Canada OKs Bayer takeover of Monsanto

-

Canada’s Competition Bureau has conditionally approved Bayer’s planned takeover of Monsanto.

Its approval is contingent on Bayer AG divesting some of its Canadian canola, soybean and vegetable seed, traits and herbicide assets before it will allow the German pharmaceutical giant to purchase agricultural business Monsanto Company.

The watchdog says in a consent agreement filed Wednesday that if the assets aren’t divested the takeover would likely “substantially lessen” competition in Canada’s seeds and crop treatment sector.

Bayer previously said the assets would be sold to German chemical company BASF SE for 5.9 billion euros.

 The bureau says it is reviewing the suitability of BASF as a buyer for the assets.

Bayer has canola seed facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia and herbicide operations within the country.

 Its consent agreement comes a day after Bayer won approval from the European Union and the U.S. for its US$66-billion takeover of Monsanto.

It took two years for it to get U.S. approval because of concerns around the impact the deal would have on farmers.

Bayer still needs approval from Mexico before it can close on the deal.

Alberta Pulse Growers now a member of Soy Canada

-

The Alberta Pulse Growers Commission (APG) recently became a member of Soy Canada to reflect the increased interest Alberta producers have in growing soybeans.

According to APG chair D’Arcy Hilgartner, APG has been observing on the sideline the development and evolution of Soy Canada.

“As our growers begin to see the opportunity that new genetics provides in their area for soybean production, we want to be on top of the industry challenges and opportunities,” he says. “Soy Canada will take care of the greater issues around market access, market development and is a policy voice for the soybean industry. We look forward to participating as a member of the organization.”

Soy Canada is the national association uniting all groups driving the Canadian soybean industry, from farm to marketplace.

“Committed plant science companies and innovative producers have been key partners as Canadian soybean production has expanded from one to eight provinces in a single generation,” said Ron Davidson, executive director of Soy Canada. “Soy Canada is very pleased to welcome Alberta Pulse Growers and its members as important new and valued participants in the national voice of this country’s soybean sector.”

Soybeans are expected to be planted on 6.5 million acres in Canada this year with acreage in Alberta increasing to 21,000. Canadian farmers are on track to reach the industry target of 10 million acres by 2027.

Soybeans are included under APG’s purview and, therefore, levy collected when soybeans are sold to Alberta dealers goes to APG. The organization then uses the levy to support agronomy, research, extension, marketing and other activities to benefit soybean growers as it does for the growers of peas, beans, faba beans, lentils and chickpeas.

Current soybean research projects supported by APG include work on identifying promising genotypes and optimizing seeding density, nitrogen fixation and irrigation for cost-effective soybean production in Alberta.

Wireworms – We’re Just Seeing the Tip of the Iceberg

-

Mature larvae of the Hypnoidus bicolor (top) and Selatosomus destructor, the two most important wireworm pests in the Prairie provinces.

Damage to field crops by wireworms is poised to escalate across the Prairies. Neil Whatley, crop specialist at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, explains how producers can be proactive about finding solutions in their areas by submitting samples to Canada’s wireworm research team.

“Lindane insecticide, such as Vitavax Dual, etc., kept wireworm numbers low for several decades on the Prairies,” says Whatley. “Since the ban of this organochlorine pesticide in 2004, wireworm damage in field crops is rebounding. Some researchers say we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

“Varying from region to region, around 30 different pest wireworm species exhibit diverse behaviours and lifecycles, making a single control measure improbable,” explains Whatley. “An individual region may contain more than one wireworm species.”

Depending on the species, the worm-like larvae can feed on plant roots and germinating seeds for up to 3 to 5 years before developing into the adult click beetle stage. Adds Whatley, “While current seed treatments may repel wireworms for a growing season, their populations continue to increase, and these treatment measures begin to fail.”

