AgFax Grain Review: USDA Underestimated 2014 Corn Crop; GMO Seed Theft – National Security Issue?

Legal

  • Grant Rogers reports for The Des Moines Register that 2 Chinese siblings charged with attempting to steal GMO corn seeds from Iowa corn fields are being treated as government spies. The FBI has invoked national security laws under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to facilitate the gathering of evidence without a warrant, claiming the act of economic espionage has broad security repercussions and can cost U.S. businesses millions. The move has sparked a debate of whether the agency is over reaching its authority in what many argue is a civil case of trade theft between 2 private businesses rather than a national security case backed by a foreign government.

Markets/Trade

  • AgriMoney.com reports that Brazil’s soybean acreage is expected to decline for the first time in nearly a decade next season. Due to increased input costs and reduced crop prices, soybean acreage is predicted to drop 300,000 hectares to 31.1 million hectares. However, higher quality seeds are expected to more than make up for the decline in acreage.
  • AgriMoney.com reports that following much higher than expected corn stocks in this week’s USDA Grain Stocks report, some brokers are questioning if USDA understated the size of the 2014 corn crop. While Rabobank and others feel that USDA may revise feed/residual use of corn lower in the upcoming WASDE report to reflect the higher stocks number, Allendale and Country Futures feel that USDA clearly underestimated the size of the 2014 crop. Similarly the lower than expected soybean stocks are seen as an overestimate of 2014 production.
  • A Reuters report on The West Central Tribune notes that soybean acreage is on the rise in Western Canada as seed companies continue to develop faster maturing varieties targeted for the region. Canada is expected to plant 5.8 million acres of soybeans this season, with roughly 1.5 million acres planted in the traditional wheat fields of Western Canada. That area is expected to double to 3 million acres within 5 years, with expansion expected to continue for some time.

Production

  • Kurt Steinke of Michigan State University reports that the Maximum Return to Nitrogen recommendation system for corn is a resource that can help Midwest corn farmers determine proper nitrogen application rates in response to variable Spring planting conditions. “The MRTN system was adopted to further enhance farm profitability by maximizing the economic return of N fertilizer invested while simultaneously addressing some of the negative environmental consequences that occur when applying excessive N rates.”
  • FarmersAdvance.com reports that Pennsylvania-based Clemens Food Group has announced the development of a new pork processing facility to be built in Coldwater, Michigan. “The project is expected to generate $255.7 million in capital investment and create 810 new jobs,” while providing new local marketing opportunities for area soybean growers.

On the Lighter Side

  • The Associated Press reports on Fox19.com that 3 Purdue University students won $20,000 at Purdue’s annual soybean innovation contest. The students developed a soybean-based air freshener, called “Soy Sniffs.” 2nd place in the contest went to a group that developed biodegradable flower pots.13 teams with a total of 39 students competed in this year’s competition.



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