In October, I pondered whether there was agricultural angst ahead. The sector is seriously sagging -- with the curious exception of Archer Daniels Midland
I've been slowly gathering snippets from players in the space, so let's see if we can't synthesize a bit here.
The most bullish comments I'm seeing in the space are from the seeds and traits sultans like Monsanto
Engine builder Cummins
Cycling back to Lindsay, the company cited uncertain farm economics, given lower and volatile commodity prices. The firm described farmers' behavior as a deferral of equipment orders, which leaves the door open to an order boost in the following weeks. This is a very similar situation to the one described by the likes of Mosaic
Those fertilizer shops make a fair point that farmers can't hold back indefinitely. Mosaic even characterized the situation as a game of chicken. I think that may be a bit unfair, given the wobbly global economy. You can't blame anyone for being overly cautious in this environment, and given farmers' experiences with painful periods of lower crop prices during past cycles, they may have longer memories than most.
I'm afraid I don't have too definitive a conclusion here, but I would suggest that agriculturally inclined Fools keep a close eye on developments as we approach planting season. If farmers really go on a buyer's strike, business for many of the aforementioned firms will be grim. If prices stabilize, however, they may come back to the table soon.