Philip H. Howard

Michigan State University

Seed Industry Structure

Consolidation has increased in the international seed industry in recent decades. The chart below depicts changes in ownership involving major seed companies and their subsidiaries, primarily occurring from 1996 to 2013.1 The largest firms are represented as circles, with size proportional to global commercial seed market share.2

For an article providing more detail on earlier versions of these graphics see: Howard, Philip H. 2009. Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry: 1996–2008. Sustainability, 1(4), 1266-1287. [PDF]


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Network Animation of Changes in the Seed Industry, 1996-2008

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The "Big 6" have entered into a number of agreements to share patented, genetically engineered seed traits with each other, such as herbicide tolerance and expression of insecticidal toxins.

PDF Version of Seed Industry Structure: Cross-Licensing Agreements for Genetically Engineered Traits

1. Data revised and updated from Pioneer Hi-Bred. 2000. "Seed Industry Structure." Johnston, IA: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Competitive Intelligence Group, Marketing Department (February).
2. 2011 Market share estimates from ETC Group. 2013.
Putting the Cartel Before the Horse…and Farm, Seeds, Soil, Peasants, etc. (September).
Student research assistance provided by Corie Peterson and Daniel Herriges