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Canadian grain companies wary of unapproved GM crops

Canadian grain companies wary of unapproved GM crops | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Top U.S. grain companies have taken a hard line and are refusing genetically modified crops that haven’t been approved in major markets, while Canada’s grain industry remains more flexible.

So far the Canadian companies are approaching the issue on a case-by-case basis, but that could change, according to Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. The more flexible approach demonstrated how crop development companies have worked with the industry to date to address concerns, he said.

“We have a reasonably good working relationship (with crop developers) on these issues,” Sobkowich said in an interview May 13.

 

“But that being said, this issue is going to get more complicated over time. We really need to turn our minds towards how we resolve these issues… because we are really dealing with them on a case-by-case basis and we are relying on the responsible commercialization policies of the life science companies.

“They’ve been, so far, pretty good in making sure that market acceptance is in place, at least in the example of Xtend soybeans. Monsanto has been, so far, behaving in a responsible way.”
The European Union has not approved Monsanto’s new Xtend soybeans that are tolerant to both glyphosate and dicamba, giving growers more weed control options. WGEA’s members will not buy Xtend soybeans without EU approval.

Last week Reuters reported many major American grain buyers have adopted the same policy for Xtend soybeans and other GM crops to avoid conflicts with buyers. In 2013 and 2014, China blocked corn shipments from the United States containing a Syngenta GM trait called Viptera that was unapproved in China.

 

Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland each said the rejections cost them millions of dollars, and both have sued Syngenta for damages. American corn farmers are also suing Syngenta alleging its actions lowered corn prices.

Bold yellow signs from global trader Bunge are posted at U.S. grain elevators barring 19 varieties of GM corn and soybeans that lack approval in important markets, Reuters reported.

CHS, America’s largest farm co-operative, wants companies to keep seeds with new biotech traits off the market until they have full approval from major foreign buyers, Gary Anderson, a senior CHS vice-president told Reuters.

“I think that would be the safest thing for the supply chain,” he said. CHS implemented a policy last year under which it will not sell seeds or buy grain with traits unapproved by importers.

ADM is refusing GM crops that lack global approval. Cargill did not respond to Reuter’s requests for comment.

Grain companies fear commercial fallout and financial losses, but the market won’t cover segregation costs, Sobkowich said.

 

“We don’t feel that we should have to pay the segregation costs. And we don’t feel that the farmer ought to pay those segregation costs,” Sobkowich said.

Grain company concerns aren’t restricted to GM crops, he added. Shipments can be rejected if they contain traces of unapproved pesticides. That’s why farmers need to be aware of the products they use.

Grain trading would be enhanced if countries would allow the low presence of unapproved traits and pesticides so long as they have already been approved elsewhere, he added.

“If we have an LLP (low level presence policy) in countries of import then that helps us if we get an inadvertent commingle,” he said. “Then we are not out of contract or out of compliance for the country’s sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.”

 

Monsanto was so confident of European Union approval it announced in January it would commercialize Xtend soybeans this spring in the U.S. and Canada. Some American farmers have already seeded it, but Monsanto hasn’t released it in Canada and won’t ahead of EU approval, Monsanto spokesperson Trish Jordan said in an interview May 13. However, Monsanto will allow Xtend soybeans to be grown in Canada this year for propagation and trial purposes without EU approval, confident it will be approved before next spring, Jordan said.

 

And even though the WGEA has said its six members — Cargill, Louis Dreyfus Canada, Parrish & Heimbecker, Paterson GlobalFoods, Richardson International and Viterra — won’t buy Xtend soybeans without EU approval, there are Canadian farmers wanting to grow the crop, Jordan said.

“We are definitely hearing that in Ontario,” she said, adding that there are more weed-resistance issues there than in Western Canada. “It is great new technology. But it is a moot point… because we’ve kind of got this commitment worked out with the trade… that we will not move anything into a commercial position… recognizing that they are a little antsy about having stuff that could be planted that is not yet approved.”

 

Soybean planting in Manitoba doesn’t normally become widespread until this time anyway. If the EU approved Xtend soybeans this week, some would get seeded, Jordan said.

“There is a little bit of time, but not a lot more,” she said. “It is still possible I suppose… but every week that goes by (without approval) the acres of Xtend soybeans go down.”

Monsanto had expected 420,000 acres of the stacked-trait soybean to be seeded in Canada this year.

“We are not likely to be anywhere near that,” Jordan said.

“Again, obviously, clearly there is a long time before harvest. We just keep waiting and we are hopeful. It is sitting there in the final stages of sign-off with the European Commission and it doesn’t make any sense why we don’t have it (approval) right now.”

It’s unfortunate EU policies can disrupt business and delay farmers’ access to beneficial technology, she said.

Meanwhile, there is alternate Roundup Ready soybean seed available to Canadian farmers, Jordan added.

“I think switching varieties has been working OK from what I’ve heard,” she said.

 

— With files from Reuters.

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Germany's Bayer makes $62 billion offer for Monsanto

Germany's Bayer makes $62 billion offer for Monsanto | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

BERLIN -- German drug and chemicals company Bayer AG announced Monday that it has made a $62 billion offer to buy U.S.-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto.

The proposed combination would create a giant seed and farm chemical company with a strong presence in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Bayer said the all-cash offer values shares of Monsanto at $122 each. That compares with a closing price Friday of $101.52 and is 37 per cent higher than the closing price of $89.03 on May 9, the day before Bayer made a written proposal to Monsanto.

 

Bayer had said on Thursday that its executives met recently with their Monsanto counterparts "to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition" of the specialist in genetically modified crop seeds, which is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Monsanto said then that it was reviewing Bayer's proposal.

Bayer said it plans to finance the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity, the latter to be raised largely by issuing new shares. Bayer's shares, which tumbled after the initial announcement last week, dropped 3.1 per cent in early Frankfurt trading Monday to 86.78 euros ($97.37). Monsanto shares jumped 11.3 per cent to $112.98 in pre-market trading.

The German company said that it "is prepared to proceed immediately to due diligence and negotiations and to quickly agree to a transaction."

"Monsanto is a perfect match to our agricultural business," Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in a video message posted on his company's website. "We would combine complementary skills with minimal geographic overlap."

"The acquisition of Monsanto checks all the boxes in terms of strategic fit and value creation potential," he added. "At the same time, ongoing consolidation activities in the industry make this combination by far the most attractive one."

Baumann said Bayer expects the transaction to "create significant synergies" and bolster earnings in the first full year after it is completed.

Both companies are familiar brands on farms around the globe. Bayer's farm business produces seeds as well as compounds to kill weeds, bugs and fungus.