Due to their preference to eat annual or perennial grasses, wireworm populations can build up in fields that have extended periods of cereal crops or pasture. Pulses, oilseeds, potatoes and sugar beets are susceptible to wireworm damage when grown in rotation with cereals. Crops grown in recently broken sod are especially vulnerable. Non-farmed areas like grassy ditches and undisturbed field borders also harbour wireworms and click beetles.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) wireworm research team is identifying wireworm species and researching new control measures. “The research team needs to know which specific wireworm species dominates in your farming region so the correct control option(s) can be applied as the problem worsens,” explains Whatley.

Dr. Haley Catton, cereal crop entomologist with AAFC, is the prairies representative on the team and based at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. The team is asking for producers to submit wireworm samples from their fields.

“Due to a greater amount of soil moisture, wireworms migrate near to the soil surface in early spring when soil temperatures rise above 5 C, making spring the best time to bait and capture wireworms,” adds Whatley. “Baiting can be as simple as burying a cup of a cereal-based product like flour, bran or wheat seeds to a depth of four to six inches, or 10 to 15 cm, into the soil at marked locations.”

Dig up the baits 10 to 14 days later, collecting the wireworms and some of the not too wet field soil. Insert the sample into a hard plastic container for shipping. There may be more than one species present, so collect as many wireworms as possible.

Mail your wireworm sample to:

Dr. Haley Catton
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Lethbridge Research and Development Centre
5403 – 1 Ave S
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1

Include a brief description of when and where the sample was collected (nearest town or address), information about the crop rotation in the sampled field over the past 4 years, name and telephone number. Once the species are identified, producers will be contacted with the results.

For more information about submitting wireworm samples, contact Haley Catton at 403-317-3404.

Monsanto Canada to Launch First Biotech Canola Trait Since 1996

-

Monsanto Canada today announced it plans to commercialize TruFlex canola with Roundup Ready Technology in 2019.

TruFlex canola will be Monsanto’s next-generation canola trait and Monsanto’s first new biotech trait in canola since Roundup Ready canola was introduced to Canadian growers in 1996. TruFlex canola will serve as the base platform on which all future Monsanto pipeline traits in canola will be stacked.

“We’ve had discussions with grower groups and conducted focus groups with individual growers about the challenges they face on the farm and the need to bring new traits and genetics to the marketplace to help drive yield,” said Dave Tornberg, North American Traits and Systems Marketing Manager with Monsanto.

TruFlex canola will be part of an improved canola system designed for a range of growing conditions.

“Dandelions, foxtail barley and wild buckwheat are some examples of tough-to-control perennial and annual weeds that will have improved control with the TruFlex canola system compared to our current technology,” said David Kelner, Monsanto’s North American canola portfolio manager. “As well, the flexibility in spray rates will allow for control of a much wider spectrum of weeds, with the ability to control new weeds such as yellow foxtail, biennial wormwood and common milkweed.”

Stewarded plot trials and field demonstrations will take place at several locations across Western Canada in 2018 to allow farmers to see the performance of TruFlex canola in the field.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada granted full food, feed and environmental safety approval of TruFlex canola in June 2012 and the product has been approved for import in several export markets. Import approval from China is pending and should be granted in the first quarter of 2019.

Europe to impose near-total ban on neonicotinoids

-

(Photo: Janet Kanters)

EU member states have voted in favour of a total outdoor ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides that was proposed by the European commission.

The use of clothianidin, imidaclroprid and thiamethoxam across the EU has been restricted to non-flowering crops since 2013 over concerns they were harming bees and other insect pollinators. The new ban goes much further, completely prohibiting their use outdoors. Farmers will still be able to use them inside greenhouses.

‘The commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),’ said commissioner for health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, in a statement announcing the ban.

A recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) risk assessment on the three neonicotinoids concluded that they pose a risk to wild bees. In November last year the UK government said it would change its stance on the pesticides and support a ban in Europe following the results of its own research on the effects of exposure in honeybees.

The near-total ban will come into force by the end of this year, the commission says.

Linda Field, a senior scientist at the UK agricultural research institute Rothamsted Research, says farmers are now likely to turn to older chemistries to protect crops, adding this can be problematic as some pests have developed resistance over time. Last year scientists at Rothamsted warned that restrictions on neonicotinoids could make it hard for the UK to carry on producing certain crops.

