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TOKYO — Japan’s imports of Canadian pork have been rising by 10 percent a year since 2010, says a representative for Canada Pork International.
When he became CPI’s first Japan marketing director in July 2010, only 4,500 tons of Canadian pork were coming here on average every month, Shoji Nomura said.
“This year, it is 8,000 tons,” Nomura said.
Demand is strong for chilled pork from Canada, which came in at a 66.4 percent ratio of total imports of Canadian pork in the first 10 months of the year. The main chilled cuts imported are shoulder roast, tenderloin and and belly, almost 90 percent of which is used as table meat.
Canadian roast ham also sells in 10,000-yen gift boxes, although there is no indication of Canadian origin because country-of-origin labelling is only compulsory for fresh meat. Canadian pork is also served in tonkatsu dishes (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlets) and tonkatsu sandwiches.
Canadian pork is gradually taking market share away from its U.S rival. In 2010, an average 16,000 tons of U.S. pork was coming here a month, almost four times as much as Canadian pork, whereas the ratio is now more about only 60-40 in favour of the U.S. product, Nomura said.
“It is not just because of the promotion that I am doing, but also because Canadian producers and packers are working hard to improve business,” he said.
Since being hired, Nomura has been working to raise recognition of Canadian pork. Instead of first doing so with consumers, he has been concentrating on the trade and people in the food service industry, reminding them of the advantages of Canadian pork. Among other efforts, he has done 19 trade seminars throughout the country.
Nomura worked as Japan market manager at the former Canadian Beef Export Federation’s Tokyo office in 2002-10. Previous to that, he worked for more than 20 years for trading houses, starting his career by cutting meat for a wholesaler.
Having worked in the meat business for more than 30 years, Nomura knows relevant people throughout Japan.
“So I contact them, telling them I will do a seminar, and they come,” he said.
At big seminars held in the Japanese capital or the city of Osaka, a traditionally commercial hub, all the importers based there came. However, people in the regions don’t come much, so information does not go out there much.
Nomura held the first CPI seminar in November 2010 in Hiroshima and the last one up to now in the same city exactly four years later. That last time, only 50 representatives came.
“It’s very difficult to get people in the regions to come, as they are busy and don’t know much about Canadian pork,” Nomura said.
Canadian pork’s advantages are three-fold, Nomura said.
First, Canadian producers mainly raise Landrace and Large White pigs, the same breeds as in Japan.
Second, fattening practices are the same.
Thirdly, in Canada as in Japan, pigs are fed corn and wheat, whereas in the United States, feed is basically corn and soybean based.
“With such feed, the fat is not of a bright white colour, its melting point is low, and the meat is not of the nice pink colour that Japanese people like,” Nomura said.
“So I point out that Canadian pork specifications are close to those for Japanese pork” when he does seminars, Nomura said.
As Canadian chilled pork imports having risen, its presence on supermarket shelves has consequently increased.
“So in the next fiscal year, we will do more promotions in supermarkets,” Nomura said.
“We will also make more contacts with pork companies, such as Nippon Ham and Itoham,” he said.
And for the first time, Canadian pork will be showcased Feb. 10-12 at the yearly Tokyo Supermarket Show.
Japan cannot be a big market like China, but if one has a good product at a reasonable price, one can have a chance in this market, Nomura said.
“I tell people that Canadian pork tastes good and its price is reasonable,” he said.”
“Exports came to a complete and utter halt,” Arkady Zlochevsky, president of the union, told reporters in Moscow today. “Nothing is being shipped. No boats are putting to sea.”
Traders have contracts to deliver worldwide more than 3 million metric tons of Russian grain through January, according to Zlochevsky. Grain shipments stopped Dec. 18, he said. Egypt, the world’s biggest buyer, has 180,000 tons of wheat due to be shipped from Russia in January, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Russia said Dec. 22 that it plans to introduce grain export duties, the latest step in an effort to reduce overseas shipments after the ruble plunged and food prices increased. While the country has said it won’t stop exports, the government has blocked cargoes by denying certificates that grain sellers and buyers need after sanitary inspections, and state-owned Russian Railways Co. halted deliveries to ports for exports last week.
