AgFax Grain Review: Syngenta Lawsuits Pile Up; GMO Seed Companies Sue Hawaii

Lawsuits

  • In Keith Good’s farm policy report he notes that the number of lawsuits against Syngenta over the trade debacle with China regarding the company’s Viptera corn variety keep piling up, with more than 50 claims already filed and hundreds more being prepared. Syngenta continues to dismiss the cases as without ground.
  • An Associated Press article on FoxBusinessNews.com reports that Monsanto and Dow Chemical Co. have filed lawsuits against Maui County in Hawaii to stop the implementation of a new law banning GMO crop production in the county. Both companies take advantage of Hawaii’s climate in their crop breeding programs as it allows for year round growing and the production of multiple crops per year, and claim the law would force them to drastically cut back on their operations in the state which would cost several hundred jobs. Local seed and ag businesses have joined in the suit.

Markets/Trade

  • AgriMoney.com reports that market broker Jefferies forecasts a market high for soybeans last week on Nov. 12 with prices expected to decline through next year. Analysts with the broker point to 1997-98 as a precedent, another year with strong initial market demand in which prices slid lower due to being unable to overcome production. The brokerage predicts U.S. soybean crushing to rise 6% while exports climb 10.6%, but for the high carryover rate to keep the market in a solidly bearish position.
  • AgriMoney.com reports that Morgan Stanley and Jefferies both point to FSA and USDA acreage discrepancies as a possible support to corn and soybean prices. USDA’s acreage numbers and substantially higher than those reported by the FSA, more so than typically occurs. The FSA shows corn acres planted at 85.84 million acres compared to USDA’s estimate of 90.9 million acres, while soybean acres are reported at 81.39 million acres by the FSA and 84.2 million acres from USDA. Analysts point out that based on historical relations between the two report figures, USDA’s corn acreage could be over 2 million acres higher than actual plantings with soybean estimates 1.4 million acres above actual plantings. While still providing bearishly large production numbers, such a large revision lower could offer short-term support.

Production

  • The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education group reports on AgProfessional.com that the 2013-14 Cover Crop Survey Report is now available, documenting the results of the 2nd year of the survey. The survey notes that while growers incorporating cover crops into their rotations enjoyed yield bonuses over their neighbors, the extent of the bonus was much smaller last year compared to the year before. The findings indicate that while cover crops  offer a definite yield benefit they particularly shine in drier years by helping to conserve soil moisture. The report also notes that some of the chief concerns among growers, both those that grow cover crops and those that don’t, are input and management costs and potential returns.
  • Valley Irrigation reports on AgProfessional.com that the company has developed a new tool for precision agriculture to “share precision irrigation data that facilitates data-driven decisions and simplifies irrigation management.” Called Irrigation Exchange, Valley is presenting it as the next level of integrated farm management by compiling an easily accessed database that streamlines information on management practices and irrigation systems to quickly and easily provide growers with pertinent data to facilitate proper decision making.

On the Lighter Side

  • Terry Wright reports on NJ.com that Hunterdon County in New Jersey is well into corn harvest and provides a variety of photos of harvest progress and equipment.
  • If you’ve ever wondered about the history of hybrid corn and how it came to take the place of more traditional varieties in the U.S., Robert M. Harveson of the University of Nebraska Lincoln offers a detailed account of corn in the  Americas and the reasons for and methods of development of hybrid varieties to produce more vigorous, higher yielding crops, and how the initial development almost wiped out production in the U.S. with the onset of southern corn leaf blight in a crop with little to no genetic diversity.

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