Seed World

Industry News | January 2015



People News

Bayer CropScience Canada Inc. president and CEO Kamel Beliazi will assume the role of head of seeds for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Beliazi will relocate to Lyon, France, and become a member of the global leadership team for seeds and the management team of crop protection in Europe. Since 2009, Beliazi has led the Canadian business as president and CEO and previously held a number of roles throughout his 24 years with the company. Al Driver, vice-president of marketing and business development, will replace Beliazi as president and CEO of Bayer CropScience Canada Inc. Driver will report to Jim Blome, head of North America for Bayer CropScience, and will remain located in Calgary, Alta.

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has appointed Brian Innes as the its new vice-president of government relations. Innes will lead the full spectrum of the CCC’s government relations activities including market access and regulatory affairs. Innes joined the CCC in 2011. As market access manager, Innes has concentrated on market access and government relations with a special focus on international trade and pesticide-related issues, such as pollinator health.

Soy Canada has named Jim Everson as executive director of the new value chain association. “Jim’s experience with the grains and oilseeds sector, and with agriculture trade and market access issues, will be a huge asset to Canada’s soybean sector,” says Mark Huston, Soy Canada’s chair. “Soy Canada with Jim’s leadership will serve all participants in the soybean value chain and drive growth for the sector.” The national organization, which was announced in September, brings together all elements of the Canadian soybean sector including producers, processors, commodity and food-grade exporters and seed companies.

FP Genetics has promoted Denise Schmidt to national sales manager. In her new role, Schmidt is responsible for all sales activities within FP Genetics and all regional territory managers and contract sales personnel will report to her. In addition, Schmidt will be responsible for the management of all sales agreements with other stakeholders in FP Genetics’ seed business. As a member of the senior management team, Schmidt will work with the team to develop and implement the aggressive growth strategy of the company.

Internationally recognized McGill University plant scientist Donald Smith will head the scientific advisory board of Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based ag biotech company that develops biological soil, seed and plant accelerators. “Smith and his colleagues at McGill have been testing Inocucor’s biological products and processes for agriculture since 2012,” says Donald Marvin, Inocucor president and CEO. “His understanding of the potential impact of our technology in the agricultural market makes him the perfect choice to lead our advisory board.” Smith will help assemble plant scientists, agronomists and agriculture industry leaders to advise Inocucor’s scientific team as it continues to commercialize the company’s technology for mainstream production agriculture.

Product News

The Canadian government invests $1.9 million to the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC). CMBTC will provide technical training and problem solving to stakeholders, as well as direct sales support to international customers. CMBTC will work to ensure new varieties meet international customers’ needs. “Canada’s malting barley industry is a global leader for the value-added services that we provide,” says Peter Watts, CMBTC managing director and director of brewing. “The funding for this project will help provide technical support to maintain existing market share and generate growth in expanding markets.”

Two new high-performance hybrid varieties have been added to BASF’s Clearfield Production System for canola for the 2015 growing season. The new hybrids, Pioneer Hybrid 45H76 and Nexera Hybrid 2020 CL both offer improved standability, higher yield potential and are non-genetically modified because they have been bred through traditional methods. “These new hybrids demonstrate the strong genetics available as a part of the Clearfield Production System for canola,” says Danielle Eastman, Clearfield brand manager at BASF Canada.

Clean Seed Capital Group delivers the next generation in precision agriculture with its CX-6 Smart Seeder, which can customize seed and fertilizer rates within each row in a field. “The CX-6 can meter up to six different products right above each row opener,” says Colin Rosengren, Clean Seed vice-president of agronomic practices and protocols.

Valent Canada Inc. has appointed Nufarm Agriculture Inc. as the exclusive distributor of NipsIt seed treatments for on-farm use in Canada. NipsIt Inside is an insecticide seed treatment, containing the active ingredient clothianidin, providing wheat growers protection against key insects, including wireworms, through contact and super-systemic activity. NipsIt Inside stays in the seed/root zone longer due to its lower water solubility. NipsIt Suite is an all-in-one seed treatment offering, containing the fungicidal active ingredients metconazole and metalaxyl, and insecticidal active ingredient clothianidin.

Bayer CropScience offers a new tool in the fight against disease with the launch of Stratego PRO, a broad-spectrum fungicide with two modes of action to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases in winter wheat and soybeans. Bayer also introduced Delaro, a new broad-spectrum fungicide for pulses and soybeans to be released in Western Canada for 2015.

