“Setting limits on vomitoxin contamination at the farm level could have dire consequences for livestock producers, warns Bill Wilson, professor of agribusiness at North Dakota State University.
NEW ORLEANS, La. — The Canadian wheat industry hopes it has dodged a bullet that could have seriously affected trade.
Late last year, a Codex committee was close to rubber-stamping new maximum levels for deoxynivalenol (DON), or vomitoxin.
The proposal included a limit of two parts per million on raw cereal grains at the farm level before damaged kernels were sorted and removed.
Those standards would have been rapidly adopted by a number of Canada’s key trading partners.
The Baking Association of Canada, the Canadian National Millers Association and Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) wrote a letter to Health Canada urging the agency to push for a more reasonable limit.
‘The proposed (maximum levels), if adopted by Codex and in turn by importing countries, could have significant adverse consequences for international trade in cereal grains, grain-derived commodities and grain-based further processed foods,’ said the group in its letter.”
“Helping customers make wise buying decisions is an important part of customer service. This is especially true when buyers are purchasing significant quantities of a commodity produced thousands of kilometres away — like wheat grown in Western Canada for example.
For over 10 years, Cigi (Canadian International Grains Institute) has completed an annual harvest assessment, providing farmers, grain handlers, and customers of western Canadian wheat with information on the quality and characteristics of each year’s new crop. This collaborative effort involving farmers, grain companies, and Cigi is Canadian customer service at its best.
Cigi collects representative samples from the major grain handlers from several regions across the Prairies — defined mainly by transportation routes as well as by climate and soil types — to determine information such as protein content, milling and flour properties, and the end-use suitability typical for each wheat class.”
“Toronto/Chicago | Reuters – Veteran railroad boss Hunter Harrison has won over many critics since taking over as chief executive of Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), but he still has unfinished business — creation of a consolidated North American railway — and is running out of time to do it.
That might explain why CP, Canada’s No. 2 railway with extensive operations in the U.S., and the No. 3 U.S. railway, CSX Corp., have been talking about combining, even though such a deal would face tough regulatory barriers and alarm customers.
A source familiar with the situation said the two held exploratory talks this month and are contemplating whether to take them further. Both companies have declined to comment, but CSX CEO Michael Ward said on Wednesday that more big U.S. rail mergers could hurt service.”
“CNS Canada – Western Canada’s shortline railways are getting the short end of the stick as they struggle to meet their own commitments moving grain and other products along their tracks.
A backlog of grain on the Prairies over the past winter, linked in part to poor rail movement, prompted the federal government to implement legislation requiring the country’s two major railways (Canadian National and Canadian Pacific) to increase their weekly grain handling in order to deal with the situation.
The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act requires both CN and CP to each move 500,000 tonnes of grain per week or face fines. There have been some concerns raised over the relatively cheap financial penalty (now at $100,000 per violation). There have also been a few cases where the quotas were not met, but in general the legislation has met its broad goal of seeing more grain move.
However, an unintended consequence of the legislation has seen CN and CP focus their attentions on the ‘low hanging fruit’ of moving grain along their main lines, where there are fast turnaround times, at the expense of other business.”
“TORONTO, CANADA – The world’s most successful program connecting seasonal workers with agricultural employers has had a successful summer.
Administered by Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) links approximately 14,000 requests for seasonal workers with jobs at Ontario farms this growing season.
Not only does the 48-year-old program provide a long list of benefits to the workers and the farmers, but also it creates two Canadian jobs in the agrifood industry for every worker employed through SAWP at Ontario agricultural operations, says Ken Forth, president of F.A.R.M.S.”
“Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller recently released his 2013/14 report to the legislature titled Managing New Challenges. One of the chapters focuses on the challenges agriculture is facing on the environment front, both good and bad. Of particular note are the comments on the role of the Local Food Act and the plight of the pollinator in building a more sustainable agriculture sector.
The Local Food Act, 2013 has the potential to change Ontario agriculture for the better in terms of sustainability. The Commissioner argues that localized food systems foster resiliency in communities. He argues that interacting with the local food system enhances environmental literacy. In order to be more sustainable, farming will need to meet environmental challenges related to things like chemical use and reducing emissions. The commissioner argues that ‘food miles’ are an intuitive way of measuring the greenhouse gas emissions of food transportation, but cautions that local is not synonymous with sustainable.