Monsanto has some 20,000 employees and produces seeds for fruits, vegetables and other crops including corn, soybeans and cotton, as well as the popular weed-killer Roundup.

Bayer, headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, employs some 117,000 people worldwide.

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Bayer offre 62 milliards US pour acheter Monsanto

Bayer offre 62 milliards US pour acheter Monsanto | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Le groupe allemand Bayer a montré lundi qu'il était prêt à ouvrir en grand son portefeuille pour mettre la main sur Monsanto, malgré la réputation sulfureuse en Europe du fabricant américain de semences OGM et de pesticides.

Soixante-deux milliards de dollars américains (81 milliards de dollars canadiens), soit environ 55 milliards d'euros. C'est l'énorme prix que Bayer met sur la table. Le succès de cette fusion en ferait la plus grosse acquisition d'un groupe étranger par une entreprise allemande, loin devant celle à quelque 36 milliards de dollars américains de Chrysler par Daimler à la fin des années 90.

Un géant mondial des pesticides, engrais et semences naîtrait de ce rapprochement entre Bayer, dont les pesticides dits « tueurs d'abeilles » sont décriés par certains, et Monsanto, également fabricant du controversé pesticide Roundup.

« Cette transaction représente une énorme opportunité pour les actionnaires de Monsanto », a promis, lors d'une conférence téléphonique, le patron de Bayer, Werner Baumann, qui est aux manettes du chimiste allemand depuis seulement le début du mois.

 

En proposant 122 dollars américains par action Monsanto, Bayer leur fait miroiter une prime de 37 % par rapport au cours de début mai, avant que l'offre ne soit faite.

Le tout nouveau patron de Bayer a dévoilé la tenue, entre les deux groupes, « de discussions à de multiples occasions ces dernières années ». « Nous sommes fermement convaincus que c'est la combinaison des deux activités qui tire le meilleur de leur valeur », a assuré Werner Baumann.

Mauvaise réputation

Outre un prix cher à payer, Bayer semble prêt à affronter la réputation difficile de Monsanto, souvent perçu comme « le méchant des OGM » en Europe et combattu par de nombreuses ONG.

Aux États-Unis et en Amérique latine, les semences génétiquement modifiées de Monsanto sont très largement cultivées dans les champs de maïs ou de soja.

« Nous pensons que nous pouvons gérer la réputation de Monsanto [...]. Nous savons que nous devons nous occuper de manière décisive de ce point », a affirmé le patron de Bayer, interrogé par l'AFP, mettant en avant « la très très forte réputation » de son propre groupe, notamment en Allemagne.

« Nous respectons tout ce que Monsanto a à mettre sur la table », a-t-il poursuivi, promettant « responsabilité, transparence et franchise ».

M. Baumann n'hésite surtout pas à justifier un tel rapprochement par le défi de nourrir une population mondiale toujours croissante dans les décennies à venir.

Pour Peter Spengler, analyste chez DZ Bank, c'est surtout pour Bayer « une chance, qui n'arrive qu'une fois dans sa vie, de dominer le marché agricole mondial », avec plus de 23 milliards d'euros de ventes combinées.

« Confiant » sur le financement

Monsanto n'a pas réagi aux détails de l'offre de Bayer. Quand la proposition avait été confirmée jeudi dernier, sans détails, le groupe de Saint-Louis, dans le centre des États-Unis, avait juste confirmé avoir reçu cette « offre non ferme et non sollicitée » de Bayer et l'étudier sans qu'il n'y ait « aucune certitude qu'une transaction ait bien lieu ».

Face à des prix faibles de matières premières, le secteur mondial de la chimie est agité par une consolidation à grande échelle, à l'instar des fusions en cours des américains Dow Chemical et DuPont et du chinois ChemChina avec le suisse Syngenta, un temps courtisé par Monsanto.

Déjà très lourdement endetté, Bayer se dit pourtant « hautement confiant » dans sa capacité à financer un tel rachat, en alourdissant encore sa dette et faisant racheter certaines de ses actions.

En avalant Monsanto, Bayer espère réaliser, au bout de trois ans, environ 1,5 milliard de dollars d'économies et enregistrer une hausse de son bénéfice par action d'environ 5 % la première année et d'au moins 10 % les suivantes.

Un plan financier visiblement pas totalement convaincant pour les investisseurs puisqu'à la Bourse de Francfort, l'action Bayer, déjà fortement attaquée jeudi dernier, perdait encore 2,66 % à 87,16 euros peu avant 8 h 30 GMT (4 h 30, heure de l'Est).

« L'aspect financier semble gérable, ce qui rassure un peu le marché. [...] Néanmoins Monsanto doit encore réagir et un relèvement de l'offre ne peut pas être exclu à ce stade », a expliqué Marietta Miemietz, analyste chez Equinet.

Comme l'offre en est encore à ses prémisses, Bayer n'a pas voulu s'avancer davantage sur les conséquences en matière d'emploi de la fusion ou le nom du futur groupe qui sera basé à Monheim (ouest de l'Allemagne). Et bien sûr, il n'a pas voulu dire s'il était prêt à payer encore davantage.

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Monsanto suspends new soybean technologies in Argentina

Monsanto suspends new soybean technologies in Argentina | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

May 17 Monsanto Co said on Tuesday it would suspend future soybean technologies in Argentina, a move that could limit output of the country's main cash crop, after a disagreement with the government over inspections of genetically modified soybeans.

The dispute blew up after Monsanto asked Argentine exporters to inspect soybean shipments to ensure growers had paid royalties for using the company's products. The Argentine government told the world's largest seed company that such inspections must first be approved by the government.

The U.S. company issued a statement saying it was "disappointed" that talks with the Argentine government had not yielded an agreement on the inspection issue.

"The company plans to take measures to protect its current assets and will suspend launching any future soybean technologies in the country," Monsanto said in the statement.

Argentina, the world's No. 1 exporter of soymeal livestock feed, relies heavily on Monsanto's genetic technology to produce soybeans.

A spokeswoman for Argentina's agriculture ministry said the country's rules regarding soybean inspections were designed "to guarantee free trade and property rights."

"If they (Monsanto) feel threatened, that's their prerogative," said the ministry spokeswoman.

Soy farming has spread rapidly across Argentina's Pampas agricultural belt over the last 20 years, thanks in large part to the country's embrace of genetically modified seeds. The technology makes soy plants resistant to glyphosate herbicide, which kills most of the weeds that grow in Argentina.

