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Los Grobo in the Media

January 31, 2018
Los Grobo: “The business of multiplying seed is to bet on doubled the supervised market”
One of the less known areas of the Los Grobo Group is its seed activity as multipliers of soybeans and wheat. They initially started as multipliers of the Biointa wheats in 2000, but it was only five years ago that they began to work hard in the area.

Today, with an annual production of around 220,000 bags of soybeans and 130,000 bags of wheat, the head of the business, Guillermo Alonso, ensures that Los Grobo is part of the exclusive club of multipliers that exceed 150,000 bags of soybeans per year. "We are one of the greatest, if not the greatest," boasts the former Nidera.

The strength of the business is centered on the Sea and Sierras area, where the plant they own in Tandil (the former UPJ) processes some 120,000 bags of soybeans and 80,000 bags of wheat. Then they have two more own plants in Jesús María and San Miguel del Monte, and then they outsource the production in Venado Tuerto, Junín, Urdinarrain and Villa María plants.

But is the multiplication of autogamous species in this regulatory context a business? The reality is that over a theoretical universe of 35 million bags of soybeans per year, formal trade represents some 7 million, or 20%. Alonso avoids defining the profitability left by multiplication today to ensure that "it is a future bet, to a more formalized market where 15 or 20 million bags of seed inspected per campaign are commercialized".

It is estimated that in the market there are about 350 cooperators or multipliers (as you prefer to call them) of which a group of 10, where in addition to Los Grobo are Pelayo Agropecuaria, La Bragandense or Tomás Hnos., Handle volumes over 150,000 bags soy. Anyway, as an example of dispersion, the participation of Los Grobo with 220,000 bags would reach only 3% of the market of controlled seed.

So, what would lead to the market taking this volume? In the conjunctural, the appearance of outstanding varieties plus quality problems in the grain are two factors that drive the demand for controlled seed. In the long term, a new legal framework (Seed Law) is the main expectation to increase business. In the interim, Alonso points out that the Intacta contracts helped formalize the demand; also, the technologies associated with the treatment of seeds collaborate, as well as the actions of INASE and the conclusion reached by the producers that the hidden costs of reserving seed end up making it more expensive than the fiscalized one.

"Today, the key to the business is to detect 18 months in advance what will be the most demanded cultivars in each area and multiply them," says Alonso. In soybeans, Los Grobo multiplies mainly varieties of Don Mario and to a lesser extent of Nidera and Bayer. In wheat they also work with Don Mario, Nidera, Bioceres and ACA, among others.

Regarding soybeans with Intacta technology (resistance to glyphosate and lepidoptera), Alonso points out that in the NOA and NEA their adoption is almost complete (90%), beginning to descend towards higher latitudes. "I would say that in the north of Córdoba adoption is around 50%, in Entre Ríos it is 40%, it goes down to 20% in the core zone and it is almost insignificant, in the order of 5%, in the province of Buenos Aires" , Explain.

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By:
Javier Preciado Patiño (Argentina)

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