Wheat for March delivery slid 0.2 percent in Chicago to $6.34 a bushel as of 7:16 a.m. local time. Prices have jumped more than 20 percent in the past two months.
Aliya Samigullina, spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who is in charge of agriculture, didn’t immediately return a phone call or text message seeking comment.Egypt Purchases
The General Authority for Supply Commodities, the Egyptian state grain buyer, agreed to buy 60,000 tons of Russian wheat in a Dec. 20 tender for shipment next month, along with 240,000 tons of French wheat. On Dec. 11, GASC bought 120,000 tons of Russian wheat for Jan. 11-20 shipping.
Traders should honor contracts to ship Russian wheat in January, Mamdouh Abdel Fattah, vice chairman of GASC, said by phone today.
“This is not a decision by the Russian government, and there are contracts between the authority and the traders which they will abide by,” he said.
The new restrictions on Russian grain follow export duties in 2004 to limit shipments, a jump in the rates in 2008 and an outright ban in 2010, when drought caused crop failure. Chicago wheat prices soared 47 percent that year.
“This has happened several times now,” Michel Portier, the head of Paris-based farm adviser Agritel SA, said in a phone interview. “Russia doesn’t gain in credibility as a reliable supplier.”
(Reuters) - China has approved imports of one of Argentina's genetically modified (GMO) varieties of corn, Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera, Argentina's agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.
The Argentine government had been negotiating access to the Chinese market for the corn strain for several years. The South American country is the world's fourth-biggest exporter of corn.
A source in the agriculture ministry said that China had previously authorized the import of other varieties of GMO corn, but that there had been few shipments to the Asian powerhouse.
In its statement, the ministry also said China had cleared the import of Bayer CropScience's A5547-127 strain of soybean, which has local regulatory approval for production in Argentina.
Argentina is a leading global exporter of soybeans and the top supplier of soymeal
Please accept our best wishes for a Merry Christmas! We hope you have a great holiday with family and friends and take time to reflect on the true meaning of the season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be released Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. CT. This is the first time in memory that the report has been released before Christmas. The December report has hardly ever been released on a Friday as customarily are the other three quarterly reports. The USDA has normally timed the December report to leave at least one full trading day before the end of the year so market participants can adjust positions per the report before the end of the calendar year. This year’s early release doesn’t seem to me to harm that goal and it certainly leaves the USDA personnel free to enjoy the holiday knowing they don’t have to return and finish the report next week.
Urner Barry’s pre-report survey of market analysts confirms that most are expecting growth in hog numbers in this report.
Some highlights and implications of the numbers are:
I will summarize the report and its implications in my next column.
The scales have tipped for Iowa farmland values. After several years of dramatic increases, this year marks a drop in value.
For 2014, the average value of an acre of Iowa farmland is $7,943—a drop in value of $773, or nearly 9%, per acre from 2013.
“This the sharpest decline since 1986,” says Mike Walsten, editor of LandOwner newsletter.
While this year marks the largest decline in farmland values in 28 years, it is only the second year since 1999 that the survey has shown a decline in farmland values. After hitting a historic peak in 2013, values have returned to a mid-point between 2011 and 2012 values. In spite of the decrease, farmland values remain 81% higher than 2009 values, and 18% higher than 2011 values.
“I think we have seen a peak for the time being,” said Michael Duffy, said in a release about the survey. “Commodity prices and farm income are settling back to more expected levels, and I think land values will probably move sideways for a while.”
For the second year in a row, Scott and Decatur counties reported the highest and lowest farmland values, respectively. Scott County’s farmland is valued at $11,618 per acre, while Decatur County reported a value per acre of $3,587.
“Scott County typically has the highest value primarily due to the location on the (Mississippi) river and good soil,” says Duffy, a retired ISU economics professor and extension farm management economist.
The value of all grades of farmland fell, with high-grade farmland taking the largest hit and losing a full 9% ($974 per acre) of its value.
“The reason high-grade farmland fell in value faster than low- or medium-grade farmland is because it had increased in value faster over the past few years,” Duffy says. Medium- and low-grade farmland fared slightly better, losing 8.5% ($688 per acre) and 7.9% ($420 per acre), of their values, respectively.
