eBay ag business booms

Who said farmers aren't shoppers? The online company eBay reports that $20 million in agricultural equipment, tools and supplies were sold on its Web site in the past year. As a result, eBay created 32 new subcategories on www.ebaybusiness.com to help farmers find the 7,000 new agricultural listings posted on the online auction site every week.

New corn herbicide

A new corn herbicide from Bayer CropScience received EPA approval in time for the 2003 growing season. The herbicide Equip is a broad-spectrum, postemergence herbicide that controls grasses and broadleaf weeds. The active ingredients are foramsulfuron and iodosulfuron, a new herbicide. The recommended rate of Equip is 1.5 oz./acre applied with 10 to 20 gal. of water/acre.

Pioneer to offer rootworm-resistant hybrids

Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Monsanto Company have agreed to a worldwide licensing agreement to Monsanto's recently approved YieldGard Rootworm insect-protected corn technology.

Pioneer President Rick McConnell stated, “This licensing agreement allows us to provide our customers with additional new corn technology in Pioneer brand hybrids.”

According to the agreement, Pioneer will receive a royalty-bearing license to Monsanto's YieldGard Rootworm corn technology. Monsanto will receive royalties and certain other payments from DuPont.

Fiat slashes costs

Italian car and equipment maker Fiat recently laid out its plan to return to profitability by 2006. It includes cutting 12,300 jobs and slashing costs throughout the company's worldwide operations. But although the cuts will trim more than $3 billion, Fiat plans to pump more than $19.5 billion into new car research and a relaunch of its ailing car division.

It appears Fiat's Iveco truck division and CNH (Case IH and New Holland) agricultural equipment division will bear the brunt of the layoffs. Still, Fiat expects trucks and farm equipment to contribute more than half of the company's revenue next year.

Already in the streamlining process, last year CNH consolidated tractor manufacturing from North Dakota to a plant in Racine, WI, producing New Holland TG and Case IH MX tractors on the same assembly line. The company consolidated combine production for the Case IH and New Holland brands at its plant in Grand Island, NE.

“From our perspective, there is really nothing new in the Fiat announcement,” reports Jim Irwin, vice president of Case IH North American agricultural operations. “CNH is positive about the future. Three and a half cents of every dollar earned is going back into research and development for new products. There's a renewed sense of optimism from dealers and customers. I'm not hearing the negativism or concern from customers that we had two or three years ago. With our new products, a good harvest and the potential for capital investment write-offs as part of a new tax plan, I'm mildly optimistic about our growth prospects going forward.”