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Ag inputs sales seen at good level in the US, not as good in South America

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By Marcelo Teixeira

NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) -Sales of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and crop care products have been near normal in the United States despite lower grain prices, while they are not as good in South America, according to agricultural input producers.

Executives from companies such as Mosaic, Bayer AG and Corteva said during this week's BMO Global Farm to Market Conference that U.S. farmers remain in a good financial situation following some very profitable crops, before corn and soybean prices started to fall mid-way last year, and could afford to buy products. Cc1Sc1

"It is not great, but it is not bad either," said Bob Reiter, executive vice-president, Bayer AG.

"We have price stability (in fertilizers)... North America is having a normal planting season, our inventories are moving through the channel. While affordability is not what it was

a few years ago, it is still good," said Ken Seitz, CEO for Nutrien, the world's largest potash maker.

Larger investments, such as acquisition of machines, have suffered more, they said, given current high interest rates, which are an even larger challenge for farmers in South America where rates are higher.

Seitz said that while fertilizer volumes have been moving near normal in the U.S., inventories are larger in Brazil, where he expects a slower recovery in demand, likely going into later in 2024 and into 2025.

The recent spike in grain prices due to some delays in U.S. planting and the flooding in South Brazil gave a boost to farmers, said Janine Sekulic, managing director for Agribusiness, East Region, at BMO Capital Markets.

She said U.S. farmers were very aggressive regarding selling for the last two weeks.

"We estimate that corn and soy sales rose to around 40% of the 2024 crop, based on conversations we had with partners," she said, adding that the level is mostly in line with historical averages for this time of the year.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; editing by Chizu Nomiyama


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