When Corteva Agriscience launched Brevant seeds in the U.S. a few years ago, the mission of this new part of the crop protection/seed giant was simple — help ag retailers better service their grower-customers with the ability to offer more complete crop input packages. And according to Ryan Myers, U.S. Brand Leader, this remains the core principle behind all of the market moves Brevant seeds has made up until now — and will continue to make going into the future.
“When I think about the potential of Brevant seeds in retail, it’s one of the greatest growth opportunities for both parties that I’ve encountered in my 24-year career,” says Myers. “Brevant seeds was launched with the thought of being completely different and bold. A lot of folks say they’re bold in the marketplace, but we took a genetic engine that hadn’t been available to retail for probably the past 95 years and gave retail that tool so they can compete fully and strongly.”
And, he adds, although this relationship with ag retailers has evolved since the group’s beginnings, the overriding goals have not changed. “The first three years of Brevant seeds were very much a proof of concept and ‘prove it’ space in the marketplace and the brand has done an outstanding job of doing that,” says Myers. “The retail world noticed it. Now that we’re seeing our retail business partners grow in the marketplace, it feels great to be winning together. With the value of our germplasm and the strength of our trait pipeline, I see a strong opportunity to grow together for the rest of my career. I don’t see a limit to that type of potential. Being able to help retail move from that trusted advisor to a trusted innovator feels good. We’re going to continue to earn that credibility and help retail grow.”
In the agricultural world of 2023, says Myers, Brevant seeds continues to build upon this ag retail relationship model to accomplish two different goals.
“The first being we want to help retailers grow their footprint and grow their seed businesses in their entirety,” he says. “We can help them do that while also growing the Brevant seeds brand. It’s exciting because we’re able to bring a whole new germplasm pool that some may not have had exposure to in the past and allow retail to compete fully in the marketplace and grow their businesses.”
The second goal is to bring more products to ag retailers to better help their grower-customer cope with new challenges in the crop fields themselves.
“As I look at the trait packages in the marketplace, we’ve been able to offer differentiation and more tools,” says Myers. “Enlist E3 soybeans and the need for a product that you can use safely and confidently out there, like the Enlist Weed Control System, are very important moving forward. I also look at the trait landscape and bringing new and improved control of corn rootworm and high yield potential. Because of the molecular stack in Vorceed Enlist Corn, our ability to maintain genetic performance, have superior control of insects and pests, and help defend yield potential is key. With the technology shifts, we’re entering an era of clear differentiation in the marketplace on traits. We’re on the cutting edge when it comes to flexibility, strong control and delivering yield potential along the way. We’re in an advantageous position and feel that we can grow rapidly because of it.”
According to Andrew “Andy” Robinson, Brevant seeds Area Product Manager, a major reason why the company is working with ag retailers even closer than in the past few years ties back to a host of emerging pests and diseases rapidly spreading across the agricultural geography of the U.S., particularly in the Midwestern states. For example, he points to Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN).
To help combat SCN, Robinson says Brevant seeds offers customers nine different varieties of seeds that use the resistant Peking trait. “These help ag retailers give their growers something to fill the gap to better manage SCN in their fields,” he says.
Another example of this aid relates to the company’s Enlist System, says Myers. While introduced into the marketplace less than a decade ago, Enlist has proven so popular with soybean growers that it now holds a 55% market share among all soybean varieties.
“For the first time in a long time, growers have clear differentiation in the traits market,” he says. “The market had been dominated by dicamba soybeans historically and when Corteva Agriscience launched Enlist E3 soybeans, it brought a whole new option to the marketplace giving growers and retailers more tools in the toolbox.”
According to Myers, the same thing is now starting to happen on the corn side. “Traditionally, everybody would use the same or similar type of traits,” he says. “As we move forward, and even in 2023, a clear signal of differentiation in the marketplace is starting to happen. The difference between Vorceed Enlist Corn and other rootworm products will be clear because of the ability to use Enlist in corn safely while maintaining that molecular stack that allows for fuller access to germplasm and genetic performance. PowerCore Enlist corn will also have the ability to use Enlist as a weed management tool. I would encourage people to step back and recognize that there is clear differentiation, more tools, more opportunity for innovation and use what they feel is best for them. With Brevant seeds as the brand that’s bringing Vorceed Enlist Corn, PowerCore Enlist Corn, as well as a very strong genetic background into retail, there are more options than ever for farmers to get the most out of their acres.”
Looking at the agricultural world of 2023-24, Myers foresees two major challenges facing the industry. The first of these, obviously, is weather — particularly extreme weather events, which have become all-too common in recent years.
“We’re experiencing more severe drought, more severe heat, and in a lot of instances, heavier than normal rainfall at times and all at once,” he says. “Being a consistent performer in the marketplace presents a challenge when you have those types of weather extremes.”
A Second Challenge
The second major challenge is economics. “While the economics of farming are currently strong, they’re changing rapidly,” says Myers. “I believe these challenges are also opportunities depending on how you rise to them. When I think about Brevant seeds and how we can help when it comes to extreme weather, having strong and diverse genetics from one of the world’s largest breeding organizations, Corteva, allows us to perform extremely well despite the growing conditions from year to year. When it comes to economic challenges, it’s important to offer a suite of products that will work across variable soils in different conditions and unique sets of needs, whether that’s conventional corn or soybeans or trait packages to really push performance.”
Overall, both Myers and Robinson agree that Brevant seeds will continue to work on expanding its product offerings to help both ag retailers and growers stay profitable for years to come.
“We’re committed to having a diverse product line-up to fit those situations and still allow growers to maximize their profits and retailers to go to their customers to sell confidently and position the best products out there,” says Myers.
Robinson agrees. “Brevant seeds was started with an eye towards building exclusive relationships with ag retailers,” he says. “That’s our direction and where we see everything we do moving in the future. There are lots of new developments coming from us in the next 10 years, and it will be key for growers to keep looking to their ag retailers for entire packages of Brevant seeds products to use in their fields.”
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