06 October 2023, US: The USDA released a new study showing just how consolidated the seed industry in the U.S. has become, especially with corn and soybeans.
“Market concentration, and its impact on competition, has attracted growing public scrutiny,” reads the report. “Critics argue that many industries have grown too concentrated, with fewer firms competing with one another…”
Measured by the share of industry sales held by the largest firms, this concentration has increased sharply over the last four decades in the seed market. In 2018–20, according to the study, just two seed providers – Bayer and Corteva – accounted for 72 percent of planted corn acres and 66 percent of planted soybean acres in the U.S. This compares with five companies accounting for 59 percent of corn and 48 percent of the soybean acres just 20 years ago.
“Economic theory and empirical analyses demonstrate that high concentration can facilitate the exercise of greater market power, with firms driving sales prices above that would prevail in competitive markets,” the report continues.
“This goes beyond seed. It affects seed treatment and the bundling of these products in a way that limits a farmer’s local options and obscures the real cost,” commented Mitch Eviston, founder and CEO of Meristem Crop Performance. “Farmers looking for better options and value need to connect with their local Meristem dealer. We can help you get more bushels for less.”
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