The only crop reporting district to show an increase in values was southeast Iowa, which reported values at 3.2% higher than last year.
Corn and soybean prices started falling in 2013, and as a result farm income dropped. The most recent USDA net farm income estimate showed a record high income in 2013, but a 23% drop in net farm income for 2014. Falling commodity prices, along with a drop in farmland value, could make problems for some farmers.
“The drop in farmland value is due to the drop in commodity prices,” Duffy says. “Pressure could come if farmers incurred debt in anticipation that commodity prices would continue. I think all farmers will have a cash flow problem for the next 18 months or so. If farmers still have equity in their land they should be able to refinance, but farmers who got over extended will be in trouble.”
The survey is based on reports by 428 licensed real estate brokers and selected individuals considered to be knowledgeable of land market conditions. Since 1941, Iowa State University has conducted an annual land value survey to collect and analyze information on land values in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Farmland Partners, announcing extra firepower for borrowing, signalled an appetite for further land purchases in 2015, even as farm prices have been shown by some surveys to be in retreat.
The Colorado-based farmland investment group, which buys land in a bid to exploit returns from rents and capital growth, revealed it had doubled to $150m a bond purchase facility agreed with Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation.
Farmland Partners unveiled an extra $30.9m in bonds issued under the facility from the corporation - better known as Farmer Mac, which was created by the US government to provide a secondary market in agricultural mortgage borrowings.
Even so, at a total of $81.1m, Farmland Partners total issuance under the Farmer Mac programme leaves significant headroom for further borrowings.
'Increased acquisition capacity'
Indeed, the expansion of the loans programme gives Farmland Partners "increased acquisition capacity heading into next year", said Luca Fabbri, the group's chief financial officer said.
The comments came even as the company revealed it had completed the $27.5m purchase of seven row crop farms in South Carolina, totalling 6,819 acres, plus the $3.3m acquisition of a 1,300-acre farm in Arkansas.
Farmland Partners has now spent $128m acquiring 39,000 acres of land since it was listed in April, of which $92m have been spent in the October-to-December quarter, on 22,000 acres.
"The successful closing of the South Carolina acquisition caps a busy fourth quarter," said Paul Pittman, the group's chief executive.
Land prices fall
The purchases also come at a time when some surveys show a retreat in US farmland prices, with Iowa State University estimating that average farm prices in Iowa, the top corn and soybean producing state, fell by 8.9% to $7,943 an acre this year – the biggest drop in 28 years.
However, Farmland Partners quotes data from US real estate professionals' group Ncreif that land returns have not proved negative for any year on records going back to 1992.
Separately, Gladstone Land Corp, a smaller buyer of agricultural land, with a portfolio of some 8,000 acres, last week unveiled the $17m purchase of a 331-acre strawberry farm in California, after itself securing a $75m agreement with Farmer Mac over borrowings.
* French grain coops ask CME to hone EU wheat futures plan
* Coops also push Euronext for more changes to its futures
* Operators want no repeat of 2014 harvest quality confusion
By Valerie Parent and Gus Trompiz
PARIS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - CME Group is moving forward with plans for an alternative European wheat futures market, encouraged by French producers who say incumbent provider Euronext has not fixed shortcomings exposed by poor harvest quality in 2014.
Chicago-based CME, the world's biggest derivatives exchange, has met with the French agricultural cooperatives this month to discuss its project and indicated it could launch its wheat futures as soon as March, with September 2015 as a first delivery position, sources familiar with the discussions said.
CME is due to hold more discussions with French operators in January, according to the sources. The talks are an indication of its continued interest despite its low profile since it confirmed in June it was considering wheat as part of a push into Europe.
At the same time, the cooperatives are also talking with Euronext about further changes to its Paris-based wheat futures <0#BL2:>. Operators are reluctant to ditch a proven price benchmark whose liquidity continues to grow, the sources said.
Cooperatives handle most of the grain grown in France, the European Union's top producer, and so are key market actors.
InVivo, a grouping of some 200 cooperatives, confirmed it had participated in discussions with both Euronext and CME.
"Euronext and CME have each proposed solutions that make sense," Stephane Bernhard, head of trading at InVivo, said, declining to give details. "I think there will be some announcements very soon."
