1 – A Washington State University – How to Double Nitrogen Fixation in Soybeans | AgroNews

"Her greenhouse-grown soybean plants fix twice as much nitrogen from the atmosphere as their natural counterparts, grow larger and produce up to 36 percent more seeds. Mechthild Tegeder, a Washington State University biologist, designed a novel way to increase the flow of nitrogen from specialized bacteria in soybean root nodules to the seed -producing organs. She and Amanda Carter, a biological sciences graduate student, found the increased rate of nitrogen transport kicked the plants into overdrive.

‘The biggest implication of our research is that by ramping up the natural nitrogen allocation process, we can increase the amount of food we produce,’ Tegeder says.

Unlike crops that rely on naturally occurring and artificially made nitrogen from the soil, legumes contain rhizobia bacterioids in their root nodules that have the unique capability of converting or ‘fixing’ nitrogen gas from the atmosphere.

For years, scientists have tried to increase the rate of nitrogen fixation in legumes by altering rhizobia bacterioid function or interactions that take place between the bacterioid and the root nodule cells.

Tegeder took a different approach: She increased the number of proteins that help move nitrogen from the rhizobia bacteria to the plant’s leaves, seed -producing organs and other areas where it is needed. The additional transport proteins sped up the overall export of nitrogen from the root nodules. This initiated a feedback loop that caused the rhizobia to start fixing more atmospheric nitrogen, which the plant then used to produce more seeds.

‘They are bigger, grow faster and generally look better than natural soybean plants,’ Tegeder says. ‘Some evidence we have suggests they might also be highly efficient under stressful conditions like drought.’ Tegeder thinks her research can eventually be applied to varieties of legumes suited for a diverse array of climates. One major benefit of growing legumes is that they not only can use atmospheric nitrogen for their own growth but also leave residual nitrogen in the soil for subsequent crops.

Hence, increasing nitrogen fixation could improve overall plant productivity for farmers who grow legumes in both industrial and developing countries while diminishing or eliminating the need for nitrogen fertilizers."

Source: A Washington State University – How to Double Nitrogen Fixation in Soybeans | AgroNews

2 – Agriculture Industry Comes Together to Address Climate Change | AgroNews

"Addressing climate change and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, can only be achieved through collective effort. To highlight the role modern agriculture can play in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Monsanto today announced the formation and first meeting of the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative, a consortium of experts on agricultural greenhouse gases. The Collaborative will help develop a framework for agricultural GHG accounting and advise Monsanto on its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2021. Monsanto announced its goal of a carbon neutral operational footprint one year ago today; the Collaborative met for the first time Tuesday.

“Since last year, we’ve been energized and inspired by the productive discussions and efforts around climate change from the many stakeholders involved, especially our farmer customers who are the ultimate stewards of the land,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto’s president and chief operating officer. “While the problem of climate change is incredibly complex with many regional differences, the contributions over the past year—by some of the strongest leaders in agricultural and environmental science—are very promising.”

For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service recently awarded a $1 million Conservation Innovation Grant to the National Corn Growers Association, to support work in this area. This grant was matched with $1.6 million from Monsanto and in-kind contributions by several other partners in the project.

The USDA-supported project and the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative have been tasked with developing a scalable and verifiable carbon accounting framework that will provide a transparent system for measuring and reporting carbon reductions based on the adoption of specific agricultural practices and systems.

In addition to Monsanto, inaugural members of the Collaborative include experts from:

  • AgSolver, Inc.
  • Applied GeoSolutions
  • Climate Smart Group Inc.
  • Coalition on Ag Greenhouse Gases
  • Colorado State University
  • CropGrower, LLC
  • Kansas State University
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • The Soil Health Partnership
  • University of Illinois at Chicago

The formation of the Collaborative is just one example from the past year of the cooperative work across the agriculture industry that lays the groundwork for large scale carbon-neutral crop production to fight climate change. Other significant industry initiatives, in which Monsanto has participated, include:

  • The formation of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, which brings together food and agriculture companies to support farmers in improving soil health and water quality;
  • The Climate Smart Agriculture working group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, designed to foster collective action to promote the adoption of climate-smart agricultural systems worldwide; and
  • Advanced work by The Soil Health Partnership to engage 100 growers to test sustainable agriculture practices, along with pilot programs to assess digital methods that validate that farmers are helping achieve greenhouse gas reductions.

Early in 2016 Monsanto commissioned third-party expert ICF International to examine the potential for reducing GHG emissions through agriculture in the U.S. The resulting report showed that widespread adoption of recommended practices could potentially result in more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions reductions in the U.S. alone. These farming practices include: cover crops, conservation tillage and precision nutrient management. Throughout the summer and fall, Monsanto engaged with more than 20 academic leaders in soil health to share the report’s findings.

