The Feed business delivered strong volumes and positive earnings in 2011, while maintaining leading positions in the Livestock and Lifestyle market segments. During the year, Feed:
- Achieved a 13 percent increase in volume and margins in the Livestock Feed segment,
- Developed a new product line for small animals (hamsters, guinea pigs, etc.) that holds significant growth potential in the consumer market,
- Delivered strong performance from branded and proprietary products, and Continued business simplification, expense control and risk management efforts.
- Continued business simplification, expense control and risk management efforts.
Livestock Feed — The business benefitted from relatively strong beef, pork and dairy prices, while responding to flat or declining animal numbers and feed industry overcapacity. Volume, margins and market positions were all improved during the year.
Milk Replacers — Land O’Lakes continued as the global leader in young animal milk replacers, with such advanced products as LAND O LAKES® Cows Match® ColdFront™ and Purina Cornerstone® ColdFront™ calf milk replacers contributing to volume increases.
Lifestyle Feed — Lifestyle Feed was challenged by a soft consumer market, which affected volumes and product mix across the industry. However, positive earnings were generated, thanks to strong brand recognition, premium product development, positive customer relationships and aggressive marketing.
New Products — Feed expanded its portfolio with the launch of several well-received new products — including Healthy Edge® Senior Horse feed for adult horses; Omega 3 Layena® nutritionally enhanced poultry feed; and Ampli-Calf® Grower dairy heifer feed for calves.
Marketing — Feed took a proactive approach to marketing and promotion, including the launch of the Purina® 60-Day See The Difference Challenge, the largest marketing and public relations campaign Purina has ever undertaken. The campaign strengthened relationships with existing customers and also attracted new customers.
Growth — Going forward, Feed will pursue key growth platforms. This includes the small animal feed line; expansion of the Commercial Business Development program in Livestock Feed; the premix business; and new market-focused products and technologies. As Feed pursues growth, it will take an integrated approach, working with Dairy Foods and Winfield Solutions to capitalize on global opportunities.
SEED AND CROP PROTECTION PRODUCTS
The Winfield Solutions crop inputs business delivered strong volumes and earnings in 2011.
Crop Protection Products (CPP) volumes were up 22 percent from the previous year, while Seed volumes increased in key segments, including corn, alfalfa and inoculants. Alfalfa sales were particularly strong, driven by Roundup Ready® Alfalfa’s return to the U.S. market.
The Answer Plot® program continued its momentum, expanding to nearly 180 demonstration sites across the U.S. and Canada, with a total of more than 185 worldwide. Answer Plot® locations offer growers first-hand insights into how crop products, technologies and management practices deliver in the field.
During the year, Winfield Solutions introduced several new products and initiatives:
- The R7® Tool combines satellite imagery, weather information and data from Answer Plot® sites to allow growers to tailor crop inputs and production decisions to each field.
- The Emerald Extras Equinox Tool enables Winfield Solutions agronomists to analyze data and identify opportunities in the marketplace based on customer and market research.
- The Master Agronomy Advisor program connects agronomy experts with growers to develop customized approaches that maximize production and profitability.
A key advantage for Winfield Solutions is its Research and Development capability. This supports the development of new products, such as Ascend® (a plant growth regulator that gives crops a strong start either before or after planting); Max-In® Micronutrients (a nutritional product for crops that is absorbed more readily through the plant’s leaf); and Interlock® (an advanced adjuvant technology that improves the effectiveness of growers’ spray applications).
As Winfield Solutions pursues growth, it is investing in new technology. One of the most exciting advances is a new Wind Tunnel and Spray Particle Laser Analyzer — one of only five in the world. The equipment analyzes agriculture spray applications, providing data that helps growers meet environmental regulations.
Excellent customer service is a continuing priority for the business; in 2011, Winfield Solutions implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The system brought Seed and CPP transactions and management into a common online platform, encompassing product ordering, shipping, invoicing and inventory control.
Looking to the future, Winfield Solutions will continue to focus on customers. By providing the most innovative products, information and insights, Winfield Solutions will support cooperative and dealer businesses, as well as its own success by helping growers win in the field.