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Commodity price spike has Syngenta Crop Protection hopeful for 2011

Gil Gullickson 12/03/2010 @ 6:43pm Crops Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine/Agriculture.com

This fall’s commodity price spike bodes well for crop input companies in 2011.

Vern Hawkins, Syngenta Crop Protection president, notes the firm’s recent third quarter sale volume for this year are up 18%. “There was strong growth across all product lines,” Hawkins told agricultural media at October’s Syngenta Media Summit in San Antonio, Texas.

Commodity price spikes don’t always transfer into a banner follow-up year. In 2008, a similar euphoric price uplift occurred.

“In 2009, I think many of us hoped it would be a lot like 2008,” he says. “It wasn’t. We had a down year in 2009. Lots of us hoped it was the low. It wasn’t. It was 2010.”

The reason? Competitive pressures drove down market prices of two key inputs, fungicides and glyphosate.

Still, Syngenta officials are optimistic the recent third-quarter news combined with current strong commodity prices bodes well for 2011.

A bright side of the competitive pressures that pushed down prices of some inputs like fungicides is it enticed farmers to try such products.

“Fungicide use grew a lot this year,” he says. “

Positive farmer experience with using them, coupled with stronger commodity prices, may herald increased use and stronger sales of such inputs in 2011. 

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