Seed World

Industry News | July 2012



People News

The Canola Council of Canada has named Patti Miller as its next president. According to the CCC, Miller has deep experience in agriculture and a strong record of leadership. Most recently Miller held a position with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Winnipeg, where she managed large-scale program delivery for several years.

CropLife Canada has added Maria Trainer to its team as managing director of regulatory affairs. Trainer will help liaise with government departments and work on various regulatory and policy issues. Trainer’s professional experience includes program director with the Council of Canadian Academies where she had the lead responsibility for the Expert Panel on the Integrated Testing of Pesticides.

Agronomix Software Inc. has appointed James Blatta to the role of chief technical officer. Blatta has been instrumental in the development of each version of Agrobase Generation II, software for plant breeding. In his new role, Blatta will oversee all future developments and technologies as well as the recently-expanded software development team.

Tom Scott has been hired as global strategic account manager for Novozymes BioAg. He will be responsible for managing global relationships and identifying, evaluating and developing partnerships and/or licensing with global agricultural companies. Scott will work out of the BioAg head office in Saskatoon, Sask.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, has announced the introduction of Eastern and Western Canada commercial units with responsibility for sales and marketing, production and research. Bryce Eger has been appointed business director of the Eastern Canada commercial unit, while Greg Stokke has been appointed business director of the Western Canada commercial unit. In addition, the Pioneer head office and a number of national positions will relocate from Chatham to the new DuPont Canada headquarters, scheduled to open this fall in Mississauga. Pioneer plans to add a number of positions to its team over the next five years, including agronomists, research scientists, production technicians and sales professionals.

Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. has expanded its team with the appointments of Mejda Lortie as director of regulatory and government affairs and Rick Bennett as plant breeder. Lortie will manage the regulatory program for the company’s proprietary Engineered Trait Loci technology and Carinata crop platform. Bennett will lead all Carinata breeding activities and manage the Carinata breeding program in North and South America.

Product News

BASF has reached an exclusive supply agreement with Monsanto Company for fungicide seed treatments for cotton and soybeans in North America. Monsanto’s next generation Acceleron Seed Treatment Products for soybeans and cotton will contain F500―the same active ingredient found in Headline fungicide―and the innovation Xemium fungicide, which is expected to be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this year. Under the agreement, Monsanto will have exclusive rights to commercialize the new seed treatments.

Syngenta Canada Inc. has received registration for Vibrance, a novel seed care compound for stronger, healthier roots. The active ingredient in Vibrance is sedaxane, a new mode of action which defends roots against certain diseases carried in the soil and air as well as against seed infection with best-in-class rhizoctonia activity. “Vibrance is the first Syngenta molecule developed specifically as a seed treatment delivering the optimal combination of systemic movement and soil mobility,” said Mitch Reid, seed care asset lead for Syngenta Canada. The products will be available for purchase this July.

Bayer CropScience has been granted the first regulatory approval worldwide for its new fungicidal seed treatment solution EverGol in Canada. The product provides control against Rhizoctonia solani, an important disease in canola. “Along with seed-borne diseases, it can protect canola from flea beetles up to the four-leaf stage, from seed rot, seedling blight, damping off and early season rot caused by disease organisms such as pythium, rhizoctonia and fusarium,” says Roger Rotariu, manager, oilseed crops fungicides, insecticides and seed treatments with Bayer. Prosper EverGol will be transitioned onto InVigor seed sold through farm supply retailers across Canada beginning for the 2013 season.

Beginning this fall, Pioneer Hi-Bred will sell its soybean products by seed count per unit rather than weight for varieties sold throughout North America for the 2013 planting season. The number of soybean seeds sold per unit by Pioneer will be 140,000. According to the company, the advantage for customers is that buying by seed count provides a simple, convenient and more accurate means of planning their soybean crop.

Business News

Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences have announced a joint agreement to offer two reduced refuge trait stacks to independent seed companies through Syngenta-owned GreenLeaf Genetics LLC. This agreement will make trait stacks more widely available to U.S. and Canadian corn growers, beginning with the Agrisure Viptera 3220 and Agrisure 3122 trait stacks. Under the terms of the agreement, Syngenta’s Agrisure traits and DAS’ Herculex traits will be out-licensed for trait stack combinations through GreenLeaf Genetics, which will serve as the primary contact for independent seed companies.

Novozymes and Syngenta have signed a global agreement under which Syngenta will work with Novozymes to commercialize JumpStart technology. The two companies will jointly develop the market for JumpStart in combination with Syngenta’s seed care portfolio on arable crops, including cereals and corn. The agreement extends the geographical potential of JumpStart, currently sold mainly in North America, to the rest of the world.

Nufarm Limited and Sumitomo Chemical Company Limited have announced that new distribution arrangements between the two companies have been put in place for Canada. Nufarm Agriculture Inc. is now the Canadian distributor for crop protection and specialty products of both the Valent USA Corporation and the Valent BioSciences Corporation, companies of the Sumitomo Chemical Group.