A spokeswoman for CME reiterated that the group was exploring a European wheat contract in response to requests from customers, without commenting further.
Euronext's Head of Commodities, Olivier Raevel, said the exchange was in ongoing discussions with market participants. Issues included delivery points and how the market would operate until new quality specifications are introduced in 2017, he said, declining to give further details.
SILOS AND QUALITY TERMS
Heavy rain turned much of the 2014 French crop into lower-grade wheat and prompted the two Rouen port silos that take delivery of wheat traded on Euronext to impose higher quality standards to protect export sales.
Euronext's later decision to toughen its own quality criteria sought to end confusion about whether it was pricing milling wheat or cheaper animal-feed wheat, but the changes will not apply until 2017.
"We had to put up a lot of money this summer to cover ourselves against the lack of clarity about what Euronext prices represented," one source involved in the discussions with CME said. "The problem has not been fixed for 2015 and 2016."
Euronext's reliance on the Rouen export hub for delivery is seen by some as the root of the problem. CME is proposing a wider network of delivery points in France and this has won support from cooperatives active in inland zones, sources said.
However, French operators fear complications if a CME contract traded in dollars and fell under non-French law, they said.
CME is proposing less strict quality terms than in Euronext's 2017 revamp, such as a minimum 180 for Hagberg falling numbers, a measure of bread quality, compared with the relatively high 220 minimum set by Euronext, sources said.
This has led some operators to call for Euronext to add another contract that reverts to a basic milling standard.
Others argue that there is no room for new wheat contracts in Europe, and that the CME should join forces with Euronext. Both exchanges declined to comment on this.
(Reuters) — More than half of food tested by the U.S. government for pesticide residues last year showed detectable levels of pesticides, though most were within levels the government considers to be safe, according to a report issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA looked at fresh and processed fruits and vegetables as well as infant formula, apple juice, and other products.
Before allowing a pesticide to be used on a food commodity, the Environmental Protection Agency sets “tolerance levels,” for how much of a pesticide can remain in the food that reaches the consumer. The USDA’s sampling is designed to help ensure that pesticide residues are kept within those tolerance levels.
As has been the case with past analyses, the USDA said it did not test this past year for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide and the world’s most widely used herbicide.
A USDA spokesman who asked not to be quoted said that the test measures required for glyphosate are “extremely expensive… to do on an regular basis.”
Concerns about glyphosate and other pesticide residues on food have been a hot topic of debate in the United States recently, and contributed to the passage of the country’s first mandatory labelling law for foods that are genetically modified in Vermont earlier this year. Many states are pursuing similar labelling laws. Some local governments have also been trying to rein in pesticide use on food due to health concerns.
Many genetically modified crops can be sprayed directly with glyphosate, and some consumer and health groups fear glyphosate residues in foods are harmful to human health, even though the government says the pesticide is considered safe.
Last year, Monsanto Co., the developer of Roundup, requested and received EPA approval for increased tolerance levels for glyphosate.
The USDA said that for the pesticides that it did test for, 99 percent of the samples showed residue levels within tolerance levels. It said “over 40 percent” showed no detectable pesticide residue, and residues exceeding tolerance levels were seen in a mere 23 samples out of 9,990.
Additionally, residues of pesticides with no established tolerances were found in 301 samples, USDA said.
Of the total samples analyzed, there were 8,526 fresh and processed fruit and vegetable samples, 356 infant formula samples, 756 butter samples, and 352 salmon samples. There were also 14 groundwater samples and 100 drinking water samples, taken, USDA said.
The complete study can be found online here: http://1.usa.gov/1x47ZMG
But for kidney beans, the cargos are moving in the opposite direction.
"The price for speckled kidney bean is currently around 4,300 remninbi per tonne, while reaching as high as 8,500 remninbi per tonne last year."
The National Corn Growers Association has announced its 50th annual yield contest results, and it celebrated its Golden Anniversary with several record-breaking yields. Randy Dowdy, a Georgia farmer, submitted an all-time high of 503 bu. per acre, and a record six other entries surpassed 400 bu. per acre.
