AgFax Rice Review: Genetic Editing for Better Rice; India Production, Exports Decline

    Markets/Trade

    • The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s government plans to dispense discount coupons to rice farmers for seed, fertilizer, and other cultivation materials for the upcoming season. The coupons are expected to be more effective than providing cash subsidies. Additionally, the government hopes to sway some rice farmers to switch to sugarcane in order to assure good prices for rice.
    • Oryza.com reports that current weather forecasts are for a weaker than normal monsoon season in India, causing concerns of reduced rice production. The 2014 monsoon was 12% below normal, so a 2nd year of below normal rainfall could have a significant impact on grain production. USDA forecasts a decline in India’s rice output which would also lower carryover stocks and exports.

    Production

    • Krishna Ramanujan reports for the Cornell Chronicle that Cornell University researchers have received a $5.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a 4 year study on improving rice varieties with genome editing, “a technique that allows researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell.” The study, if successful, could go a long way towards improving crop yields and increasing tolerance to diseases, pests, and climate issues.
    • Tim Hearden reports for Capital Press that “For rice growers in California’s Sacramento Valley, this season has been all about working and waiting.” Uncertainty about water allocations had many farmers sitting on their heels instead of taking advantage of favorable planting conditions, but while uncertainties remain planting is now in full swing with nearly half the acres planted and some already emerging. Water allocations vary widely depending on location with senior rights holders expecting cuts from 30-60% and some junior rights holders receiving no irrigation water for a 2nd year. Fallowed acres are predicted to be 10-15% higher than last year.

    Environment/Drought

    • Tim Johnson, President and CEO of the California Rice Commission, writes on the CalRice.org blog that many arguments have been put forth recently that as water remains scarce across the state it should be treated like any other valuable commodity and go to the highest bidder. Johnson notes that while such an approach is unseemly, letting the rich off the hook while those with less suffer the most, it also overlooks another important point: “Ducks don’t have pockets.” Wildlife have no ability to buy water and there simply isn’t enough money to provide enough water for environmental purposes, which is why it is typically subtracted from agricultural and urban users as water contracts are reevaluated.



    The Latest


    Send press releases to Ernst@Agfax.com.

    View All Events


    Send press releases to Ernst@Agfax.com.

    View All Events