From where I sit, the acknowledgement that the terms ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’ are not the same is tremendously important as the province sets targets for public institutions. There are definitely opportunities to be more sustainable in agriculture through the local food movement, but we need to do our homework to ensure local food is more sustainable than an imported food. The food still needs to be produced in an efficient manner, and needs to be transported at a scale that uses the fewest loads possible to fill our local market needs. To make ‘food miles’ work, there is the need to make sure the sector is still focused on efficient logistics and good management, rather than making assumptions about what method is more sustainable.”
“The issue of neonic pesticides was raised by the commissioner as a growing global concern. Pollinators are important from a biodiversity and eco-system stability perspective, wherein the loss of a pollination network will have repercussions for the entire ecosystem. The Commissioner recommends that if the Federal government changes around dust mitigation are not effective, additional action will be required. There is also the need to get a handle on the impact on wild populations. Integrated pest management is encouraged and prophylactic use needs to be discouraged or controlled.”
“Farmers who are attempting to sue Ottawa for $17 billion over the dismantling of the single-desk CWB are once again exploring their options following a Federal Court of Appeal ruling in Ottawa.
The Oct. 15 ruling upheld a previous court decision that rejected most of the claims contained in a $17 billion class action suit that farmers launched against Ottawa and CWB.
The class action was launched in 2012 by four prairie grain growers and is supported by Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB).
Stewart Wells, a spokesperson for the class action claimants, said the fight to recover farmer losses is not over, despite the most recent ruling.
He said class action plaintiffs still have two options: seek leave to have arguments supporting their $17 billion claim heard by the Supreme Court of Canada or proceed with a reduced class action claim worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Class action plaintiffs are expected to make a decision within the next week or two, Wells said.”
“Now likely more so than at any point in the last 5 or 6 years, getting every last penny you can when marketing your grain is of utmost importance. Doing so can be tough sometimes when the most optimal terminal isn’t on your radar.
Consider FarmLead your new radar screen. The ag startup, founded in November 2012 by Saskatchewan farmer Brennan Turner, has a new ‘e-commerce solution for the grain trade,’ a web- and mobile-based platform that connects grain sellers with buyers, both near and far. The site, which started with farmers working with around 950,000 acres and has grown to more than 11 million acres, affords farmers the ability to essentially barter with buyers on both grain volume and prices for sales, Turner says.
‘The problem farmers are facing is, simply put, they do not get paid until they sell their grain. Whatever happens in the futures market isn’t about cutting a check for what they deliver. Farmers rely on a way to get the best cash price,’ says Turner, also a former hockey player with the Chicago Blackhawks NHL organization. ‘So, while there are so many options for selling grain, things can get confusing pretty quickly. FarmLead brings all buyers and sellers to one transparent location.’
The platform allows the farmer to — initially anonymously — negotiate price, quantity, freight and payment terms, among other variables in a grain deal. In return, sellers can ask for documentation on grain quality, production methods, and more. Though it’s a more wide-open marketplace than the farmer may face when working with a broker or grain end-user, there is obvious risk involved. That’s where FarmLead steps in.”
“Dashwood, ON : On World Food Day – October 16, the National Farmers Union is reflecting on hunger and the critical need to eradicate it. Farmers understand the relationship between food and hunger uniquely and very well as the primary producers of food products. What the world often forgets, however, is that farmers can and do go hungry everywhere, even in North America.
NFU Women’s President Joan Brady sees the links between World Food Day and her participation in events related to the United Nations’ ‘International Year of the Family Farm’. She said, ‘As I reflect on this year’s World Food Day theme, ‘Family Farming Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth,’ I can’t help but think about the brokenness of a food system in which farm families go hungry.’
In an essay posted on the FAO North America website (see link below), Brady shares some of her personal story. ‘It has been my personal experience that when prices go down or costs go up, farm families do without – even here in Canada and the United States,’ she said. ‘As a society, we must call for policy changes – legislative, regulatory and programmatic – to protect and preserve family farms, their rural communities and our shared environment.’”
