Seed World

Industry News | July 2014



People News

The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SBDC) welcomes Jillian McDonald as its new executive director. McDonald has been involved in a variety of areas in the agriculture industry for the past 10 years, and brings a strong background in research, international trade, business development and communications. Previously, she worked with the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership, operating a private consulting company and also as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Saskatchewan in the College of Agriculture.

The Canadian International Grains Institute has hired JoAnne Buth as CEO, effective Aug. 11. She will take the reins from Earl Geddes who will retire Sept. 8, 2014. Previously, Buth was with the Canola Council of Canada, serving as vice-president from 1999 to 2007 and president from 2007 to 2012. Buth has also served on many agriculture advisory committees in private industry and government. She was appointed to the Canadian Senate in January 2012 where her extensive knowledge of agriculture was a strong attribute.

The Alberta Wheat Commission announced that Tom Steve has joined the organization as its new general manager. Steve will work toward building on the organization’s strategic plan and focus on enhancing Alberta’s wheat industry. Most recently, Steve worked with the newly formed Saskatchewan wheat and barley commissions, directing the activities of these two organizations to support their goals and objectives.

Winnipeg-based Haplotech, a privately owned and independent technical service provider in the area of plant breeding, has hired Roger Watts to assume responsibilities in business development and project management. Watts will take the lead on several new projects including P3 Hybrids programs in wheat and canola. Most recently, Watts held the position of senior research associate with DuPont Pioneer.

Arysta LifeScience North America has hired Kevin Kirkup as its new territory sales manager for the company’s western Manitoba region. Previously, Kirkup served as a sales agronomist for Cargill and Pembina Co-op, where he provided agronomic advice and sold crop inputs.

Dow AgroSciences announced a new leadership structure for businesses in North America as the company continues to implement its growth strategy. Rajan Gajaria has been promoted to the new position of global leader of North America and Latin America. Gajaria succeeds Stan Howell, who has been named global general manager for AgroFresh, a Dow business that is a global leader in advanced proprietary technologies for the horticulture and agronomic markets.

Product News

Bayer CropScience announced that its new seed lubricant, called Fluency Agent, is available for use by growers through seed companies in Canada. Fluency Agent is designed to replace standard talc and graphite seed lubricants. The use of this farmer-applied seed flow lubricant with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds is required by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency during the 2014 seeding season. Fluency Agent helps reduce dust released and the potential risk of exposure to pollinators from treated seeds during the seeding process.

Syngenta Canada Inc. registered Cruiser 5FS seed treatment, offering growers the convenience of applying Cruiser 5FS seed treatment on-farm, using a closed-system treater for control of pea leaf weevils and wireworms. This registration allows growers to apply the Group 4 seed treatment to wheat, barley, rye, triticale, buckwheat, millet, dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins and fava bean seed. According to Syngenta, Cruiser 5FS seed treatment effectively protects seed and seedlings from insect pests, ensuring that plants get off to a healthy, vigourous start.

Engage Agro and Heads Up Plant Protectants entered into a formal exclusive marketing and distribution agreement for Canada. Under this agreement, Engage will work with Heads Up Plant Protectants to execute sales, marketing and distribution of Heads Up seed treatments in Canada across all of the registered crops. According to the companies, Heads Up provides season-long protection and results in healthier, stronger plants with an improved stand and is registered for use on soybeans, potatoes and dry beans. The companies are also working to expand the label.

AgriCoat has introduced a new organic seed treatment that it says improves protection against fungal root decay. Available for the North American market, AgriCoat’s NATURAL III is a registered organic seed treatment, which provides a solution to soil disease pressure in spinach, tomato, pepper, cucumber and other important vegetable crops. The active ingredient, registered as a biological fungicide, colonizes the root system and protects against harmful fungi. Suitable for organic and conventional vegetable production, NATURAL III improves fungicidal activity, which can result in better stands and increased yields.

Cibus Global’s first commercial product, SU Canola (Sulfonylurea-tolerant), has received plant novel trait approval by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada. With this regulatory approval, Cibus can fully commercialize this product in Canada. Cibus SU Canola is an alternative weed control strategy that provides farmers with stewardship options to deal with weed resistance. “Cibus’ SU herbicide-tolerant system controls glyphosate-resistant weeds, such as pigweed, and is an excellent crop rotational partner for glyphosate-tolerant soybeans,” says David Voss, vice-president of commercial development for Cibus.