FP Genetics offers flax growers a new variety to plant in 2015. AAC Bravo was developed at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Morden Research Station in Manitoba. AAC Bravo matures early and has excellent straw strength. In addition, it’s a high yielding variety with disease resistance to powdery mildew and fusarium wilt. FP Genetics has also announced that CDC Plentiful CWRS will be available for the 2015 production year. Developed by the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, CDC Plentiful CWRS has excellent quality and protein and brings added tolerance to fusarium head blight and other leaf diseases.

Syngenta Canada Inc. has received registration of Fortenza seed treatment, a new seed-applied insecticide for early-season cutworm control that can be used in conjunction with foliar products as part of canola growers’ cutworm management strategy. Fortenza contains the active ingredient cyantraniliprole, which belongs to the bisamide chemistry group. This is a different chemistry group from those found in many seed care products. The Fortenza and Helix Vibrance combination includes four fungicides and two insecticides. In addition to the control of flea beetles and cutworms, this solution also controls a wide range of soil-borne diseases, including rhizoctonia, pythiumand and fusarium. Fortenza is only available for purchase on pre-treated canola seed.

Syngenta Canada Inc. has launched Cruiser Vibrance Quattro seed treatment, a solution for western Canadian cereal growers, delivering control of a broad range of seed- and soil-borne diseases and insect pests. “Cruiser Vibrance Quattro is the Seedcare solution of choice for cereal growers faced with hard-to-control disease and insect pressure,” says Nathan Klages, product lead of Seedcare with Syngenta Canada.

Business News

Bayer CropScience has unveiled new improvements of the largest formulation, filling and packaging emulsifiable concentrate facility in Regina, Sask. Bayer has invested $6.5 million to upgrade the facility with new state-of-the-art fill and pack lines designed to increase capacity, flexibility and efficiency for future growth opportunities. The Regina site is 161,000 square feet covering 11.6 acres, producing 30 million litres annually across 40 products, including packaging of treated seeds. The facility employs more than 140 full-time and seasonal employees.

The Canadian Wheat Board announced the construction of its fourth state-of-the-art grain elevator near St. Adolphe, Man. The new elevator will feature 34,000 tonnes of storage and is scheduled to open in early 2016. “The Red River Valley includes some of the most fertile, high-producing lands on the Prairies,” says Ian White, CWB president and CEO. “CWB is looking forward to putting down roots in the community with another modern, efficient and easily accessible elevator.” The facility will feature a 134-car loop track, loading rate of up to 1,600 tonnes per hour and cleaning facilities along with railway access to its Thunder Bay terminal as well as to western ports and U.S. and Mexican destinations. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-October.

MANA Canada has rebranded with a new identity. The move comes on the heels of the global re-branding of MANA Canada’s parent company, Makhteshim Agan Industries, which took place in April 2014. Until now, Makhteshim Agan’s subsidiaries around the world, including MANA, operated under 26 unique local brand names. Now, that is reduced to one unified global brand — Adama. Adama’s Canadian operation launched in 2008 with three staff and eight registered products. Most recently, it opened an office in Winnipeg and now offers more than 20 products.

Legumex Walker Inc. has entered into a long-term strategic alliance with The Scoular Company, an agricultural marketing company with global trading partners and operations across North America. The alliance comprises two key elements. First, the company’s Pacific Coast Canola subsidiary and Scoular have agreed to enter into a long-term arrangement in which Scoular will procure all canola seed for processing at the PCC plant and will market all of the canola meal and oil produced. Second, Scoular will invest $16.5 million to help link Scoular’s marketing and transportation networks to Legumex Walker’s specialty crops business. Canola production contracts are expected to increase with the goal of optimizing the volume and product mix at the PCC plant in Washington.

As part of its 80th anniversary celebration, BrettYoung has opened its new state-of-the-art, high-capacity, seed treating and coating facility in Winnipeg, Man. “It not only enables us to better serve the needs of our existing customers, but also supports the launch of new products and services,” says Calvin Sonntag, CEO of BrettYoung. With an annual capacity of more than 50 million pounds of seed, the new facility features the latest equipment and process technologies to apply seed treatments and biologicals as well as nutrient and polymer coatings to canola, forage and turf seed.

Inocucor Technologies Inc. and McGill University have signed a research and licensing agreement to coproduce a new class of sustainable bio-stimulant products for large-scale agriculture that has the potential to increase crop yields by at least 10 to 15 per cent. Inocucor’s patented technology, developed at the company’s laboratory near Montreal, Que., is based on the emerging science of microbial consortia or groups of yeast and bacteria that work together to sustainably improve soil quality and accelerate plant growth. The goal of the research collaboration is to identify and harness the power of Inocucor’s active microbes for the development of new sustainable bio-stimulants for crops such as canola, corn, soybeans and wheat.

