5 min read
By Beqa Bumbeishvili, ETF Insider


In the world of finance, particularly in the realm of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), there's a lot of attention being paid to the agricultural sector. Two ETFs have risen to the forefront in this space: CROP and DBA. Both ETFs focus on agriculture, but they have distinct features and structures that make them unique. In this article, we will delve into the CROP VS DBA debate and outline their individual characteristics, sectors they focus on, their capitalization strategies, and how they track and expose to agricultural commodities.

CROP VS DBA: Sectors and Top Holdings

CROP and DBA, though broadly focused on agriculture, have slight variations in the sectors they emphasize. CROP primarily allocates its assets to companies within the agribusiness sector. This includes producers of fertilizers, seeds, farming equipment, and even some smaller farming operations. On the other hand, DBA is structured differently. Instead of investing directly in agribusiness companies, DBA holds futures contracts on some of the most traded agricultural commodities like wheat, corn, soybeans, and sugar.
The top holdings for CROP are more aligned with agribusiness companies, while DBA's holdings mirror the performance of its underlying commodities. This fundamental difference results in DBA having more direct exposure to price fluctuations in the commodities market, while CROP's performance is more tied to the health and profitability of agribusiness firms.


CROP VS DBA: Capitalization strategy

When considering capitalization strategy, CROP and DBA differ significantly. CROP tends to be more weighted towards large-cap and mid-cap companies within the agribusiness sector. These companies usually have established businesses and stable revenue streams. The benefit here is a relatively lower volatility compared to small-cap companies. Conversely, because of its direct link to commodity futures, DBA doesn’t have a 'capitalization strategy' in the traditional sense. Instead, its performance is influenced by the movement of commodity prices, which can be highly volatile due to factors such as weather conditions, supply, demand, and global geopolitical issues.

CROP VS DBA: Tracking and Exposure

Tracking and exposure are vital factors when considering any investment. As mentioned earlier, CROP is more exposed to the performance of agribusiness companies. Therefore, if there is a positive sentiment towards this sector, or if these companies report robust earnings, CROP stands to benefit. On the flip side, any negative news or downturns in the agribusiness sector could adversely impact CROP's performance.
DBA, on the other hand, offers direct exposure to agricultural commodities. This makes it more sensitive to real-world factors like crop yields, demand-supply dynamics, or even global events affecting commodity prices. For instance, if there's a drought in a major wheat-producing region, it could drive up wheat prices, potentially benefiting DBA.
The tracking error, which is the discrepancy between the ETF's performance and its underlying index, tends to be relatively low for both CROP and DBA. However, since DBA is based on futures contracts, it may occasionally need to roll these contracts, which can introduce some degree of tracking error.


CROP and DBA, though both providing exposure to the agriculture sector, serve slightly different investment purposes. CROP offers a way to invest in agribusiness companies – firms that are integral to the global food supply chain. DBA, meanwhile, offers a more direct route to invest in agricultural commodities.
Your choice between CROP and DBA will largely depend on your investment objectives and risk tolerance. If you're looking for exposure to the agribusiness sector with a blend of large and mid-cap companies, CROP might be more suitable. However, if you wish to have direct exposure to agricultural commodity prices, then DBA would be your go-to option.
As with all investments, it's crucial to do thorough research and consult with a financial advisor before making decisions.


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