Syngenta Canada Inc. launched Vibrance Maxx seed treatment, a combination of Apron Maxx RTA and Vibrance, for use on peas, lentils and chickpeas. Vibrance Maxx seed treatment provides control of early-season diseases, including Rhizoctonia, to help ensure healthy stand establishment. Vibrance Maxx controls seed decay, seedling blight, damping-off caused by Rhizoctonia soliani and post-emergent damping-off. This product also helps manage soil-borne disease pressures, which are often associated with short rotations and increased soil conservation practices. For growers who require control of insects, such as pea leaf weevil and wireworms, Vibrance Maxx can be mixed with Cruiser 5FS. The Cruiser 5FS product can be mixed and applied on-farm using a closed-system treater.

Agrium Inc. announced that its precision agriculture offering will be re-branded as Echelon, formerly NutriScription HD. Agrium’s North American-based crop production services retail business provides precision agriculture services on more than 15 million acres throughout North America. According to the company, Echelon will include best-in-class solutions for precision soil sampling, variable-rate nutrient and seeding recommendations, yield data analysis, weather monitoring, precision field scouting and tissue sampling, aerial imagery analysis, record-keeping and reporting. Echelon’s compatibility with most major equipment and controller manufacturers enables growers to access and act on their data from one system. Echelon is available in the United States and Canada.

For the first time, growers and dealers saw the new 2016 Seed Hawk Seeding System, which will be available in spring 2015, at Canada’s Farm Progress Show 2014 in Regina, Sask. The new system offers growers more precise and efficient seeding. With exceptional metering accuracy and wireless blockage control, the 2016 Seed Hawk Seeding System features new standard technology, such as tanks with up to 980-bushel capacity, including a fourth tank, larger tires for even better flotation, and tool bars as wide as 84 feet carrying the outperforming Seed Hawk opener.

Business News

Canterra Seeds works to increase its internal research and product development program. “In 2014, we will test five times as many potential varieties as in 2013, including material from the very early stages of variety development,” says Erin Armstrong, director of research and product development at Canterra Seeds. The company also plans to run its own variety registration trials for the first time this year, in addition to entering key lines into the publicly coordinated trials. Armstrong notes that cereals continue to comprise the majority of the varieties evaluated, and expects farmers to see the first of these products in the spring of 2016.

NorthStar Genetics appointed FP Genetics to manage seed production and logistics for the Saskatchewan soybean seed market. The early-maturing NorthStar varieties NSC Moosomin RR2Y, NSC Vito RR2Y and NSC Reston RR2Y is the focal point for production in 2014 and the objective is to produce enough local seed to meet farm demand in the future. “This agreement with NorthStar Genetics creates a partnership that will deliver the best soybean genetics to Saskatchewan farmers,” says Rod Merryweather, FP Genetics CEO. “Seed growers will also benefit because soybeans are an ideal rotational crop and will help us produce even better cereal crops.”

Lallemand Plant Care collaborates with BrettYoung Seeds Limited in the North American ag-biological product markets. Lallemand Plant Care has acquired the intellectual property rights and associated assets related to the biological products portfolio of BrettYoung, including the BioBoost line of products. BrettYoung will continue to serve its customers as the exclusive distributor of these products. Lallemand and BrettYoung will extend the current range of biological products distributed by BrettYoung through new solutions developed by Lallemand.

Compass Minerals expanded its position in the agricultural fertilizer market through the acquisition of Wolf Trax Inc., a global plant nutrition company. “We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to fuelling the growth that Wolf Trax has demonstrated,” says Keith Espelien, Compass Minerals specialty fertilizer senior vice-president. “It’s important to emphasize that business continues as usual. Fertilizer dealers can continue to access Wolf Trax products through their traditional distribution channels.”

Viterra Inc. intends to build a high throughput grain elevator at Kindersley, Sask. The new facility will have a storage capacity of 34,000 metrics tonnes and a 108-railcar spot. “Viterra has a long history of serving farm customers in the Kindersley area, and we are pleased to build on this relationship through a new state-of-the-art facility,” says Kyle Jeworski, Viterra’s president and CEO for North America. “This project supports our ongoing strategy to optimize our footprint, and ideally positions us to provide our customers with expert advice and the best marketing opportunities domestically and around the world.”