Meanwhile, the company is actively working with its U.S. seed corn producers to survey adoption of these best management practices, while providing education to encourage further adoption.

Likewise, internal Monsanto teams mobilized to start reducing GHG intensity in the company’s crop protection operations, including:

  • Further streamlined the crop protection supply chain to curb emissions in production and transit;
  • Established an internal carbon price, which was recently used to evaluate the climate impact of Monsanto’s capital investment in converting a coal boiler to natural gas in 2017, expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 42,000 metric tons per year; and
  • Added a sustainability index for selecting contract growers for seed corn production.

The call to address climate change stretches beyond agriculture. At the November United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP22, Monsanto joined with other companies in signing a public statement committing to move forward with the Paris Agreement."

Source: Agriculture Industry Comes Together to Address Climate Change | AgroNews

3 – Algeria Buys Durum, Much of It From Canada | WP

"Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC bought at least 120,000 tonnes of optional-origin durum wheat in a tender that closed on Wednesday, European traders said on Thursday.

OAIC paid around US$310 to $315 a tonne, cost and freight included, and the grains were expected to be mainly sourced from Canada, along with one cargo from the United States, they said.

Canada is the world’s biggest exporter of durum, the wheat variety used to make grain dishes like pasta and couscous.

Some traders said the volume purchased may have reached around 150,000 tonnes, depending on the size of each cargo booked by OAIC.

Algeria, one of the world’s biggest cereal importers, does not publish details of its grain import tenders and results reported by traders are estimates."

Source: Algeria Buys Durum, Much of It From Canada | WP

4 – Australia Set for Record Wheat Crop | AgroNews

"Australian wheat suppliers are poised to regain market share in Asia as the world’s No.4 exporter harvests what is likely to be a record crop, threatening to rein in shipments to the region from rival Black Sea producers.

Australian standard wheat with nine-percent protein was this week quoted at $185 a tonne, free on board. Although that is more than a similar variety of Ukrainian wheat offered at $178-$180 a tonne, Australia typically has a freight advantage in Asia over Black Sea suppliers of about $10 a tonne.

‘There is almost no demand for Ukrainian grain (in Asia) because most of the needs are covered with grain from Australia and Argentina.’

‘We may well receive 9–10 million tonnes of grain across all states this week.’

That marks a turnaround from a few weeks ago when producers feared rains would delay the harvest and threaten crop quality.

‘Protein levels are much higher than what everyone thought,’ said a Sydney-based trader. ‘We have more wheat with 10.5- to 11-percent protein.’

Source: Australia set for record wheat crop-Agricultural news-Agropages.com

5 – Canola Edges Higher While Most US Crop Dip | WP

"Canola futures threw off early weakness to close up slightly with support from soy oil as crude oil rose again, topping $50 a barrel in New York.

Gains in canola were limited by the rising Canadian dollar, which climbed about a half cent to top US75 cents.

  • Reuters surveyed traders who on average put Canada’s canola crop at 18.8 million tonnes. Statistics Canada comes out with its official crop size estimates on Tuesday.
  • If true, that would mark a record-large Canadian canola crop.
  • Trade forecasts ranged from 18 to19.6 million tonnes, Last year’s crop was 18.38 million tonnes.


  • The details were not published, but European traders believe the price was around US$310 to $315 a tonne, cost and freight included and source was believed to be mainly from Canada, along with one cargo from the United States.
  • Chicago corn and soybeans were lower. Chicago and Kansas wheat were also lower but Minneapolis spring wheat edged up a few cents per bushel.
  • Soy meal was also down, but soy oil climbed more than two percent, supported by the rise in crude oil.
  • The USDA reported weekly export sales of U.S. soybeans at 1,399,000 tonnes, at the high end of a range of trade expectations for one million to 1.4 million tonnes.
  • Export sales of U.S. corn were 761,600 tonnes, below a range of trade expectations for 900,000 to 1,200,000 tonnes.

Outside Markets

  • The Canadian dollar at noon was US75.01 cents, up from 74.48 cents the previous trading day. The U.S. dollar at noon was C$1.3331.
  • The TSX composite fell 55.32 points or 0.37 percent to close at 15,027.53."

Markets, Quotes and Charts Link | WP 20161202

Source: Canola Edges Higher While Most US Crop Dip | WP

6 – Certis to Market PQ ‘S Bionutrient Products | AgroNews

"Certis USA introduces a bionutrient product line based on AgSil potassium silicate technology. AgSil products provide plants with silicon, an often overlooked nutrient that helps plants deal with stress, temperature fluctuations, drought, salinity, metal toxicity and infection by plant pathogens.