The pullout by Monsanto leaves Argentine growers without the company's new "Xtend" technology, aimed at increasing soy yields and controlling glyphosate-resistant broad leaf weeds. Pedro Vigneau, who farms 1,500 hectares in the bread basket province of Buenos Aires, said no other company offered the same technology that Xtend would provide.

"This is not good news for us," said Vigneau. "We need the company and the government to reach an agreement in order to obtain the best technology we can get."

Argentina last month issued a decree saying the government must authorize any grain inspection, dealing a blow to Monsanto's push for exporters to check cargoes.

Monsanto has pressured shipping companies to notify it when crops grown with its technology are slated for export without documentation showing royalties had been paid.

Argentina, the world's third biggest exporter of raw soybeans, is expected by the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange to harvest a 56-million-tonne crop this year. The estimate was cut from a previous forecast of 60 million tonnes due to floods that hit key farm areas in April.

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Genetically modified crops do not add to human health risks, study says

Genetically modified crops do not add to human health risks, study says | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Foods produced from genetically engineered crops do not pose additional health risks to humans compared with conventionally bred foods, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says in a new report.

"Patterns of change in cancer incidence in the United States and Canada are generally similar to those in the United Kingdom and western Europe, where diets contain much lower amounts of food derived from [genetically engineered] crops, according to the report.

Another source of debate over GMOs recently has concerns about the safety of the glyphosate weed killer; the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said in a report yesterday that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic.

Relevant tickers include MONDDSYT.

Separately, MON says it is temporarily suspending operations in Burkina Faso after the African country’s government moved to stop production of genetically modified cotton.

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Net.Nexus's curator insight, May 18, 11:50 AM

Neste link http://www.nap.edu/read/23395/chapter/1, a íntegra do documento publicado pela Academia Nacional de Ciências dos Estados Unidos.

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No dicamba use allowed on RR2X soybeans in 2016 

No dicamba use allowed on RR2X soybeans in 2016  | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

ST. LOUIS — Monsanto and many of its licensees are commercializing Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (RR2X) soybeans this spring, and farmers may have ordered or planted RR2X seed.

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are new biotech soybeans that are tolerant to both dicamba and glyphosate herbicides. While RR2X soybeans have been approved for import into China and other major U.S. soy export markets, final approval in the European Union (EU) is expected soon but still pending.

Check with elevator

Recently the American Soybean Association issued a reminder to growers that, because RR2X soybeans still lack import approval into the EU, many grain elevators, soybean processors and other first purchasers have issued notices stating they will not accept RR2X soybeans this fall. Final approval by the EU Commission has been expected for the past few months, is expected soon and before harvest, but cannot be guaranteed.

The American Soybean Association, U.S. Soybean Export Council, and others have been working with both EU and U.S. government officials to press for approval of RR2X and other pending new biotech soybean traits. Chinese import approval of RR2X soybeans was obtained in February, and approvals in other major export markets has also been obtained.

No dicamba use

Growers also should be aware that while RR2X soybeans are tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides, no dicamba herbicides will be approved for use on RR2X soybeans during the 2016 growing season.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed a draft label for a dicamba product to be used with RR2X soybeans, and this draft label, as well as anticipated labels for low-volatility dicamba herbicide formulations will NOT be finalized until late this summer or fall. Any use of a dicamba herbicide on RR2X soybeans in-season during 2016 before final labels are approved by EPA and state officials would be a violation of law.

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crude +1.00$ again

crude +1.00$ again | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

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Bayer Said to Explore Bid for $40 Billion Seed Company Monsanto

Bayer Said to Explore Bid for $40 Billion Seed Company Monsanto | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and farm chemicals, according to people familiar with the matter.

The German firm has held preliminary discussions internally and with advisers about buying Monsanto, which has a market value of about $43 billion, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.

Bayer, which is valued at about 79 billion euros ($90 billion), has discussed how to finance a deal including potential asset sales, the people said. No final decision has been made and the Leverkusen-based company could decide against a bid or pursue other transactions with Monsanto, including joint ventures or asset sales, the people said.

Representatives for Bayer and Monsanto declined to comment. For a quick wrap of analyst commentary about Monsanto today and what it could be worth, click here.

Putting the world’s largest seed maker together with the German company that invented aspirin would bring together brands such as Roundup, Monsanto’s blockbuster herbicide, and Sivanto, a new Bayer insecticide lethal to aphids and whiteflies but not to bees, as well as seeds for crops ranging from corn to sugar cane.

Such a deal would face regulatory scrutiny amid an unprecedented wave of consolidation in the crop-chemicals industry. Government regulators globally have nixed more than $20 billion in deals this week, including CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.’s bid to buy Telefonica SA’s O2 wireless carrier in the U.K. and the merger of Staples Inc. and Office Depot Inc.

Regulatory Scrutiny

In crop chemicals, competition authorities are investigating the $130 billion merger between Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co., while national security officials in the U.S. are weighing China National Chemical Corp.’s bid to acquire Syngenta AG of Switzerland for $43 billion.

 

A Monsanto-Bayer combination isn’t likely to raise significant antitrust hurdles because there’s little overlap in the companies’ products, according to analysts and legal experts.

"From the antitrust side, I don’t think there’ll be many issues," said Lutz Krafft, a senior adviser at consulting firm ChemAdvice GmbH who once worked at Bayer.

Previous Talks

Monsanto rose 9.2 percent to $98.65 at 12:23 p.m. in New York after news about Bayer’s interest and a report from StreetInsider late yesterday that BASF SE is working with advisers to explore a takeover offer. The shares earlier rose as much as 12 percent, the largest gain since 2009. Bayer shares fell 4.9 percent to 95.15 euros in Frankfurt, the biggest decline since December.

St. Louis-based Monsanto has explored possible deals with Bayer as well as German competitor BASF, people familiar with the matter said in March. Bayer and Monsanto have discussed a number of options from a full combination to the German firm selling all or part of its crop sciences business, as well as joint ventures, the people said at the time. When Bayer raised the idea of a full takeover of Monsanto in March, the U.S. firm said it was not interested in selling, and it sees itself as more of an acquirer, two of the people said this week.

If Bayer goes ahead with a bid, it would raise pressure on BASF to consider an offer, the people said. A spokeswoman for Bayer declined to comment on potential deals.

Farm Income

Monsanto is grappling with a global slump in agricultural commodities after its offer to buy Syngenta for about $46.2 billion was spurned last year. Sales in the quarter ending in February declined 13 percent from a year earlier to $4.53 billion. Corn and soybean prices fell in the last three calendar years, cutting net farm income in the U.S. and hurting demand for everything from tractors to weedkiller.