Monsanto Canada released the Weed ID App, an innovative weed identification tool for use in Canada. The app hosts a library of more than 48 weeds, each accompanied by high-resolution images and detailed descriptions. It uses characteristics like growth stage, shape and colour to categorize each weed and narrow search results. “The farming landscape is changing, and Monsanto aims to provide innovative solutions to help farmers adapt to this change,” says Jenna Book, crop protection marketing manager for Monsanto Canada. “The Weed ID App is an easy-to-use, informative tool that farmers can use every day to support their weed management strategy.”

CWB has begun construction of its first state-of-the-art grain elevator in Bloom, Man. The elevator is expected to be ready to receive grain for the 2015 harvest. Once completed, the facility will feature industry-leading railcar loading times and 33,900 metric tonnes of storage. The new elevator will feature a 17,400 metric tonnes workhouse with cleaning facilities, and 16,500 metric tonnes of steel storage capacity. A 130-car loop track will facilitate fast and efficient car loading at up to 60,000 bushels per hour. The elevator will be serviced by CN Railway’s mainline. The building of this elevator marks CWB’s first construction of a grain-handling facility and adds to the company’s growing asset network that includes Mission Terminal in Thunder Bay, Les Elevateurs des Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, as well as a minority interest in Prairie West Terminal.

Industry News

The Canadian Wheat Alliance (CWA) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) will collaborate on research to provide farmers in Canada and in developing countries access to stronger, more resistant durum wheat. The research represents an opportunity to improve durum wheat’s resistance to diseases of concern to CIMMYT and CWA, while providing economic benefits for wheat farmers. Researchers will seek to reduce the effects of wheat rust diseases and of Fusarium head blight, a cause of dangerous toxins in grain, by increasing durum wheat’s resistance to these fungal diseases, leveraging the expertise of CWA in wheat genomics approaches and CIMMYT’s expertise in field trials.

The Canadian federal and Manitoba provincial governments, the grain industry, researchers, farm organizations and other stakeholders will invest substantial resources during the next five years to solidify Manitoba’s place as a national leader in grain research, production and processing. The federal and provincial governments will provide a combined $20 million toward projects as part of the new Grain Innovation Hub, supplemented by additional funding from industry partners expected to bring the total investment to more than $33 million. The Grain Innovation Hub will help improve production, processing and value-added uses for cereals, oilseeds and pulses through research and other initiatives. Governments will work with stakeholders throughout the grain industry to identify and pursue suitable projects that elevate grain-based opportunities to a global scale.

The Canadian government is investing more than $230,000 in the Canadian Special Crops Association to increase export sales of special crops and increase the competitiveness of the mustard and sunflower seed industries. The investment will help the CSCA promote pulses and special crops on trade missions and at international trade shows, as well as advocate for favourable policies that will position Canada as a world leader and supplier of choice.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has launched a renewed five-year Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) to help the sector continue to adapt and remain competitive. Under CAAP (2014-2019), more than $50 million will be available for investments in industry-led projects that will help the sector seize opportunities, respond to emerging issues, and investigate and pilot approaches to deal with new and ongoing challenges. The renewed program will enable the agricultural industry to proactively tap into opportunities and tackle unforeseen challenges.

The Alberta Wheat Commission plans to invest $1.5 million into 10 agronomic and breeding/genetic research projects as part of the Agriculture Funding Consortium — a group of 14 funding organizations that have partnered together to collaborate on agriculture research funding. The investment will fund five research projects in the area of breeding/genetics, four in agronomic management and one that covers both agronomy and genetics. To leverage research dollars, AWC partnered with several AFC members on these projects, including the Western Grains Research Foundation, Alberta Innovates BioSolutions, Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Potato Growers of Alberta and the Alfalfa Seed Commission. The total investment for all 10 projects is $9 million and includes funding targeted at national, provincial and university institutions.

The University of Guelph has received a $750,000 donation from Bayer CropScience to help support and preserve pollinator health through sustainable pest management. The funds will go toward supporting the creation of the Centre for Beneficial Insect Health through the School of Environmental Sciences. The centre will emphasize sustainable pest management in agriculture, including work on field and horticultural crops, greenhouse production, insecticide resistance and biological insect control.

DuPont Pioneer received a combined grant of $1 million from two Alberta organizations for the development of shorter-season corn hybrids and the expansion of corn cultivation in Alberta. Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions and the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund Ltd. will each invest $500,000 throughout a five-year period. “We are pleased to receive this grant, as it signifies the value of early maturity corn hybrids for Western Canada,” says Greg Stokke, DuPont Pioneer Western Canada business director. “Corn and soybeans are valuable rotational crops that could become widely established in Western Canada during the next decade, further increasing grower productivity and profitability.”



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