Manufactured by PQ Corporation, the bionutrient products AgSil 16H, AgSil 21 and AgSil 25 are available via Certis USA distributors now for the specialty agriculture, greenhouse, turf, ornamental and home and garden markets in North America and many international arenas.

‘The AgSil product line represents Certis USA’s first ‘bionutrient’ introduction. It will compliment our existing biopesticide line that includes more than 30 products based on biological or natural active ingredients.’

‘We are excited about representing AgSil and see many opportunities for it in the field,’ Black said. ‘AgSil can be used as a foliar spray or in traditional fertilizer blends as a nutrient solution to create a uniquely differentiated product that provides a wider range of essential nutrients for all types of grains, vegetables and ornamentals. And, since AgSil has been well received in the greenhouse and indoor horticultural markets, this product line offers Certis USA a channel into that rapidly emerging market segment.’

Source: Certis to market PQ ’s bionutrient products-Agricultural news-Agropages.com

7 – Forecast: Canadian Wheat, Canola Crops Weather Snow, Top Last Harvest | WP

"Canada’s wheat and canola crops withstood wintry weather that stalled the autumn harvest, and production is expected to top last year’s output, according to Reuters’ industry survey of 13 analysts and traders.

  • The industry expects, on average, all-wheat production of 30.7 million tonnes, the largest in three years.
  • It slightly topped Statscan’s Aug. 23 estimate, and would be 11 percent bigger than last year’s production.
  • ‘Western Canadian farmers are persistent and kept at it until most of the grain was in the bin,’ said Lawrence Klusa, a market adviser with Agri-Trend.
  • Statscan surveyed farmers from Oct. 21 to Nov. 13, and it is unclear if farmers factored in how much more crop they planned to harvest, said Brian Voth, president of Prairie Farm Consulting.
  • ‘I think this report will be a total crapshoot,’ he said, adding that he saw plenty of unharvested crops in Alberta last week.
  • Despite harsh weather, quality of canola, wheat and lentil crops look better than expected, based on government samples, CIBC analyst Jacob Bout said this week.
  • Canada is the world’s largest exporter of canola and expected to be the fourth-biggest wheat shipper this year."

The following are trade estimates for Statistics Canada’s report on 2016 crop production:

Canadian Trade Harvest Estimates 2016 – Million Tonnes

Crop Avg Est Low High StatsCan 08–16 StatsCan’15
All Wheat 30.7 29.4 33.2 30.49 27.59
Durum 7.2 6.4 8.4 6.81 5.39
Canola 18.8 18 19.6 17.02 18.38
Oats 2.9 2.5 3.5 3.02 3.43
Barley 8.7 8.1 9.7 8.70 8.23
Peas 4.8 4.5 5.3 4.61 3.20
Corn 13.1 12.4 13.6 12.35 13.56
Lentils 3.3 3.2 3.5 3.23 2.54
Soybeans 6.2 5.9 6.5 5.83 6.37
#### Source: Forecast: Canadian Wheat, Canola Crops Weather Snow, Top Last Harvest | WP

8 – Grain, Coffee, Sugar Prices Tumble as ‘Bears Look Back in Charge’ | Agrimoney

Chicago corn futures for March, also the best-traded lot, finished down 1.5% at $3.43 ¼ a bushel, the weakest finish for the contract in two months.

US corn export sales last week of 761,000 tonnes were ‘below expectations’, Benson Quinn Commodities said, adding that ‘wheat sales are also disappointing at 483,500 tonnes’.

Six-year high

Palm oil for February set a six-year closing high of 3,079 ringgit a tonne in Kuala Lumpur, boosted by ideas of continued production shortfalls, besides the boost to vegetable oils, the raw material for biodiesel, from strong oil prices.

Back in the US, grains were also seen as feeling pressure from deliveries against expiring December contracts – even though, um, there have been none yet lodged against Chicago’s December corn lot.

’That may sound a little strange since there have been no deliveries of corn against the December contract.

‘Wheat deliveries against the December Kansas City hard red winter wheat have been large,’ Mr Holaday said.

Besides the delivery and weather factors discussed in the morning market report, US spring wheat futures also received a boost from details of the US export sales data, which showed hard red spring wheat sales, at 221,500 tonnes, accounting for nearly half last week’s total of 483,500 tonnes.

Poor demand signs

Besides the dent from the real, Mr Scoville also flagged demand setbacks.

‘FO Licht sees a more balanced market next season with the possibility of a 2m-tonne surplus,’ ADMISI said.

‘India’s ISMA sugar mills association said that their production should rise in 2017–18. There is general agreement that production will increase in EU after the abolition of quotas with Germany and France benefiting the most.’