“D’Arce McMillan, The Western Producer’s markets manager, monitors trends in the North American and global agricultural markets. Each week he hosts two markets videos, crops and livestock. If agricultural markets are important to you, these weekly videos have you covered.”
“Broader markets started on a positive note, helped by Friday’s late revival by shares on Wall Street, which saw the S&P 500 close 1.3% higher at 1,886.8 points.
Tokyo shares ended Monday 4.0% higher, with smaller gains recorded in the likes of Hong Kong and Seoul.
Not that this necessarily means that the market mayhem seen last week, so typical of Octobers, is over.
“Markets ended last week on a more positive note with equities recovering some ground, but it is probably too early to conclude that we are back into the time of steady and healthy risk appetite,” Crédit Agricole said.
“High volatility will likely remain the story for now especially as expectation on monetary policies shift back and forth.”
‘Running to the sidelines’
The reduced enthusiasm for position-closing weakened the trend of short covering which supported agricultural commodity prices last week.
Regulatory data late on Friday, for positions as of Tuesday, highlighted the short-covering trend, which was seen continuing until the end of the week.
“It’s been a tad strange on markets,” said Mike Mawdsley at broker Market 1 noting that “some investors are just running to the sidelines in times of uncertainty – ie if Ebola spreads.
“If funds liquidate short positions they have to buy them back.””
“The United States is becoming an increasingly important export customer for Canadian grain.
It has always been a significant buyer of Canadian grain, but several factors have greatly increased the cross border flow.
Exports south are growing faster than overall exports, resulting in the U.S. accounting for a larger percentage of the grain export pie.
So it is a good thing to try to fix anything that impedes this trade, including rail car cycle times to the U.S. that are much longer than cycle times to Canadian ports.
The interest in U.S. markets has several drivers.
The end of the CWB monopoly made it much easier for Canadian farmers to directly ship to U.S. buyers. Cash prices offered by American buyers are often higher than those offered by Canadian buyers.
Also, American companies have been building canola crushing plants on the expectation that U.S. farmers will increase production of the crop. But in the first years of operation, these plants are turning to Canadian growers for supply.
As well, Canada’s rail crisis in the last crop year resulted in many plugged elevators. Grain handlers greatly widened their basis to discourage deliveries or simply stopped bidding on grain.”
“Syngenta’s group sales, including Lawn and Garden, increased by 2% in the third quarter of 2014.The crop protection sales were up by 2.8% to $2,372 million, while seed business dropped by 1% to $473 million.
For the first nine months of 2014, sales rose by 1.6% to $11.5 billion. The sales of crop protection grew by 3.1% to $8,583 million, while seeds business was flat at $2,539 million.”
“U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking several steps to address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds in U.S. agricultural systems.
‘Weed control in major crops is almost entirely accomplished with herbicides today,’ said Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary. ‘USDA, working in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, must continue to identify ways to encourage producers to adopt diverse tactics for weed management in addition to herbicide control. The actions we are taking are part of this effort.’
USDA announced several of the steps it is taking to help farmers manage their herbicide resistant weed problems in a more holistic and sustainable way:
– USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer financial assistance under its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for herbicide resistant weed control practices that utilize Integrated Pest Management plans and practices.
– Later this year NRCS will be soliciting proposals under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Program for innovative conservation systems that address herbicide resistant weeds.
– USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will actively promote use of best management practices (BMPs) in design protocols for regulated authorized releases of genetically engineered (GE) crops and will include recommendations for BMPs with the authorization of field trials of HR crops.
– USDA is partnering with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and is providing funds to develop education and outreach materials for various stakeholders on managing herbicide–resistant weeds. ”
“EPA announced it will open a comment period on the agency’s initial assessment of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatment for insect control in soybeans.
Syngenta believe EPA’s initial assessment will be complete and accurate once it considers all necessary data. The agency’s public comment period will allow the opportunity to add information to fill in gaps in understanding.
