Seed World

Industry News (Jan 2011)

people news

Jim McCullagh has resigned as executive director of the Canadian Seed Institute. “It is with regret that I must inform you of my acceptance of Jim McCullagh’s resignation as executive director of the Canadian Seed Institute effective January 1, 2011. As the first and only executive director, he has developed an organization that has become an extremely important part of the seed industry and has done an excellent job. On behalf of the board, I wish him success as he pursues a new career opportunity.” —Robert Stevenson, president of the Canadian Seed Institute.

University of Saskatchewan plant sciences researcher Curtis Pozniak, a Canadian leader in molecular genetics of wheat, is the recipient of the 2010 New Researcher Award. His work links basic research of the genetics and expression of disease resistance and end-use quality traits with his applied research of the development of durum and other classes of wheat cultivars for Western Canada.

Becker Underwood Canada has named Danielle Fletcher, formerly senior production agronomist with a major seed company, to the newly created position of national field agronomist of inoculants and seed enhancements. Becker Underwood says it is adding extra technical staff partly due to increasing demand for its top-selling inoculants in peas, lentils, soybeans and other crops. The company also has its eye on the future with a full line-up of new products set to launch over the next few years. “Danielle’s strong professional agricultural seed experience will be instrumental to product launch activities we’ll be undertaking in the near and longer term,” says Ralph deVries, assistant director of marketing for Becker Underwood Canada. “She’ll also provide a bridge between sales and marketing and research and development.”

product news

Marrone Bio Innovations has submitted a new bio-insecticide to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The submission is a novel strain of bacteria that MBI discovered in its screening process for natural products. It is highly active on pest caterpillars such as codling moth and armyworms as well as certain sucking insects such as psyllids and spider mites. MBI plans to submit the registration package to Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Authority as well. “We have proven that our screen can find novel, naturally occurring micro-organisms, and that we can quickly develop them into commercial products that solve pest management problems,” says Marja Koivunen, MBI’s vice-president of discovery.

Dekalb brand seed is launching a new mobile application, available for download and use on a wide variety of Blackberry devices. The Dekalb Plant Population Calculator App is an innovative new tool that will provide corn and soybean farmers with recommended planting populations for their crops.

Syngenta Seeds Inc. has received full Canadian regulatory approval for the Agrisure Viptera 3111 and Agrisure Viptera 3110 trait stacks. The Agrisure Viptera 3111 stack, which will be the most widely available Agrisure Viptera trait stack, combines the Agrisure Viptera trait with the Agrisure 3000GT triple stack. This approval allows Canadian corn growers to plant this technology and export it to key markets.

Bayer CropScience has confirmed its TraitGuardprogram remains an important part of the Liberty and Trait Agreement, and will be available in 2011 to protect InVigor hybrid canola and other LibertyLink canola growers from early season crop establishment risk. Acres taken out of production or acres reseeded can qualify for the TraitGuard risk assurance program.

Stevia supplier GLG Life Tech of Vancouver has said its new generation of stevia seeds, which contain a high concentration of rebaudioside A, is ready for commercial planting for the 2011 season. The company said plants produced from the new Huinong Two seeds have about 66 per cent Reb A in the plant leaves, 10 per cent more than GLG’s previous generation of stevia plants, allowing them to produce more of the sweetener on less land.

business news

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, has announced plans to build a multi-million dollar parent seed production facility near Wingham, Ont. According to Ian Grant, president of Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd., this is a key component of significant investments the business is making in Canada. The new facility near Wingham is expected to be operational in late 2011. The company has also announced plans to expand a new, innovative research initiative across North America for the 2011 growing season. The program supports a 50 per cent increase in the number of experimental products Pioneer can test to help growers get the right product on the right acre to maximize productivity.

Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc. has entered into a licensing agreement with DuPont to use oil gene intellectual property, advanced gene technologies and biotechnology expertise developed by DuPont to accelerate development and commercialization of value-added camelina oil. Camelina, a drought tolerant, non-food oilseed crop, has the potential to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by offering renewable, bio-degradable feed stocks that can be substituted for petroleum in a variety of applications.