A deal with Bayer would help the company reduce its reliance on the agriculture industry, while Monsanto would strengthen Bayer’s seed business, one of the company’s priorities. Bayer said last month that it planned to introduce new genetically modified soybean seeds in Brazil to challenge Monsanto’s dominance.

For Bayer, the talks come as the company is transitioning to new leadership. Strategy head Werner Baumann took over from CEO Marijn Dekkers this month. Dekkers reshaped Bayer, increasing its focus on life sciences by buying Merck & Co.’s over-the-counter medicines business and divesting a stake in its plastics unit.

Bayer’s market value has almost doubled since Dekkers took the helm at the end of 2010 as the 152-year-old company sold more prescription drugs for eyes and hearts and added consumer brands like Claritin.

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Loonie Slumps as Record Trade Gap Undercuts Canada Recovery Bets

Loonie Slumps as Record Trade Gap Undercuts Canada Recovery Bets | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Harsh economic reality has caught up with the Canadian dollar’s surge. The loonie is suffering its steepest two-day slide in 15 months as the country’s trade deficit widened to a record in March, fueling concern over the economy’s rebound.

The currency fell 1.1 percent to C$1.2862 per U.S. dollar as of 12:24 p.m. in Toronto, following a slump of 1.5 percent Tuesday. The declines pared the currency’s gain this year to 7.6 percent, dropping it to the third-best-performer among Group-of-10 peers, after the yen and the Norwegian krone.

“The Canadian dollar isn’t helped by awful trade figures,” said Adam Cole, head of global foreign-exchange strategy at Royal Bank of Canada in London, who expects the loonie to weaken to C$1.33 by the end of 2016. “It’s starting to call into question the rebalancing story that many have bought into recently.”

 

The reversal in the Canadian dollar comes after a rebound in oil and signs of a recovery in the nation’s economy sent the currency as much as 16 percent higher after it reached a 13-year low in January. Further pressuring the loonie, the greenback has gained against major peers the past two days as expectations of U.S. interest-rate increases began to seep back into the market.

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit unexpectedly widened to a record C$3.41 billion ($2.68 billion) in March, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. The surplus with the U.S., which consumes about three-quarters of Canada’s exports, shrank to C$1.53 billion, the narrowest since 1993.

The figures all but erased growing bets for Canadian monetary tightening this year, with overnight index swaps showing almost a 20 percent probability of an interest-rate cut. That’s a turnaround from last week, when the swaps showed a higher probability of rate increases.

One loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known for the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin, buys about 77.70 U.S. cents. Crude oil futures gained in New York, trading at $43.80 a barrel.

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Weak fertilizer outlook prompts producers to cut profit hopes

Weak fertilizer outlook prompts producers to cut profit hopes | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

North American fertilizer producer Agrium, has lowered its full year guidance, citing a "challenging price environment" for the crop nutrient sector.

The move follows a similar downgrade by Potash Corp, North America's

Both companies are involved in make-or-break discussion with Chinese potash buyers to price their supplies for 2016, in an unusually protracted round of negotiations which will set the tone for potash markets this year.

Challenging environment

Agrium trimmed its ideas of full year earnings per share to C$5.25-6.25, compared to early estimates of C$5.50-7.00 a share.

"We have lowered the guidance range due to a challenging pricing environment for all nutrients and expectations for a stronger Canadian dollar," Agrium said.

"A number of factors combined to pressure the North American potash market," Agrium said, citing a glut of supply after low applications at the end of last year, and high imports from overseas in 2015.

Brazilian potash demand so far this has been a "positive surprise" Agrium said, but the uncertain political and economic situation there will remain a source of uncertainty for the market over the rest of the year.

China negotiations ongoing

Agrium is a member of the North American potash cartel Canpotex, which is currently in negotiations with China over the price for potash in 2016.

These negotiations are hugely influential in global potash markets, as they are one of number of major deals between selling and buying cartels as a benchmark for other supply contracts.

But the system has been in turmoil, following the collapse of BPC, a similar cartel between Russian and Belarussian producers, in 2013.

The negotiations, which until the collapse of BPC were usually completed in January or February, have been more protracted every year, and some have even suggested that Chinese buyers may refuse to sign a Canpotex deal this year.

Agrium said the ongoing negotiation "continues to add uncertainty to the global potash market".

"Chinese import volumes will be an important driver of the potash market in the second half of 2016".

Potash Corp trims expectations

Last week Potash Corp, another member of Canpotex and North America's largest potash producer, cut its forecast for full-year earnings per share to 60-80 cents, compared to an earlier forecast of 90-120 cents.

Potash Corp also reduced its forecast sales volumes, which slumped in the first three months of 2016.

Potash Corp boss Jochen Tilk told reporters that the danger of China failing to sign a deal was very slim, but was unclear on when the agreement would come.

Earnings fall

On Tuesday Agrium reported net earnings at $2m over the first three months of 2016, down from $12m a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were 5 Canadian cents a share, a cent below analyst expectations.

Agrium's total sales fell by 5%, to $2.72bn.

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Rising CO2 levels threaten bees

Rising CO2 levels threaten bees | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have reduced protein in goldenrod pollen, a key late-season food source for North American bees, a Purdue University study shows.

Researchers found that the overall protein concentration of goldenrod pollen fell about one-third from the onset of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the 21st century.

Previous studies have shown that increases in carbon dioxide can lower the nutritional value of plants such as wheat and rice — staple crops for much of the global human population — but this study is the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees.

“Bee food is less nutritious than it used to be,” said Jeffrey Dukes, study co-author and professor of forestry and natural resources and biological sciences. “Our findings also suggest that the quality of pollen will continue to decline into the future. That’s not great news for bees.”

Native bee species and honeybees rely on flowering plants for energy and nutrition. While nectar is the primary energy source for bee colonies, pollen is the sole source of protein for bees. Pollen is essential for the development of bee larvae and helps maintain bees’ immunity to pathogens and parasites.

Food Before Winter

Goldenrod, a common North American perennial that blooms from late July through October, offers bees some of the last available pollen before winter. Bees that overwinter must store substantial amounts of pollen to rear their winter young.

Declines in pollen protein could potentially threaten bee health and survival and weaken bees’ ability to overwinter on a continental scale, said Jeffery Pettis, study co-author and research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

“A poor diet sets bees up for failure,” he said. “Previous research shows bees have shorter lifespans when fed lower quality pollen.”

The researchers noted, however, that this study only assessed pollen protein levels and did not look at the impact of protein reductions on bee health and populations.