 

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has criticized the ban. Its deputy president Guy Smith said in a statement that without neonicotinoids many UK crops could become less viable. “A ban could simply mean we import more crops from parts of the world where there is no political desire to ban these key insecticides,” he said. “There is a real risk that these restrictions will do nothing measurable to improve bee health, while compromising the effectiveness of crop protection.

“The pest problems that neonicotinoids helped farmers tackle have not gone away.”

Source: Chemistry World

Growers advised to check with their grain buyer about quinclorac use in 2018

- Canola field under blue sky

The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues has advanced for adoption the proposed maximum residue limit (MRL) for quinclorac in canola, although an international MRL at Codex is not yet formally adopted. The Codex Alimentarius Commission is expected to officially adopt the report of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues at its July 2018 meeting.

Growers are advised to contact their grain buyer before using quinclorac in 2018 as processors and grain handlers remain concerned about market risk.

“For the canola industry, access to technology and stable trade are both high priorities,” says Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “Ensuring that exported canola meets the requirements of our foreign markets, including with respect to pesticide residues, is of utmost importance to the value chain. We look forward to the formal adoption of the MRL this summer.”

The decision of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues to advance all the proposed draft quinclorac MRLs (including canola) for adoption at Step 5/8 during the week of April 9-14 is a result of a process spanning several years.

According to the CCC, processors and exporters continue to have concern about quinclorac-treated canola being accepted in China before the Codex Alimentarius Commission finalizes its process. Processors and exporters have indicated that until the report is formally adopted, they will not commit to accepting canola treated with quinclorac in 2018. Growers are advised to contact their grain buyer directly before using quinclorac in 2018 or to use other cleavers control methods.

To prevent market access issues related to pesticide residues, the CCC monitors requirements in major markets, works with life science companies to promote voluntary responsible commercialization, works with the Government of Canada to get MRLs established as fast as possible in export markets and promotes best practices with growers through the Keep it Clean program to meet export requirements. The CCC contributes to the Canada Grains Council, alongside other grain value chains, to advance cross-commodity policy solutions internationally.

Keep it Clean reinforces Canada’s commitment to delivering consistently superior agricultural products to markets around the world. It’s a program started by the CCC in 2006 and expanded with Cereals Canada and Pulse Canada to emphasize important on-farm decisions to produce quality canola, cereals and pulses that meet market requirements. Visit www.keepingitclean.ca to learn more.

Alberta Wheat Commission says Wheat Class Changes Hurt Farmers, Value Chain

-

(Photo: Janet Kanters)

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) is expressing disappointment with the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) for their decision to move five wheat varieties out of the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) class without considering the long-term economic implications for farmers. Two of those varieties, AC Muchmore and AAC Redwater, are very popular in Alberta with AC Muchmore acres increasing by 209 per cent per year since 2014 and AAC Redwater acres increasing by 234 per cent per year since 2015.

The varieties will be re-classified to the Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) class effective August 1, 2021 and also include, AC Domain, Vesper and 5605 HR CL.

Prior to this decision, AWC strongly encouraged the CGC to do an economic analysis to understand the full impact that will be felt throughout the Canadian value chain of reclassifying varieties. The CGC’s decision fails to consider the agronomic performance of these varieties. AWC further points out that there have been no known complaints from global buyers on the varieties being pulled from the CWRS class.

“Farmers are choosing these varieties because they are high yielding, have better disease resistance and are early maturing,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “If the quality of these varieties has never been raised as an issue with our global customers then farmers should be able to choose them based on their agronomic advantage without losing the economic value of growing CWRS wheat.”

AWC notes that the effects of moving these varieties will have a spillover effect throughout the value chain, especially impacting seed growers who have been selling these varieties based on their CWRS classification.

“Reclassification puts financial stress on farmers with the unexpected need to replace varieties,” Bender said. “We would have liked to see the CGC consult with farmers and consider these economic impacts before making these changes.”