Grain handler Paterson Grain has been tapped to handle contracting and distribution for Canada’s first commercial variety of an oilseed aimed at the biofuel processing market. Saskatoon-based Agrisoma Biosciences has named Paterson as its long-term partner for identity-preserved distribution of Resonance, a carinata variety developed for the Prairies’ brown soil zone. Resonance, the first carinata to be commercially grown in this country, will be distributed through Paterson outlets, which will handle its commercial contracting with growers.

The BoMill TriQ seed sorter, imported from Sweden and currently being tested at the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Feed Research Centre in North Battleford, promises to create value for farmers, deliver consistent product to processors and protect export markets. The CFRC is the first place in North America to install and evaluate the seed sorter. The technology promises to help Prairie grain producers maximize value, quality and food safety by separating sub-standard kernels such as those that have sprouted or are contaminated with Fusarium head blight.

Viterra Inc. and Farmers Edge Precision Consulting Inc. have reached an agreement to jointly provide variable rate technology services to farm customers in Western Canada using Viterra’s Virtual Soil Testing technology, AgroMax-VST. “Variable rate and AgroMax-VST enable the grower to easily determine the correct amount of nutrients required to maximize crop returns. Advanced agronomy technologies coupled with intensive soil testing provides the information needed to determine customized fertilizer requirements at the field level,” said Doug Wonnacott, chief operating officer, agri-products for Viterra.

Industry News

Viterra Inc. and Ducks Unlimited Canada have renewed their forage incentive program in 2012. Through this unique partnership, Viterra and DUC are offering eligible producers an incentive to plant forages for pasture and hayland. Additional money may be available to landowners who are also willing to restore small wetlands. “We are pleased to play a pivotal role in providing product and program incentives to help Prairie producers realize the benefits of growing our innovative forage varieties on their land,” said Kevin Hallborg, Viterra’s vice-president of marketing, sales and country operations for agri-products.

An investment by the Government of Canada of more than $88,000 will help the Canadian Soybean Council and the Canadian International Grains Institute work together to create a targeted trade development strategy aimed at boosting soybean sales in key markets abroad. As part of their soybean strategy, the CSC and CIGI are concentrating their efforts on key markets such as Japan, the European Union and Southeast Asia.

The Western Grains Research Foundation has released a statement on the federal government’s annual Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit, which offers producers money back on their check-off investments. The tax credit percentage for producers who contributed in 2011 to the wheat and barley check-off, which is administered by WGRF, is 84 per cent for wheat and 83 per cent for barley.

A newly-opened, world-class Greenhouse Research and Production Complex near Brooks, Alta. is an investment of more than $17 million by the Alberta government in the province’s greenhouse and crop research and production industry. Featuring unmatched capabilities in research, demonstration, development, commercialization, education and extension, it will provide solutions, support and training for producers, growers, agribusinesses, scientists and educators.

The third edition of the Buenos Aires Seed Convention, BASC2012, will be held September 4 to 5, 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The convention is open to colleague companies working in the fields of breeding, research, production and marketing of forage and turf seeds. Since its first edition, BASC has been attended by companies from Argentina, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Uruguay, including over 100 delegates who negotiated important contracts, exchanged information on the global market and expanded their trade reach. Early registration is welcome.

An International Seed Testing Association Statistics Seminar and two ISTA workshops will be held in Canada this September:
• ISTA Seminar on Statistics in Seed Testing: September 26-28 in Ottawa, Ont.
• ISTA Workshop on Vigour: September 11-14 in Nisku, Alta.
• ISTA Workshop on Germination: September 17-19 in Saskatoon, Sask.

The University of California, Davis Plant Breeding Academy is a professional certificate program that covers the fundamentals and the most recent developments in plant breeding theory and practice. Participants attend six six-day sessions at UC Davis, hearing from instructors who are internationally-recognized experts in plant breeding and seed technology. The 2012 PBA class begins in September, and applications are currently being accepted. Several changes are being made to the program including an expanded section on molecular marker use, genome selection, non-replicated designs, GxE and more.

The number of farms in Canada fell 10.3 per cent from 2006 to 2011, according to Statistics Canada’s latest Census of Agriculture. The census shows there were 205,730 farms last year, a decrease of 23,643 over five years. However, the farms that remain are getting bigger. In the five years to 2011, the average size of Canadian farms increased 6.9 per cent, from 295 hectares to 315 hectares. The largest increase was in Saskatchewan, where the average farm size increased 15.1 per cent to 675 hectares. In terms of what farmers are growing, in 2011, canola area surpassed that of spring wheat. The area of canola reported was 19.4 million acres, a 55.9 per cent increase from 2006, while spring wheat area fell by 10.0 per cent to 16.9 million acres.