“Our work suggests there is a strong possibility that decreases in pollen protein could contribute to declines in bee health, but we haven’t yet made that final link,” said Dukes, who also is director of the Purdue Climate C hange Research Center housed in Discovery Park.

Dukes collaborated with a team led by USDA-ARS researchers to examine protein levels in historical and experimental samples of goldenrod pollen.

They found that pollen protein levels dropped about a third in samples collected from 1842-2014, a period during which the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere rose from about 280 parts per million to 398 ppm. The greatest drop in protein occurred during 1960-2014, a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose dramatically.

A two-year controlled field experiment that exposed goldenrod to a gradient of carbon dioxide levels from 280 to 500 ppm showed strikingly similar decreases in pollen protein, Dukes said.

“These data provide an urgent and compelling case for establishing CO2 sensitivity of pollen protein for other floral species,” the researchers concluded in their study.

Bees provide a valuable service to U.S. agriculture through pollination, contributing more than $15 billion in added crop value each year.

Other Threats

But a number of new and mounting pressures are crippling colonies and endangering bee populations. These threats include emerging diseases and parasites such as deformed wing virus, Varroa mites and Nosema fungi; a lack of diversity and availability of pollen and nectar sources; and exposure to pesticides.

From 2006 to 2011, annual losses of managed honeybee colonies averaged about 33 percent per year, according to the USDA-ARS.

“Bees already face a lot of factors that are making their lives hard,” Dukes said. “A decline in the nutritional quality of their food source going into a critical season is another reason to be concerned.”

Elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide — a building block for plant sugars — have allowed many plants to grow faster and bigger. But this growth spurt can dilute plants’ total protein, rather than concentrating it in the grain, resulting in a less nutritious food source.

Slowing the degrading effects of rising carbon dioxide levels on plant nutrition hinges on reducing carbon emission rates from deforestation and burning fossil fuels, Dukes said.

“The impact of carbon emissions on the nutritional value of our food supply is something people need to be aware of,” he said. “This issue isn’t just relevant to honeybees and people — it will probably affect thousands or even millions of other plant-eating species around the world. We don’t yet know how they’ll deal with it.”

The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B .

Researchers from Williams College, the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Maryland also co-authored the study.

The work was funded by the USDA-ARS.

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Digital farming could spell shake-up for crop chemicals sector

Digital farming could spell shake-up for crop chemicals sector | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Global pesticides, seeds and fertilizer companies may be forced to re-engineer their business models as farmers adopt specialist technology that helps maximize harvests while reducing the use of crop chemicals.

New businesses are springing up that promise to tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilize or pick crops based on algorithms using data from their own fields.

Their emphasis on reducing the use of chemicals and minerals known as farming inputs is a further challenge for an industry already struggling with weak agricultural markets worldwide.

"If our only goal is to sell as much inputs as possible by the liters of chemicals, I think we would have a real problem going forward," said Liam Condon, head of Crop Science at Bayer (BAYGn.DE), the world's second-largest pesticides supplier.

Bayer bought proPlant, a developer of software for plant health diagnostics, earlier this year. Rivals are also investing in digital farming with the aim of generating service revenues that could offset any future drop in chemicals volumes.

"If you only spray half of the field that's much less inputs," Condon added. "The knowledge to get to the fact that you only spray that part of the field -- that, you can sell."

After an aborted takeover move for Syngenta (SYNN.S), U.S. seeds giant Monsanto (MON.N) says data science and services are the "glue that holds the pieces together" of its strategy for future growth.

Monsanto's $1 billion purchase in 2013 of the Climate Corporation, which analyses weather conditions, was the digital farming sector's biggest deal to date.

DuPont (DD.N) is investing in digital farm management services under its Encirca brand, which it said in March had customers representing more than 1 million acres of farmland.

Monsanto's failed swoop on Syngenta triggered a bout of M&A activity that has left the global seeds and pesticides industry in turmoil. The sector has annual sales of more than $100 billion, while fertilisers are worth around $175 billion.

Dow Chemical (DOW.N) and DuPont (DD.N) are set to merge in the second half of this year while state-owned ChemChina agreed a takeover of Syngenta in February.

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Corn-Fed Crocodiles Make Better Handbags

Corn-Fed Crocodiles Make Better Handbags | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Padenga Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest supplier of Nile crocodile skins for luxury handbags and shoes, is seeking to boost profitability by feeding the aquatic reptiles a corn-rich diet and allowing them more space to grow.

The diet and larger pens will help the crocodiles grow faster and improve the quality of their hides, Oliver Kamundimu, Padenga’s finance director, said in an interview last week in the northern Zimbabwe lakeside town of Kariba, where the company is based and close to where its farms are located. The downside for the crocodiles is that they will be slaughtered after two and a half years rather than three, he said.

“For the next year to 18 months our focus is to expand the facility, without drastically expanding the volumes,” Kamundimu said. The crocodiles “are fed pellets of fishmeal, vitamins, minerals and corn. It’s worked well for us with improved growth rates and happier crocs.”

Prada Handbags

Padenga slaughtered more than 46,000 crocodiles from its farms in northern Zimbabwelast year to meet demand for the skins worldwide. The company’s biggest market for hides is Italy, the home of luxury goods makers including Prada Spa, which sells a crocodile and python-skin handbag for 2,900 pounds ($4,098). Padenga’s sales of crocodile meat in Europe surged by 25 percent in 2015, helping the company to boost profit.

Padenga competes with crocodile farms in Zambia and South Africa, where reared crocodiles are often fed chickens.

Padenga also has an alligator farm operation in Texas, where output halved last year because the company deferred culling to improve the quality of the hides.

 
 

Padenga accounts for 85 percent of the supply of Nile crocodile skins to luxury brands worldwide, according to its website. Nile crocodiles, native to Africa, can grow to about 6 meters (20 feet) in length and weigh as much as 900 kilograms (1,984 pounds).

The company’s net income for 2015 rose to $7 million from $6.4 million the year before. Its share price on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has fallen 19 percent this year to 7 cents, giving it a market value of $38 million. The company may expand into Zambia, Kamundimu said.

“We’re somewhat lucky in that our business is almost 100 percent foreign export, so we’re not affected by Zimbabwe’s weaknesses,” Kamundimu said, referring to an economic crisis that has seen the country’s economy shrink by about half since 2000.

