Spring 2020 Agronomy Outlook: Retailers Are Adequately Prepared to Ride Out the Storm

By Kenneth Zuckerberg

March 2020

Key Points

  • Agricultural retailers are on relatively firm footing as they prepare for spring following last year’s complicated agronomy season, according to our analysis of CoBank’s proprietary borrower database.
  • The data indicates that farmer prepayments, accounts receivables, and delinquency trends reported by CoBank farm supply cooperative customers remain in line with 2018, indicating a stable-to-improved outlook for agronomy sales and services.
  • Ag retailers’ inventories of seeds, agrochemicals, and fertilizer should meet customer needs during the 2020 planting season, which is expected to see an expansion in planted corn and soybean acres.
  • Adverse weather and specifically flooding remain elevated risk factors this season with forecasts for above-average precipitation this spring, on top of already saturated soils. Agronomy sales and service could take a hit if weather once again leads to high prevented planting.
  • COVID-19’s global spread may continue to impact supply chains and the availability of certain imported crop inputs retailers rely upon in the short-term, while also potentially affecting commodity prices and farmers’ planting decisions.

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