Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Ag Retailers Expect Flat Seed Sales in 2021, But Not From a Lack of Trait Choices

Abundant trait choices notwithstanding, the outlook for seed is somewhat muted going to 2021. The majority of respondents to the 2020 CropLife 100 survey believe seed demand this year will be flat for the three major crops — corn, soybeans, and cotton.
Based upon the annual USDA estimates, growers are expected to plant more than 90 million acres each of the two most popular row crops, corn and soybeans, during the 2021 growing season. For corn and soybeans, the views among CropLife 100 respondents are very even. According to the survey, 36% think corn acreage will grow in 2021, 44% think it will remain flat, and 20% believe it will be down. Soybeans’ split is similar — 41% up, 42% flat, and 17% down.
According to 2020 CropLife 100 survey, the seed segment’s overall sales last year dropped 2.1%, from $4.8 billion in 2019 to $4.7 billion. Seed has continued to chug along as a share of retail revenue, climbing from 9% in 2001 to 15% in 2020 among CropLife 100 retailers but has been relatively stagnant for nearly a decade.
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