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Farmers use technology to counter low prices

Photo Courtesy of the Climate Corporation

Farmers are using technology more aggressively in times of lower prices for corn, soybeans and other crops. The reality of farming is simple: Make more money than you spend. The pathway to doing so has some long-term trends that have shown no sign of reversing. One is larger farms, another is greater efficiency of each acre and another is adoption of new technology.

Consolidation is not just happening at the farmer level, it is happening within the crop protection market as well. Big companies like DowDuPont, Pioneer, Monsanto and Syngenta are now even bigger.

A new report shows industry consolidation, investments in precision agriculture and new product introductions propelled a five-percent growth in sales for the crop protection industry in 2017. The Kline Group this week released its Crop Protection Manufacturers report, which found the increase in planted crop acreage, particularly in soybeans and cotton, helped contribute to an increase in the sales of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. 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, according to the report. The research shows that while low commodity prices force growers to look for ways to cut expenses, crop protection chemicals still maintain a strong performance in 2017, with herbicides and seed protection products showing the strongest growth.

One of the challenges of being most efficient in planting and application of crop products is the need for greater connectivity in the field.  GPS with localizers is not available in some regions of the country, but Congress promises to help.

AUDIO: Profit Matters 8-1-18