U.S. Retail Sales Top $10.1 Billion in 2015

Top25_CP_DistSince 2013, the United States’ CropLife 100 ag retailers have witnessed a rebirth in their crop protection product sales. Prior to that time, revenues for the category annually waxed and waned, but rarely kept pace with the rest of the tracked crop inputs/services that make up the CropLife 100 survey. This meant market share for the segment — which led all categories during the early 2000s — steadily dropped from the mid-40% range to less than 30% as of 2012. At this time, many market watchers predicted these percentages would fall even further as more and more crop protection chemistries were replaced primarily with a single product, glyphosate.

Yet, a funny thing happened along the way — Mother Nature fought back. Starting in the early 2000s and continuing for virtually every year thereafter, the number of weed species that developed resistance to glyphosate and other popular herbicides gradually grew. Ag retailers also saw this problem becoming more acute for their grower-customers. In the 2014 CropLife® magazine survey, 41% of respondents indicated herbicide-resistant weeds were a “major problem in many of the fields we service.” For the 2015 CropLife 100 survey, this percentage grew to 51%.

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Naturally, this increasingly difficult situation caused many grower-customers to re-evaluate their herbicide programs, adding new products to the mix in an attempt to regain weed control.

Another Strong Year
So with the weeds problem in full force, the crop protection products category as a whole has apparently benefitted. In 2013, sales for the category grew 8%. In 2014, crop protection product sales increased 9%.

For 2015, the crop protection products category led all others when it came to growth, topping $10.1 billion. Significantly, this marked the first time that the category has surpassed double-digit billions in revenue. This represented a healthy 8.6% increase from the $9.3 billion in sales the category recorded during the 2014 growing season. Better still, market share for crop protection products in the ag retail sales mix increased once again, growing from 31% in 2014 to 33%, today.

Considering the kind of year 2015 ended up being in many parts of the country, this performance by the crop protection products category was particularly impressive. For much of the spring, excessive rains in many portions of the Midwest washed out the chances for ag retailers to apply products for their
grower-customers.

Still, according to many market insiders, this meant that many of the diseases and crop pests that normally show up during the end of July or early August began appearing much sooner in the season.

So overall, sales of the three major segments of the crop protection products category — herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides — all recorded nice gains for the nation’s top ag retailers. According to the 2015 survey results, herbicides had increased sales for 63% of respondents, down from 75% in 2014.
In contrast to this, the other two segments showed revenue gains among more ag retailers than in 2014. For fungicides, 54% of 2015’s CropLife 100 ag retailers had sales increases, up from 47% the year before. Likewise, insecticide sales were up for 49% of this year’s CropLife 100 dealerships and cooperatives.

In 2014, only 45% of respondents could make this boast.

Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from our sister publication CropLife®