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Farmers will take more care with their crops this year, agribusiness leaders say

Agriculture.com Staff 03/01/2007 @ 7:45am

TAMPA, Florida -- Heading into planting season with higher crop prices, will farmers apply more intensive management to their fields this year?

That's a question that has the attention of agribusiness leaders attending the 2007 Commodity Classic in Tampa, Florida. The annual meeting of the national corn, soybean and wheat organizations began on Thursday.

Sales of products like Poncho and Liberty have been robust this year, and indicate increased farmer interest in gearing up their technology to push yields higher, representatives of Bayer CropScience told Agriculture Online.

Charlie Hale, who works on the seed treatment product side of the company, says that two thirds to three fourths of all corn acres were planted with treated seed last year, an indication that farmers and industry are increasingly focused on adding new technology. He looks for continued growth of sales for products like Poncho this year.

"Guys are spending more for seed treatments, insecticides, and fungicides to better manage the crop," Hale said. "I think that with $4 corn, there's just a whole lot more interest in these products."

"I'm bullish on corn," says Dave Feist, corn marketing manager for Bayer. Feist says his company is looking to introduce a major new corn herbicide next year, and more products in the near future, as a way to maintain Bayer's position as a player in the growth of corn production. Feist expects a corn crop of 84 to 85 million acres this year, and one that will grow to 90 to 95 million acres in the years ahead.

Dave Case, a sales representative from Ohio, believes 2007 will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of farmers. Next year, input costs like land rents and fertilizer will "catch up" to higher crop prices, he believes.

"This is the year they will go all out," he said. Farmers are showing more interest in intensive use of inputs like micro-nutrients, plant populations, and crop scouting. "I just think they're going to make hay while the sun shines."

TAMPA, Florida -- Heading into planting season with higher crop prices, will farmers apply more intensive management to their fields this year?

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