 

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Bayer confirms US$62 billion cash offer for Monsanto

Bayer confirms US$62 billion cash offer for Monsanto | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it
Frankfurt | Reuters -- German drugs and chemicals group Bayer AG said it had made an offer to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for US$122 per share in cash, or a total value of $62 billion including debt, to create the world's biggest agricultural supplier. Bayer said on Monday that the proposal made to Monsanto's management represented a 37 per cent premium over the closing price of Monsanto shares on May 9, before rumours of a planned bid emerged. Monsanto disclosed last week that Bayer had made an unsolicited takeover offer for the group, triggering an investor backlash in which one of the German company's major shareholders called the move "arrogant empire-building." Bayer said it planned to finance the deal with a combination of debt and equity, primarily via a rights offering. Equity would account for about a quarter of the deal value. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said Monday the proposed bid reflected Monsanto's full…
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2016 Yield Distributions for U.S. Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat Using Historical WASDE May Forecast Errors

2016 Yield Distributions for U.S. Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat Using Historical WASDE May Forecast Errors | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it
Arguably the most watched early season forecast of U.S. crop yields is the May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The May 10, 2016 WASDE contained forecasts for 2016 U.S. corn, soybean, and wheat yields of 168, 46.7, and 46.7 bushels per harvested acre, respectively. While these so-called point forecasts are important, the distribution of potential yields is just as important. As with point estimation, many methods exist to forecast yield distributions. This article takes a simple approach of using past May WASDE forecast errors. No claim is made that this forecast is superior only that it is easily constructed utilizing past performance of a widely followed, publicly available forecast.
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Takeover talk by rival 'wild speculation': Monsanto executive | Reuters

Takeover talk by rival 'wild speculation': Monsanto executive | Reuters | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it
Talk of a takeover of Monsanto Co (MON.N) by rivals Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) or BASF SE (BASFn.DE) is "wild speculation," and Monsanto is staying focused on its own strategy, president and chief operating officer Brett Begemann said on Wednesday.
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Philippine corn prices up on El Niño

Philippine corn prices up on El Niño | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

 

Philippine corn prices up on El Niño
[16 May 2016]
 Average farm price of local yellow corn in the Philippines is now at USD 0.32/kg from only USD 0.27/kg about two weeks ago. The rise in price has been blamed on the drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon, which continues to hit major corn production areas in the country, affecting yield and supply. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, corn production in Q1 is likely to only reach only 2.1 million tonnes, 12.4% below the year ago figure, as both harvest area and yield are also seen to drop. The government estimates that corn farmers have already lost some USD 60 million from the dry spell.
 
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Former “Soy King”, Blairo Maggi, Named as Brazil’s Agriculture Minister

Former “Soy King”, Blairo Maggi, Named as Brazil’s Agriculture Minister | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it
With the suspension of Dilma Rousseff as president of Brazil, so arrives Blairo Maggi, the Soy King, at the Agriculture Ministry. Maggi has pledged not to change much. In truth, the impact of the new government depends on its ability to tame the current economic crisis.
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Are We On The Brink Of An Agricultural Boom?

Are We On The Brink Of An Agricultural Boom? | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Summary

 

WASDE boosts beans.

Corn and wheat to follow.

Weather and demographics will determine prices.

Brazil is a huge producer, and they are in trouble.

New highs will come for grains.

 

One of the many things that all people around the world have in common is that we all need to eat. Each year is a new adventure in the agricultural commodity markets as it always brings a new set of crops. Farmers around the world plant seed in the spring season; the crops grow during the summer months, and harvest comes each fall. Along the way, Mother Nature takes the reins. Good weather and no crop diseases or infestation cause a bumper crop. That is what we have seen over the past three years, huge supplies. The crops were so big in 2013, 2014 and 2015 that inventories have grown to record levels in all of the three major grains. Over those years, prices moved lower as supply was more than enough to meet demand.

However some years, Mother Nature does not cooperate, and shortages develop. The nasty drought of 2012 caused supply shortages and the prices of corn and soybeans to rise to all-time highs. Wheat rose as well, but it was in 2008 that the grain that is the basic ingredient in bread rose to its all-time high above $13 per bushel. The wheat shortage was so severe that it led to riots in Tunisia that lit the fuse for the Arab Spring that brought political change to North Africa and the Middle East. Wheat has always been a political commodity in that sense; revolutions caused by bread shortages are common throughout the pages of history.

Each month, the United States Department of Agriculture issues its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. This report offers data and projections as to the fundamental state of agricultural markets in the U.S. and around the world. The report is particularly important for the corn and soybean markets. The U.S. is the world's number one producer, and exporter of both grains and the USDA data is robust. Of course, the weather is always an uncertainty at this time of the year, but the May through September reports are usually the most important when it comes to their effect on the prices of agricultural commodities. Last week, on May 10, the USDA released its WASDE for May, and the result was fireworks in one of the grain markets. While inventories of all agricultural commodities remain high, there are some signs that we could be on the verge of an agricultural boom as prices had fallen to breakeven levels for many farmers over recent months.#

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Monsanto rockets higher as Bloomberg reports Bayer considering bid

Monsanto rockets higher as Bloomberg reports Bayer considering bid | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) now +17.7% premarket as Bloomberg reports that Bayer (OTCPK:BAYZF, OTCPK:BAYRY) is exploring a $40B takeover bid for the company.

Bayer has held preliminary discussions internally and with advisers about how to finance a deal, including potential asset sales, according to the report.

MON already was moving higher after StreetInsider reported interest in the company from BASF (OTCQX:BASFY).

A deal would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and farm chemicals, and boost Bayer and MON amid a wave of consolidation in the industry after Dow Chemical and DuPont announced last year plans to combine operations in a $130B deal while ChemChina agreed in February to buy Syngenta for $43B.

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Brazil's 2016 Corn Crop Size Continues To Fall | Successful Farming

Brazil's 2016 Corn Crop Size Continues To Fall | Successful Farming | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

SAO PAULO, Brazil-- The dry weather and lack of rainfall during grain-fill has reduced projections for Brazil’s winter corn crop, known as safrihna. Recently, AgRural Agricultural Commodities, a private analyst firm, reduced the winter corn production forecast to 48.9 million metric tons, down 10% from last month's figures and 10.5% lower than 2015 production.

According to the consultancy, rains returned in some areas at the end of April, but arrived too late for most farms. With a planted area of 9.990 million hectares (24.685 million acres), estimated yield is 82.3 bags per hectare (73.42 bushels per acre), 13.6% down year-on-year. “If the dry weather continues, further reductions are likely for early June, particularly in areas planted later,” stated AgRural.