New Lumisena fungicide seed treatment receives PMRA registration

-

Plants wilting among healthy plants is often a symptom of Phytophthora.

Growers will soon have a powerful new tool to protect against Phytophthora root rot and downy mildew. Corteva Agriscience, agriculture division of DowDuPont, today announced that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada has granted approval for the registration of Lumisena fungicide seed treatment.

“Lumisena is designed to help soybean growers get their crop off to a strong start, maximize early-season growth and capture higher yield potential,” said Travis Schoonbaert, category leader, Seed Applied Technology at Corteva Agriscience. “Lumisena helps maximize yield potential in a variety of growing environments through enhanced vigour and emergence and is an ideal complement to any soybean variety.”

Lumisena provides best-in-class protection against Phytophthora root rot, the leading soybean disease in North America. Lumisena moves within the plant to protect against multiple stages of the Phytophthora pathogen’s life cycle through preventative, curative, eradicative and antisporulant activity. In multiyear, on-farm trials, Lumisena was shown to significantly improve soybean stands and plant health under Phytophthora pressure. Growers can expect Lumisena to be commercially available at 2019 planting timing.

Lumiderm insecticide seed treatment now registered for soybeans

-

Soybean aphids.

The seed treatment technology that enhanced insect control in canola will soon be available to soybean growers.

Corteva Agriscience, agriculture division of DowDuPont, announced the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada has granted approval for the registration of Lumiderm insecticide seed treatment for soybeans for control of bean leaf beetle and soybean aphid. Lumiderm will be commercially available for 2019 spring planting.

“Bean leaf beetle and soybean aphid are both economically significant pests of soybean, and growers have been looking for new tools to manage them,” said Travis Schoonbaert, category leader, Seed Applied Technology at Corteva Agriscience. “Lumiderm provides effective, reliable control of soybean aphid and bean leaf beetle. Overall, Lumiderm offers a higher level of performance that will give growers confidence at planting time and peace of mind during the early part of the growing season.”

Lumiderm seed treatment provides soybean seedlings with extended protection against bean leaf beetle and soybean aphid. Protecting vulnerable seedlings from these two damaging insects leads to more uniform and healthier plant stands, allowing the crop to achieve its maximum yield potential at harvest. Lumiderm contains a unique Group 28 insecticide that helps growers manage the threat of resistance and has a favourable environmental profile.

Alberta Agriculture’s Blue Book Now Available

-

One of the most widely requested publications from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) is the Crop Protection publication, also known as the “Blue Book” in industry circles. Revised annually, the Blue Book includes the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on crop protection products.

“An important part of the annual update includes newly registered pesticide products,” says Mark Cutts, co-editor of Crop Protection 2018 and crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “This year’s edition includes new additions to the four main pesticide types: herbicides, insecticides, seed treatments, and foliar fungicides. In addition to including new products, previously registered products are updated. Significant changes in some products, crops covered, and usage instructions give producers more options than ever.”

“For 2018, foliar fungicides is the pesticide type with the most new registrations, continuing the trend seen in recent years of significant growth in registered foliar fungicide products,” mentions Cutts. The new fungicides are registered for use on canola, cereals crops, pulse crops, and potatoes.

There are limited new registrations for seed treatments and insecticides. One new seed treatment will be available in 2018, and it is registered on a variety of cereal crops. Newly registered insecticides are available for use on cereal crops, oilseed crops, and potatoes.

“New herbicide registrations include products that can be used in pre-seed applications or in-crop applications,” adds Cutts. “Pre-seed herbicides are registered for use ahead of seeding wheat or on fallow acres. New in-crop herbicide products are registered for use on wheat.”

When using pesticides, it is important to be aware of pesticide resistance. It is recommended that pesticide products be selected based on chemical group and active ingredient. All pesticide products presented in the Blue Book have their chemical group and active ingredient listed. By using this information, the risk of developing pesticide resistance can be reduced.

A hard copy of the publication can be had for $12 by calling 1-800-292-5697 or ordering online www.agriculture.alberta.ca/blue.

OR download a free copy.