 is the third consecutive year with above-average yields in corn and soybeans in many areas of the Midwest, which helps offset the continuing low commodity prices impacting growers in the region. While low commodity prices force growers to look for ways to cut expenses, crop protection chemicals maintain a strong performance in 2017, with herbicides and seed protection products showing the strongest growth.
The strong, (more than 7 percent), growth of herbicides is driven mainly by the rise in hard-to-control and resistant weeds that are estimated to infest over 80 million acres of American farmland.
As a result, many growers are modifying their herbicide programs to combat these difficult weed species and are beginning to seek out a more comprehensive weed management approach.
Growers and applicators are building tank mixes that include herbicides with residual control and different modes of action. More growers are also considering herbicide applications after harvest in their weed-control programs; applications that can be an effective tool in controlling annual winter weeds, creating warmer seedbeds, and improving seed-to-soil contact.
In their quest to combat resistant weeds, growers are using new herbicide products, such as BASF’s Engenia herbicide and Syngenta’s Acuron herbicide.
"In 2017, the biopesticide segment continues to grow and establish its place among traditional crop protection chemicals,” said Kathy Hall, Project Manager at Kline. “It has become increasingly clear that companies with a biotech position will have an advantage over other manufacturers as they continue to develop and introduce new solutions for battling resistant weeds, diseases, and insect pests."
Major research-based manufacturers also experienced an unusual year in 2017. DowDuPont is created with the completion of the merger of the two industry majors, Dow Chemical and DuPont.
DowDuPont’s Agriculture Division, Corteva AgriScience, is taking over as the second-ranked crop protection company, with more than 13 percent of total U.S. crop protection sales. Throughout 2017, top-tier shuffling continues, with major deals between Monsanto, Bayer and other companies picked up spin-off product lines.
Syngenta remained the largest supplier of crop protection products in 2017, accounting for just over 15 percent of total sales in the United States.
Crop Protection Manufacturers Report: A Strategic Market Analysis of the U.S. Crop Protection Industry is a detailed independent assessment of the U.S. crop protection chemical market. The report includes 18 detailed profiles of the leading branded and generic crop protection chemical manufacturers operating in the United States.
Kline is a worldwide consulting and research firm.