 

PRODUCERS AWAIT RAIN TO SAVE CROPS IN MATO GROSSO

The state of Mato Grosso planted 20% of winter corn late, in March, after the ideal planting window. Mato Grosso recorded scant rainfall in April, and the estimated average yield of winter corn has been reduced from 99 to 85 bags per hectare (88.32 to 75.83 bushels per acre). According to Endrigo Dalcin, president of Aprosoja-MT, the drought continues and the volume of rainfall was insufficient for good development of the crops. “We shall have significant loss of harvest,” said Dalcin.

In Sorriso, in the mid-north region, crops planted after February 20 have potential yields of 60 to 70 bags (53.53 to 62.45 bushels per acre), with some areas producing 100 bags (89.21 bushels per acre). In Campo Novo do Parecis, in the western portion of Mato Grosso, the grain planted up to February 15 should produce 90 to 120 bags (80.29 to 107.06 bushels per acre), but crops planted up to March 10 will likely yield only 65 bags (57.99 bushels per acre).

Related News: Argentina, not U.S. Makes Up Bulk of Brazil's Corn


In Lucas do Rio Verde (MT), one of the main grain-producing regions of Mato Grosso, lack of rainfall is causing concern for producers. According to Carlos Simon, president of the Farming Union of the city, the soybean harvest has been hit by the drought affecting the State this harvest, and the situation for winter corn is uncertain. “If it fails to rain in the next five days, losses will be even greater,” said Simon. The situation affects the group of producers in the region, who are expecting lower income compared with the previous harvest.

In the mid-west and southeast regions, where some farms were planted after the ideal windows, only grain planted by the beginning of February has good potential, affirms AgRural.

In Mato Grosso do Sul, April's drought has reduced yields by 8.5 bags to 78 bags per hectare (69.59 bushels per acre). Down 29 bags compared with the previous estimate, the estimated yield for Goiás is only 79 bags per hectare vs. 111 bags in 2015 (70.48 vs. 99.03 bushels per acre). In Rio Verde, in the southwest, 40% of the corn is tasseling while dry weather continues with no rain forecast. In the east of Goiás, there are reports of plant death due to lack of moisture.

In Minas Gerais, the drought affected a large proportion of the corn in vegetative and early reproductive stages. Down 8 bags, the average yield is estimated at 82 bags per hectare (73.15 bushels per acre). In São Paulo, the average is estimated at 75 bags per hectare (66.91 bushels per acre), compared with the previous estimate of 79.5 bags (70.92 bushels per acre). Losses to lack of moisture were greater in the north region.

In Paraná, despite low volume of rainfall recorded in April, losses occurred only in late areas. In the west, crops planted by the first week of February have potential for up to 120 bags (107.06 bushels per acre). In Cornélio Procópio, in the north, the areas affected by the dry weather are likely to yield 86 bags (76.72 bushels per acre). The average yield for Parana is calculated at 94.5 bags per hectare (84.31 bushels per acre) compared with the previous estimate of 95 bags (84.75 bushels per acre).

-----

Written by Naiara Araújo, reporter of Successful Farming-Brazil at sfagro.com.br

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Australia blocks farm sale to Chinese over national interest

Australia blocks farm sale to Chinese over national interest | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

CANBERRA, Australia — Citing national interest, the Australian government on Friday blocked a Chinese-led consortium from buying the nation's largest private land holding, a collection of Outback cattle ranches bigger than South Korea.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said he was concerned that the land owned by a pioneering dynasty is more than 1 percent of Australia's total land area and 2 percent of agricultural land. He also worried that the land holding was so big that it was difficult for Australian bidders to compete.

The refusal to sell to the Chinese-based Dakang Australia Holdings and Australian-listed company Australian Rural Capital is only a preliminary decision and Dakang has until Tuesday to respond. The price tag is 371 million Australian dollars ($284 million).

S. Kidman & Co. Ltd. owns 10 cattle ranches, a bull breeding stud and a feed lot covering 101,411 square kilometers (39,155 square miles) in four states. That's an area bigger than South Korea and almost as big as the U.S. state of Virginia.

The government in November blocked the first attempt to sell the Adelaide-based company founded by beef baron Sir Sidney Kidman in 1899, and now owned by his descendants.

The government ruled then that the company could not be sold to foreign investors. Part of the reason was that Kidman owns the world's biggest cattle ranch, Anna Creek Station, which covers 23,677 square kilometers (9,142 square miles) of arid central Australia. Half of that ranch lies inside the 122,188 square kilometer (47,177 square mile) Defense Department-controlled Woomera rocket firing range. There are security concerns around foreigners owning grazing or mining leases within the world's largest rocket range and at least two Chinese miners have been prevented from operating there.

But Anna Creek was excluded from the latest sale bid to remove that security consideration.

"The size and the significance of the portfolio combined with the impact the decision may have on broader Australian support for foreign investment in Australian agriculture must be taken into account in this case," Morrison told reporters.

"There are not too many jurisdictions anywhere in the world where foreign acquisition of land — large holdings of this nature — would be permitted," he said.

 

Kidman managing director Greg Campbell said negotiations would continue with the government to determine how much of the company's land and assets could be sold to the Chinese.

"We're quite disappointed and somewhat confused, having thought collectively with our preferred bidder that most of the government's concerns had been addressed," Campbell said.

The revised proposal had reduced the area for sale by 25 percent and had increased the share of Australian investor money in the bid to 20 percent.

Foreign ownership of farmland is an increasingly sensitive issue in Australia, where there are fears that Chinese-owned farms could supply Australian-grow produce to Chinese parent companies at discount prices or refuse to sell to Australian buyers.

The Australian beef industry is emerging from years of low profitability due to drought and a strong Australian dollar that had been inflated by a mining boom that has now passed.

Despite the size of Kidman's land holdings, its ranches are largely semi-desert and carry only an average herd of 185,000 cattle, which is a fraction of a percent of the total Australian herd.

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EPA pulls report saying herbicide glyphosate is safe

EPA pulls report saying herbicide glyphosate is safe | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency officials said Tuesday they accidentally released documents concluding that a chemical used in weed killers is "not likely" to cause cancer in humans.

The officials said their review of the chemical, glyphosate, remains incomplete.

The documents pulled Monday by the EPA are from an Oct. 1, 2015, report by the EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee that says "epidemiological studies in humans showed no association between glyphosate exposure" and 15 types of cancers.

But the agency said Tuesday it doesn't expect to finish its review of glyphosate until later this year. The EPA periodically reviews pesticides to ensure they're performing as intended and aren't harming people or the environment.

