Tempting oilseed prices are encouraging traditionally
corn-focused US farmers to seek out a technological edge in soybean production,
Plant Impact boss John Brubaker said, as the company makes its first foray into
the North American market.
Plant Impact this month launched its soybean crop-enhancement
spray Fortalis into the US market, to be sold for the upcoming summer crop campaign,
after making its first sales in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia last year.
"American farmers [have been seen as] corn growers who grow
soybeans when they can't grow corn," Mr Brubaker said. "That mind-set is
The reason for this shift is the higher returns being
offered by soybean crops, with the closely watched ratio between November
soybean futures to December corn futures in Chicago is currently at about 2.57.
A ratio above 2.5 is seen as a strong signal to start
planting soybeans, as reflected in the area forecasts released by the USDA saw
month, with forecast record-large US soybean plantings, at 88.0m acres.
And as well as encouraging larger plantings, farmers are
also ready to invest in more technical solutions for soybean crops.
"Farmers are figuring out how to make money in soybeans," Mr
Mr Brubaker said that this trend was good for input and
technology companies offering new solutions for soybeans.
"It's about making an investment in soybeans when you can't
grow corn," he said.
Swing to net-loss
Plant Impact reported rising revenues and gross profit,
thanks to rising returns from its core market of Brazil.
Revenues rose 17%, to £4.9m, assisted by a weaker pound,
while the company's gross profits rose 18% to £3.9m, over the six months to
But the company made a pre-tax loss of £984,000 over the
period, compared to a pretax profit of £185,000 in the same period a year
earlier, thanks to the higher costs during the expansion into Argentina and the
US, as well as an ongoing push into the West African cocoa sector.
The company expects costs to continue to increase, thanks to
investment in these new markets, as well as research for new products.
Plant Impact shares were down 3.5% in afternoon deals in
London, at 48.72 pence.
Plant Impact chairman David Jones will be a keynote speaker at the AgrimoneyLIVE event, taking place in London on May 23-25.