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Weather, tough crop protection environment declines first-half 2010 Bayer CropScience sales

Gil Gullickson 09/10/2010 @ 2:35pm Crops Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine/Agriculture.com

Remember last winter, when many of your became sick and tired of cleaning snow out your farmyard day after day?

Well, last year’s rough winter in many parts of the United States prompted some heartburn in the corporate offices of Bayer CropScience, too. Bayer executives reported this week at its annual press conference in Monheim, Germany, that sales for Bayer CropScience declined 3% during the first half of 2010 from last year.

Friedrich Berschauer, chairman of the board of management for Bayer CropScience, notes the northern hemisphere’s long winter and heavy snowfall keyed a difficult start for its crop protection business in 2010. This was compounded by high crop protection inventories in distribution channels.

Plunging glyphosate prices and generic products in North America pressured Bayer’s herbicide sales. First-half sales of seed treatments and seed treatments also declined.

Still, Berschauer is optimistic about mid-term and long-term prospects for Bayer. Its BioScience segment, which includes its corn and soybean traits business, continued the annual double-digit percentage growth it has experienced in recent years. Despite the disappointing first-half, Berschauer notes the company’s sales have risen nearly 5% annually on average since 2002.

 He adds demand continues to rise for high quality food and animal feed, renewable energy, and plant fibers. He notes the demand for food worldwide increased by 15% between 2002 and 2008. He adds the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates approximately 70% more food will have to be produced in 2050 than today. The 29 new substances Bayer launched between 2000 and 2009 can help meet this increased demand, as can the 18 new products it plans to launch worldwide by 2016, says Berschauer.

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