“Documents on glyphosate that are still in development were taken down from the agency’s docket because our assessment is still ongoing and not final,” said Nick Conger, an EPA spokesman.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's popular herbicide Roundup, which is sprayed on genetically modified crops grown from the company's seeds, killing weeds but allowing the plants to thrive.

The chemical has been the subject of cancer-related concerns.

Last year, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic." The agency said the chemical, used in more than 750 products made by Monsanto and other companies, has been found in water, air and food during spraying.

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, said the WHO finding contradicted decades of scientific and regulatory reviews that have deemed glyphosate safe. The company criticized the International Agency for Research on Cancer for "cherry picking" data and accused it of "an agenda-driven bias."

Monsanto said the 87-page report pulled by the EPA — which the agency now says it released by mistake — was the latest by a regulator to determine that glyphosate doesn't cause cancer. The European Food Safety Authority and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Authority determined in 2015 that the chemical is “unlikely” to cause cancer in humans.

“No pesticide regulator in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen, and this conclusion by the U.S. EPA once again reinforces this important fact,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and CEO with Monsanto. “Glyphosate has a 40-year history of safe and effective use.”

Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the EPA report looks like it's going to be the final assessment on cancer. She said the agency still needs to release data on glyphosate's impact on the environment and endangered species.

 
 

"Monsanto could have written (this report)," said Sass. "It's really outrageous that (the EPA) came out so different than where the World Health Organization and other agencies are."

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Roundup Ready Xtend: Silver Linings In Label Delays For Monsanto | CropLife

Roundup Ready Xtend: Silver Linings In Label Delays For Monsanto | CropLife | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it
Since 2014, Monsanto has trained more than 20,000 growers and retailers on all aspects of its new dicamba-tolerant system at its many Xtend Learning Xperience sites across the country — and the educational process continues both in person and online. Says John Combest, Monsanto spokesman, “If there’s one upside to the fact that we’ve had some regulatory delays, it’s allowed us to get out to the field one or two more seasons and educate the retail chain and growers on this new technology — what’s legal, what’s not, how to make it work. So it’s really been in some ways a blessing that we’ve had this additional time.” Monsanto has taken more of an interactive approach than the typical field days, utilizing Q&A sessions and dry erase boards, as well as creating a YouTube playlist of educational videos for growers. It has also trained via Pesticide Safety Educator Programs and targeted forums such as Beck Ag phone calls. Collaboration with academics has been vital. Sara Allen, Crop
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Digital agriculture the next big thing, says Monsanto official 

Digital agriculture the next big thing, says Monsanto official  | Grain du Coteau : News ( corn maize ethanol DDG soybean soymeal wheat livestock beef pigs canadian dollar) | Scoop.it

f you want some idea of how quickly digital agriculture could grow, take a look at what happened with GM crops.

Monsanto never expected genetically modified crops to catch on as quickly as they did and one company insider says the same explosive growth could happen with data-driven farming.

Instead of a measured and evolutionary adoption, what actually happened with biotech was more like a revolution, said Jesus Madrazo, Monsanto’s vice-president of global corporate engagement on the sidelines of the Canadian Global Crops Symposium in Winnipeg April 12.

 

It surpassed even the most optimistic expectations of his colleagues.

“In their wildest dreams they never expected it to be embraced at such a pace by farmers,” Madrazo said. “They thought it was going to be a gradual process. But what really happened was it just skyrocketed.”

The company learned through that process new technology adoption is not a gradual process, and that’s something that could happen again as farmers size up new data-driven farming methodology, he said.

“I think when we look at data science and digital agriculture we are going to see exactly the same thing,” he said.

Read more: Monsanto talking to consumers, not just farmers
Monsanto commercialized the first glyphosate-tolerant GM canola in 1998. Farmers quickly switched because they saw value in the new technology, Madrazo said. It made controlling weeds in canola simpler and less expensive, although the advent of resistant weeds now threatens some of those gains.

 

Recently, volunteer glyphosate-resistant canola has been a problem for some Manitoba farmers, and glyphosate-resistant weeds are a growing issue throughout North America.

Digital agriculture, also referred to as big data and precision farming, uses an array of technology from satellite imagery and geo-referenced soil test and yield maps to real-time weather monitoring and soil sensors and powerful computer programs to micromanage crop production.

“We are in the process of developing the products, trying the products on the farm, making sure the farmers get familiarized, but the moment farmers start using and seeing the benefit it is just going to exponentially grow,” Madrazo said. “Then the challenges is how fast we can go to meet that demand.”

Digital farming could catch on faster than biotech crops because there are no regulatory hurdles, he added.

“And most everyone in the world already has access to a smartphone or iPad,” Madrazo said. “So the vehicle to deliver this is there.

 

“This is not going to be limited to one crop or the other. This is crop agnostic and brand agnostic.”

Monsanto, which started off as a chemical company and evolved into a GM seed company, is already in digital agriculture. Two years ago, it paid $1 billion for Climate Corp., a firm that specializes in digitizing and aggregating a long list of data collected from farmers’ fields.

“Today we can help a farmer track every field down to the square metre with relative location-specific data,” Madrazo said. “This helps the farmer know exactly what decisions to make — what to plant, where to plant, what space to use, when to use pesticides, when to use nutrients, all of that data practically per square metre.”

That can translate into much more precise use of inputs.

“Today advice on nitrogen relies on proper rotation and soil sampling,” Madrazo said during his formal remarks to the symposium. “Tomorrow our nitrogen advisory tools will optimize applications with real-time satellite imaging of that field reducing the environmental footprint.”

That’s also just the start, in Madrazo’s opinion.

“I think the best is to come,” he said. “It will accelerate the next green revolution in agriculture.”

Producing more food with fewer inputs is what it will take to boost global food production 70 per cent by 2050, to feed an estimated nine billion people — about two billion more than there are today — and protect the environment, he said.

If that weren’t enough, Monsanto’s scientists have determined climate change is real.

“Our world is getting drier,” Madrazo said. “Our world is getting warmer. The weather patterns we are experiencing in agriculture are shifting. I would say agriculture is probably the industry that is most impacted by this phenomenon.”

Agriculture, the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, contributes to global warming, but it can be part of the solution, he said.

Monsanto has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2021, Madrazo said. And what the company learns will be shared with farmers to make agriculture part of the climate change solution. Techniques include planting cover crops, higher-yielding varieties and improved agronomics through digital agriculture. Every corn plant is like a small tree sucking in and storing carbon dioxide, Madrazo said, adding that agriculture could be the sector with the potential of having the single largest impact on addressing climate change.

“But we (Monsanto) need to start in our own backyard and set an example in collaborating with others,” he said.

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