Source: Agrimoney.com | Grain, coffee, sugar prices tumble as ‘bears look back in charge’

9 – New Year, New Seed Treatment Rules | AgroNews

"When new rules for commercial and mobile seed treatment operations come into effect on January 1, 2017, farmers won’t notice much change. The standards won’t apply to farmers treating their own seed on-farm, and CropLife Canada, the association that represents the plant science industry, believes having consistent standards will be good for the industry.

The Accredited Seed Treatment Operation Standards are industry-led and regulated. They include 76 protocols — items like ensuring buildings and storage facilities are at least 30 metres from environmentally sensitive areas and requiring employees to have proper safety training.

Russell Hurst, CropLife Canada’s vice president of stewardship and sustainability, says these new standards are a good thing both for the industry and for individual farmers. Consistent handling and application procedures, says Hurst, will help ensure farmers buying seed are getting a more uniform product. In the long term, better seed treatment application standards will help farmers approach changing and emerging pest pressures more adeptly. What’s more, the health, safety, and environmental measures in place should help the long-term stewardship of the land too, says Hurst.

While these new rules do not apply to farmers who are treating their seed for individual use on their own farms, farmers may see their access to some products limited. Monica Klaas, general manager of Alberta Seed Processors, says there will be a list of products that ‘manufacturing companies and/or Health Canada have deemed need to have restricted access, so there’s some component to that product that is a threat to either the applicator, the environment, or something else. Only facilities that have certification under the new seed treatment standards have will have access to those products.’ The list of restricted products will be available through CropLife in January 2017.

Will the costs of implementing and abiding by the new system increase seed prices? It’s hard to answer the question definitively, says Hurst, for a few reasons. Some of the commercial seed treaters were ‘already exceeding operational expectations,’ so they didn’t have to make many changes to align with the new standards. Others had to make changes and possibly capital expenditures, says Hurst. Costs to individual businesses (if any) could vary widely.

Each seed treatment location will be required to do an audit every two years. Audits will cost $500, which Hurst points out isn’t that much for a commercial business.

Hurst’s ‘gut instinct’ is that ‘there won’t be a significant increase to seed purchasers’ but with a wide spectrum of businesses involved, Hurst can’t say for sure one way or the other.

Klaas concurs with Hurst in that she says she ‘doesn’t necessarily think that the new standards will directly drive pricing up.’ Operators who made investments to meet standards will be able to spread costs out over many customers.

You can review the entire 56-page seed treatment AWSA document online here as a PDF in your browser.

The latest on-farm application tips

If you’re applying your own seed on your own farm, here four tips from Justin Bouvier, seed and seed care specialist with Syngenta.

1. Set your grain flow. This way you’ll know how much grain is going through your treater and then match the treatment with the flow of the grain. So ‘run your seed treater for a minute and timing it, then weighing it out and then if you know you have 20 bushels per minute on that auger, you’ll run the seed treatment to match that flow.’ Calibration is crucial with on-farm treatment, says Bouvier.

2. Initial application is very important. ‘A good initial application makes the rest of the process much easier,’ whether you’re using a $1,500 dollar applicator or a $130,000 one. When and how the product hits the seed is important. You can also add water to Syngenta products up to a one-to-one ratio, for better coverage of the seed (this is helpful for grain that is particularly dry or dusty, like barley).

3. Seed-to-seed contact distributes that product among the seeds. Where the seeds get rubbed together, chemical spreads out. If you are using a lower-end seed treater on the farm, ‘if wind permits, increase the slope of the auger so it pulls the product through the auger a little longer and allows that seed to tumble in that grain auger. The tumbling of the seeds helps that secondary mixing.’ And, run that ‘auger as slow as possible to keep the seeds in the tube as long as possible.’

4. Make sure the product is dry before pouring it into the seeders. In higher end seed treaters, the drum ‘allows that seed to get air flow and dry time.’ If we’re putting the seed into a truck, make sure it is dry ‘before it is put into any seeder.’

Source: New Year, New Seed Treatment Rules | AgroNews

10 – Nufarm Could Benefit From Big Mergers | AgroNews

"Regulators were likely to order the merged entities to sell some assets because of competition concerns, and the merged entities could decide to divest some businesses.

Nufarm managing director Greg Hunt said after the AGM that the potential merger deals were still in the early stages and under consideration by regulators.

Mr Hunt also said Nufarm was confident that underlying earnings for the first half of the fiscal year would be ahead of the prior year, which would leave Nufarm well placed to deliver solid underlying earnings growth for the full year.

Mr Hunt said Nufarm’s operations in Australia and Brazil, which usually dominate the first-half results, were experiencing competitive market conditions.

But the North American business was improving its contribution."

Source: Nufarm Could Benefit From Big Mergers | AgroNews