"While this contest provides individual growers a chance for good-natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming as a whole," says Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA's Production and Stewardship Action Team. "The techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis for widely used advances that help farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations, including drought. This contest highlights how innovation, from both growers and technology providers, allows us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber."
The 18 winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 383.6 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 173.4 bushels per acre in 2014. While there is no overall contest winner, yields from first, second and third place farmers overall production categories topped out at 503.7190.
"Many of our members first joined NCGA so that they could participate in the National Corn Yield Contest and test their skills as a farmer," says Tom Haag, chairman of NCGA's Grower Services Action Team. "While they join to gain entry, their view of the organization, and corresponding level of participation, evolves. Once a contest participant looks at our activities and achievements on behalf of all American growers, they see the value in a grassroots approach that unites the voices of corn farmers across the country to affect change. Reluctant joiners turn into vital members, spokespeople for their industry and active advocates of NCGA membership."
Monsanto sent Dowdy a note of congratulations. The Georgia farmer used DeKalb hybrid DKC62-08 as the foundation for his record-breaking run.
“This accomplishment puts a spotlight on the important role that farmers all around the world play in society, and it showcases the valuable role that agriculture advancements can play in helping farmers achieve optimum and consistent corn performance so they can get the most from their land, wherever they are,” says Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley.
Dowdy says hybrid selection is important, but so is in-season management – and a little help from Mother Nature.
“I was confident DeKalb could deliver and it did,” he says. “From there, I tried to make all the right choices to capture that potential and remove stress.”
Dowdy and other winners receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as cash trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies. In Phoenix during the 2015 Commodity Classic, winners will be honored during the NCGA Awards Banquet and the NCYC State Winners Breakfast.
This year saw 8,129 total entries received. A complete list of state and winners is available at http://www.ncga.com/for-farmers/national-corn-yield-contest.
Palm oil output in Malaysia, the biggest producer after Indonesia, will probably drop the most in 10 months in December amid a seasonal decline in yields. Prices climbed to the highest in almost a month.
Production is set to fall 11 percent to 1.56 million tons from 1.75 million tons in November, according to the median of five analyst and trader estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the lowest for December since 2011 and 6.6 percent less than a year earlier, Malaysian Palm Oil Board data show.
Futures in Kuala Lumpur are heading for the third annual loss in four years as global cooking oil supplies expand and a plunge in crude to the lowest since 2009 reduces demand for alternative fuels. Indonesia and Malaysia have scrapped export taxes to help cut reserves. Output typically declines from November through February because of the low-production season and as rains disrupt harvesting.
“It’s highly dependent on the weather,” Ivy Ng, an analyst at CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur, said by phone on Dec. 19. “We have a bit of flooding here and there, but we don’t know how long it will last, and which areas are affected, and whether it has affected harvesting. More clarity will be seen at the end of the month.”
Futures rose as much as 1.2 percent to 2,236 ringgit ($639) a metric ton on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives today, the highest level since Nov. 27, before trading at 2,235 ringgit by 4:49 p.m. local time. Prices have declined 16 percent this year.Rain Ahead
The northeast monsoon brings widespread, continuous rains which often cause floods along the east coast states of Peninsula Malaysia from mid-November to early January, the Malaysian Meteorological Department said in its monthly report. The precipitation usually reaches Sabah and Sarawak from late this month until early February, it said. The two states are the largest producers of palm oil.
Traders are monitoring output in December to see if the country can reach its full-year target, according to Chandran Sinnasamy, executive director at LT International Futures Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia may produce a record 19.5 million tons this year from 19.2 million tons in 2013 on higher yields from fresh fruit bunches, the Finance Ministry said Oct. 10. Adding the survey estimate to Palm Oil Board data for the first 11 months gives output of 19.86 million tons.
Inventories may decline 4 percent to 2.19 million tons by the end of the year from a month earlier, according to Alan Lim, an analyst at Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd. He expects output to drop 11 percent in December from November and to extend the decline in January, keeping prices above 2,100 ringgit, he said. Production, which reached a record 2.03 million tons in August, should recover in April, Lim said.
The Council will work to carry this momentum into 2015 as the predicted record 2014 U.S. corn crop of more than 365 million tons (14.4 billion bushels) hits the export channels.