The global agritech market was estimated to be worth $19.5 billion in 2021, according to research consulting firm Spherical Insights. It’s expected to grow to $46.4 billion by 2030, a compound annual growth rate of 17.3%. This growth potential is a big reason agritech stocks have become popular with investors in recent years.
Yet, agritech stocks haven’t performed well in 2023. This is surprising when you consider the underlying companies are generating significant sales and profit growth. Given this and the ever-growing demand for food and higher crop yields, this could change.
“The worldwide agritech market is expected to experience strong revenue growth due to active government support for technological advancements in… the production of digital content and AI specialty,” Spherical Insights notes. “The most obvious technological development in agriculture has been the transition from manually operated tools like shovels and hulls made of wood to partially automated and now fully digitalized technologies that use satellite photography, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data as well as drones and other internet of things sensors.”
There are a number of exchange-traded funds focused on agritech companies, including the Global X AgTech & Food Innovation ETF (NASDAQ:KROP), which tracks the performance of the Solactive AgTech & Food Innovation Index.
For today’s list of the top agritech stocks to buy, I’ve selected three names from this fund due to its focus on technology.
|DE||Deere & Co.||$379.48|
Titan Machinery (TITN)
Titan Machinery (NASDAQ:TITN) is the ninth-largest holding of KROP with a 4.9% weighting. Founded in 1980, Titan runs a network of full-service agricultural and construction equipment stores. It currently has 74 stores in the U.S. and 35 in Europe. It represents various brands under the CNH Industrial (NYSE:CNHI) umbrella, including Case and New Holland.
The retailer’s dealerships are located in several states, including Minnesota. While there isn’t one in Fertile, Minnesota, my grandfather’s birthplace, there are three within a 30-minute drive. We’re talking about America’s breadbasket. The need for equipment will not go away in this part of the country.
In 2023, Titan Machinery generated revenue of $2.2 billion, up 29%, and record adjusted earnings per share of $4.52, up 52%.
“Our Agriculture segment was the standout performer with strong operational execution which benefited from high demand levels that are being supported by a favorable farm economy,” stated Chief Executive Officer () David Meyer in the accompanying press release.
TITN stock currently trades at just 0.3 times sales and less than 7 times trailing earnings. With shares down 22% year to date, they are inexpensive relative to potential growth.
Corteva (NYSE:CTVA) is one of this country’s leading agritech companies and the second-largest holding of KROP with a 13.1% weighting. Corteva was one of the three companies created from the breakup of DowDuPont in 2019. DowDuPont shareholders got one share of CTVA stock in June 2019 for every three shares held in the parent. CTVA stock has more than doubled since the separation, although it has stalled recently, up just 3.3% year to date.
Corteva is a pure-play agriculture company, providing seed and crop protection solutions for farmers and other growers. The company has more than 10 million customers in 140 countries worldwide.
In 2022, Corteva generated $17.9 billion in organic sales, up 15%, with operating EBITDA of $3.2 billion, up 25% and representing nearly 18% margin. All of its geographic regions saw double-digit organic growth in 2022 with the exception of the Asia/Pacific region, which saw sales improve by 9%.
The company spent $1.22 billion in research and development in 2022, up from $1.19 billion in 2021. That’s a healthy 6.8% of its overall revenue.
CTVA’s earnings yield of 2.7% is much closer to the low end of its range since going public in 2019 than the high end. It’s not cheap, but quality companies never are.
Deere & Co. (DE)
Deere & Co. (NYSE:DE) is the most recognizable name on this list of agritech stocks to buy and the 1oth-largest holding of KROP with a 4.4% weighting.
The provider of agricultural, construction, forestry machinery and related technology and services delivered healthy growth in 2022. Sales rose 19.4% to $52.6 billion with a 19.6% increase in net earnings to $7.1 billion. Yet, Deere’s share price is down nearly 11.5% YTD and 6% over the past 52 weeks.
Despite its underperformance, analysts tend to like the stock. Of the 27 covering it, 19 rate it “overweight” or “buy,” with a median target price of $484, which is 28% higher than where it’s currently trading.
In late March, Daiwa analyst Jairam Nathan initiated coverage of Deere stock with a “buy” rating and a $440 target price. According to Barron’s reporting, the analyst believes that the agriculture equipment maker will likely benefit from the digitization of agriculture. Between selling smart apps to help farmers “save money on seeds and fertilizers by tailoring applications based on more precise measurement of nutrient levels and soil quality” to its push into autonomous, self-driving combines and tractors, Deere is delivering agritech innovation that is likely to become indispensable to its customers.
Interestingly, as Deere’s revenue and profits have increased over the past three years, its valuation multiples haven’t. In 2020, it traded at 31 times earnings. Today, that’s down to 14.4. In terms of sales, it trades at 2.2 times sales, 27 basis points less than in 2020.
Buy shares today and you’ll be pleased in five to 10 years.
On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.