AgFax Grain Review: More Fungicide-Resistant Diseases; China Continues Corn Rejections

Market/Trade

  • A Reuters article on CNBC.com reports that China is set to continue rejecting U.S. corn shipments containing the unapproved GMO variety until at least late March despite attempts by Washington to streamline the process. Speculation is that the ban is being used as an excuse to block cheap corn imports in a well supplied market, though Chinese officials deny such claims.
  • Tom Polansek of Reuters reports on AgWeek.com that Syngenta is pushing ahead with plans to offer a new GMO corn variety for commercial production in the U.S. despite concerns of the new variety fueling the current trade dispute with China. The new variety, Agrisure Duracade, is highly resistant to rootworms, a boon to farmers in the Midwest where rootworm infestations have been flaring up, but could potentially cause millions in damages to the corn industry if it gets mixed in with the rest of the U.S. corn crop and causes more shipment rejections by China.
  • Mathew Hill reports for Bloomberg that Zambia suffered its worst corn crop in three years due to poor fertilizer distribution and late rains, with the national harvest coming in at 2.5 million metric tons. Additionally, South African corn prices have rallied to record highs due to drought concerns.
  • DTN China correspondent Lin Tan reports that changing demand patterns in China could result in cancelations of up to 2 million metric tons of soybean shipments from early season purchases.
  • Pablo Gonzalez, Matt Craze and Jeff Wilson of Bloomberg report that Argentina soybean farmers are hoarding an estimated $4 billion worth of soybeans and may also withhold beans from the upcoming crop in March and May. Farmers are wagering that the decline in the Argentina peso is far from finished and are holding onto crops to earn more pesos when they finally sell to exporters at dollar values.

Production

  • Bruce Schultz of Louisiana State University’s AgCenter offers an overview of what the state’s grain producers can expect going into the upcoming season, noting in particular that this season growers can expect to see more fungicide-resistant diseases as “85 percent of frogeye leafspot disease samples showed resistance to strobilurin fungicides in 21 of 27 parishes” in 2013. Schultz also notes that the AgCenter soybean specialist expects an increase in the state’s soybean acreage this year.
  • Andy Eubank reports on Hoosier Ag Today that Indiana corn growers should expect to see a premium for deliveries over the next week to 10 days as cold weather has hampered the ability of trucks to be loaded and safely make deliveries which has resulted in many processing facilities running low on inventory. Farmers are advised to be ready to move trucks for deliveries, but also to remain safe and drive cautiously. Farmers are additionally cautioned to monitor stored grain closely, as differences in grain moisture could lead to hot spots and blue eye mold once temperatures start warming up.
  • FarmFutures.com reports that DuPont Pioneer has announced four new soybean varieties with the Plenish high oleic trait that will be available for the upcoming planting season.
  • Morgan Ball reports on Iowa State Daily that a research team at IowaStateUniversity has begun genome sequencing of a fungus that causes Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome as part of an ongoing research project to help manage the disease.

Ethanol

  • Mikkel Pates reports for AgWeek.com that northern Corn Belt farmers are pushing to save the current Renewable Fuel Standard mandate from proposed cuts as they fear such a cut would hurt ethanol production, further dampening already low corn prices and damaging the U.S. corn industry.

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