Syngenta looks forward to providing additional information to ensure the EPA has an in-depth and accurate picture of the soybean landscape related to neonicotinoid seed treatments, such as:
• Protecting soybean seeds from early-season insect damage and providing a favorable impact on cost and yield.
• Playing a critical role in an integrated pest management (IPM) program, with multiple advantages including less potential impact on beneficial insects in the field and decreased potential worker exposure.
• Providing a unique mode of action, necessary to managing pests resistant to other insecticides key to soybean production.
• Saving farmers money and creating additional value.
Syngenta is confident that an objective assessment of all the data reviewed during the next phase of the public comment process will uphold the strong benefits thiamethoxam seed treatment brings to soybean growers everywhere.”
1. FarmPolicy » Blog Archives » Policy Issues; Ag Economy; Regulations; Biotech; and, Biofuels- Monday
“DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported on Friday that, “Without giving any indication how the next World Trade Organization ruling on Country of Origin Labeling will come down, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday the COOL decision could become public within a few weeks, if not days.
“Vilsack spent Thursday with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Martinez, secretary of fisheries and agriculture, showing Martinez some climate research facilities at Iowa State University before holding a joint forum at the 2014 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue.”
“Lynn Hicks reported on the front page of Friday’s Des Moines Register that, “China is the world’s largest vegetable producer, but little of it goes to the United States. If the country can overcome safety problems, it has a huge opportunity to both increase exports of produce as well as feed its people. That shift could benefit Iowa farmers because China would need to import more grain for livestock feed.”
And on the front page of Saturday’s Des Moines Register, Lynn Hicks stated that, “Reports show the world faces big challenges sustainably feeding 9.6 billion people by 2050. Global agricultural productivity is not accelerating fast enough to meet the expected demand, a Global Harvest Initiative report shows.”
“From USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS)- ‘Global stocks of major crop commodities are forecast to expand in the 2014/15 marketing year, with total stocks of wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans completing recovery from the relatively low levels that preceded the 2008 spike in world crop prices. Record U.S. crops of corn and soybeans, along with good harvest by some other major producing countries, are forecast to push both U.S. and global stocks of these commodities to record levels. “
“A projected record corn harvest, along with low prices, has many farmers considering storage for their corn and soybeans this fall. As grain bins fill up, a “bag silo” may be an option for over-winter storage.
Klein Ileleji, a grain post-harvest technology expert at Purdue University, said potential users should be aware that the bags, which can measure up to 12 feet in diameter and 328 feet in length, require careful site preparation, regular monitoring for moisture content and temperature, and special tools for loading and unloading.
“It’s not as simple as opening one end and shoveling in the corn,” Ileleji said.
He offers the following tips for growers considering or using grain storage bags this year:
- Position bags away from tree and fence lines. This will help keep away pesky intruders. As will keeping the site clean and free of spills and brush.
Make sure the site is dry and well drained. If possible, place the bags on a concrete slab, and check frequently for damage to the plastic cover.
Be sure the crop is dry before storing it. Ileleji recommends drying the grain to 15% or lower before bagging it up.
“It’s not exactly the bone-dry outlook that was forecast for this week weather-watchers saw last week, but rainfall is light and limited in the Midwest over the next few days, and that ought to propel corn and soybean harvest forward through this week.
It’s ‘overall not bad’ for harvest progress this week, with a few areas of rain through mid-week in the western and northwestern Corn Belt. They’ll be light and accompanied by unseasonably warm temperatures, making it what should be generally good conditions for a lot of harvest action, forecasters say.
‘There will be areas of light rain in the eastern Corn Belt tonight through tomorrow night and a system will move into the western portion of the Corn Belt Wednesday night into Thursday but fizzle out before reaching the Mississippi River valley. Far west and northwest areas may receive rain amounts of 0.25 to 0.50 inch from this system for the most rainfall,’ says Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist Wayne Ellis.
‘The warmest temps this week will be in the west with near to above normal and near to below normal east. Highs will be in the 50s north-central through the east the next several days with 60s elsewhere, some low 70s far west tomorrow. Highs will be mostly 60s later in the week with 70s returning to western areas on Friday.'”