Industry News

During the next four years, the Canadian Wheat Alliance along with KWS and Syngenta Inc. will partner to develop high-quality wheat by improving existing doubled haploid technologies. These methods expose immature grains to treatments that double the genetic material and reduce the length of crop improvement cycles. The partners will increase efficiency to produce fertile doubled haploid wheat plants compared to more traditional methods. The partners will also leverage the new and more efficient doubled haploid technology platform in their wheat breeding programs.

A recent study was conducted by Research and Markets titled Canada seed treatment market – growth, trends and forecasts by application area and crop type (corn/maize, soybeans, wheat, rice, canola, cotton and other crops 2014-2020). According to the authors, the Canadian market for seed treatments is projected to reach US$81.2 million by 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8 per cent from 2014 to 2020. While chemical agents constitute the largest application segment estimated to account for a share of 94.5 per cent in 2014, demand for biological agents is likely to record the fastest CAGR at seven per cent. By crop type, demand for seed treatment is the largest in corn/maize (estimated 2014 share of 32.6 per cent) and fastest growing in canola (seven per cent CAGR for 2014-2020).

The Canadian government is providing $3 million in funding to the Flax Council of Canada to improve the genetic performance and agronomics of flax. The investment will support the continued research and development of new flax varieties through the use of the Rapid Development Trait System, a regulated non-genetically modified conversion system that can produce new traits in flax. In addition, agronomic best management practices will be developed to help farmers achieve higher yields. Under this project, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers will collaborate with industry on a number of activities, including research into disease management, seed quality and genetic resistance to heat and drought.

A new study conducted by AgInfomatics LLC documents the value of neonicotinoids to agriculture, as well as residential and urban landscapes, and the significant implications if these products were no longer available. The study evaluated seed treatments, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the United States and Canada. Research included crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, sorghum and canola, and specialty crops such as citrus, vegetables and grapes, plus turf, ornamental and landscape uses. Research results prove that neonicotinoids add billions of dollars to the economy, and benefit entire communities — not just individual growers. In addition, research shows a loss of neonicotinoids would force growers to rely on a few, older classes of insecticides. Across selected commodity crops evaluated, the study found that each pound of neonicotinoid lost would be replaced by nearly five pounds of older insecticides.

The Western Grains Research Foundation has received an investment of $2.16 million to address the crop sector’s need for improved crop research and development. The project aims to better understand the interactions among crops, soils, environment and economics, and how to grow crops effectively and profitably while respecting the environment and its biodiversity. Industry researchers, in collaboration with Agriculture Canada, will focus on several priorities, such as developing crop management strategies that are beneficial to the environment and producers and studying how to control fungal diseases through timely applications. Other research activities will look at the interaction among plants and soil microorganisms and develop ways to improve the efficiency of cropping systems through the use of different inoculants. Researchers are also working to develop mobile phone apps which can be used for the integrated pest management of weeds, insects and diseases.

From a seed lending library to a seed bank, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture is becoming the region’s hub for all things seed. Atlantic Canada’s regional seed bank, in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada and the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, promotes conservation and advancement of seed biodiversity, access to seed, and the promotion of seed production under ecologically sustainable practices. One of the objectives of The Bauta Family Initiative and Seeds of Diversity Canada is to encourage applied research, as well as training and education and public access to seed. The seeds will be used by researchers, plant breeders and farmers and stored on campus. The seed bank will not be accessible to the public. Instead, trained seed savers will be responsible for multiplying the seed, which often includes more difficult species. While the bank won’t host large quantities of seeds, the variety will be quite wide, starting with storing 24 varieties of 10 different crops including tomatoes, beans, peppers and wheat.

The Canadian government is investing $15 million in the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) to support market development efforts and sales of Canadian field crops in global markets through customer education and training. The investment will support Cigi’s ongoing efforts to share technical and market knowledge with customers around the globe, further strengthening the competitive advantage for Canadian field crops. This will be achieved through technical exchanges, new crop missions, educational programs for global clients and domestic training.

Western Grain Research Foundation (WGRF) plans to invest more than $18 million dollars into field crop research in 2015. “WGRF is the largest producer funder of crop research in Canada,” says Dave Sefton, WGRF board chair. “Crop research is vital for the development of new farm management practices and improved crop varieties. WGRF invests in research covering a variety of field crops. As producers we should be very proud of this investment because we will be the ones who benefit most from this increased commitment to research.” WGRF currently co-funds, along with 30 organizations, on more than 125 research projects worth more than $22 million.