Viterra Inc. has announced the opening of a new marketing office in Kiev, Ukraine, which will strengthen the company’s capacity to source and market food ingredients to key international markets.

Viterra has also opened a new office in Hamburg, Germany, further strengthening the company’s market intelligence network in Europe. The office will focus on the company’s core commodities including wheat, barley and canola, and perform several strategic functions.

SemBioSys Genetics Inc. is working on a number of strategic options potentially available to the company, including a corporate sale or merger, an accelerated strategic partnering transaction for either insulin or Apo, an asset sale, a significant restructuring and recapitalization or an orderly wind-down of the company’s business. At the current time, the company is unable to continue its existing business at current levels or to take on new commitments without additional financing.

BrettYoung has transferred all receiving, conditioning, blending, and shipping of forage and turf seed functions from its Gilbert Plains, Man., facility to its facility in Winnipeg. This consolidation of facilities is driven by a combination of reduced seed supplies due to adverse growing conditions and the global economic slowdown reducing the demand for turf seed. No change in seed supply or demand is expected until 2012 at the earliest, and, as such, the company is closing the Gilbert Plains facility for the foreseeable future.

Bunge North America plans to more than double the capacity of its canola processing plant in Altona, Man., part of a multi-year expansion programme across its Western Canada processing plants. “Canada remains a very important region to Bunge’s growth strategy because of the increasing global demand for canola oil and meal, and the growth potential of canola seed production in Canada,” says Soren Schroder, president and CEO of Bunge North America. The proposed project would take Altona’s capacity from 1,100 tonnes a day to 2,500 tonnes a day. Bunge would also add a new deodorizer to fully process the oil. Provided the plan receives all necessary approvals, the expansion is expected to go online in time for harvest in 2012.

industry news

Research into segregation of genetically modified and traditional grains is one of four projects supported by Western Canadian farmers through the 2010 Canadian Wheat Board Postgraduate Awards Programme. The research could help identify different ways to prevent contamination and reduce the risk that genetically modified grain will contaminate traditional grain shipments.

The National Research Council, the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers have formed a new partnership that aims to improve commercial pulse yield through genomics research, resulting in decreased production costs and reduced risks, increased crop value, and enhanced processing quality. Through the agreement, NRC will conduct research that is linked to the established pipeline for pulse crop breeding funded by SPG at the CDC. The agreement is valued at over $3.8 million over three years.

Grain Farmers of Ontario has received $5.7 million for research in breeding and genetics in Eastern Canada through the Developing Innovative Agri-Products initiative from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward framework. The funding will be used to support 18 public breeding and genetics programmes throughout Eastern Canada—from Manitoba to Prince Edward Island. Covering six field crops—winter wheat, corn, soybeans, spring wheat, oats, and barley—these projects will be managed by the newly formed Canadian Field Crops Research Alliance.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is investing more than $10 million in research at the University of Guelph and partnering universities. The funding will support 72 projects across the agri-food spectrum, from developing avian flu vaccines to studying the rural labour market to finding alternatives to pesticides.

Seed of the Year has named AC Metcalfe, a two-row malting barley variety, as the winner of Seed of the Year, West. AC Metcalfe was developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada barley breeder Bill Legge. AC Metcalfe is used in multiple end‐use markets and is known for its consistency, high enzyme levels, rapid throughput in the malthouse, and high levels of fermentable extract.

The Government of Canada has highlighted its commitment to renewable fuels. Federal regulations requiring five per cent renewable fuel content in gasoline came into effect on December 15, 2010. “This initiative is one of Canada’s contributions to the fight against climate change,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “We are proud to be moving forward with the Renewable Fuels Regulations as they will benefit Canada’s economy, our farmers and our environment.” These Regulations are one pillar of the government’s broader Renewable Fuels Strategy. The strategy will establish a demand for renewable fuels that will help stimulate Canadian biofuels production, create jobs and new market opportunities for farmers, and help create jobs in rural communities, while accelerating the commercialization of new biofuel technologies. “Biofuels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants while sustaining economic growth and development,” said Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources.

Industry News is geared to seed professionals and delivers the people, industry, business and product news you need to know. Submissions are welcome. Email us at