Agriculture news from week 31

USA and Canada

Market rollercoaster moves up and down on weather, Ukraine grain shipments and U.S. export sales

The first week of August started out with “an ugly few sessions” to start the week, Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management said on this week’s Agweek Market Wrap. But by the end of the week, a variety of factors had pushed grains back up.

Martinson and Carah Hart of Red River Farm Network talked changing weather forecasts, Ukraine grain shipments, relations with China, U.S. export sales and yield potentials, as well as how those things moved the markets.

Hart said the first week in August was a bit of a “roller coaster.” Besides the changing weather forecast, Martinson said the perception of grain moving out of Ukraine and Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan changed by week’s end.

On the Pelosi front, Martinson explained that there had been concerns that China would halt purchases from the U.S., which he characterized as “chest bumping” by China. 

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Crops of the future developed by Forever Green Initiative becoming a reality

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — The University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative has relied on bipartisan support for clean-water, market-based cropping systems and Minnesota businesses to help bring its promising crops to the fields and homes of consumers.

Don Wyse is a professor in the department of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota, and co director of the Forever Green initiative. Wyse co-founded the Forever Green Initiative in 2012 as a way to convince farmers to keep plants in the soil year-round.

He said the idea for the initiative developed when he was brought to Minnesota by grass seed producers in northern Minnesota who wanted to put a perennial crop into their annual cropping system.

“They wanted to expand the grass seed industry, which is basically based on a series of perennial grasses that you don’t have to plant every year, and you would harvest in the middle of the summer,” said Wyse at a legislative field event at Albert Lea Seed on July 26 to highlight the work of the Forever Green Initiative. “So you would avoid the early spring, wet soils and the fall wet soils.”

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Australi grain
Iowa Yield Potential Still Good, but Weather Shaved Off Top End Yield

Iowa started off the season with historically high crop ratings but conditions have recently dropped with the recent heat and dryness and that may have taken the top end off yields.  

Iowa’s corn rating fell 4% last week to 76% good to excellent, with drought expanding in areas like the southwest where Roger Cerven has had only 3 inches of rain since May 12.   Roger Cerven, farms near Stanton in southwest Iowa .  He says, “From the 28th of April to the 12th of May we had 12 inches of rain, and really held us up.  And I’ve had about 3 inches of rain since. “

He says that combined with the recent heat has cut into his corn yields.  “Last year where we had stuff that did 30, 40 bushel over our APH we could start losing, be below that of the APH pretty fast. We may be back to 140, 50 on some farms.”

And he says excessive wind this season has also dried out the beans and he’s not very optimistic with the extended forecast looking dry.  Cerven says, “We’re really starting to see where the soil types are, that it’s changing pretty fast.   Last week saw some beans I would call say do the death roll that they just flip the leaves over, turning silver.”  

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US wheat
U.S. Wheat Futures Hit Six-Month Low, Soybean Slide on Better Weather Forecasts

Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures fell on Wednesday, touching a six-month low with traders saying that newly harvested supplies were able to meet the current global demand.

Soybean futures also were weaker, with the latest weather outlooks calling for better weather during key development periods for the U.S. crop.

“The forecasts this morning are pretty wet this week over the center of the belt, but turn dry for next week,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital said in a note to clients. “There is, however, a big change in the temperature outlook, with the models turning decidedly less hot for the second half of August, taking some stress off the table.”

Weakness in crude oil added pressure to soy.

Corn futures ended higher after trading both sides of unchanged during the session.

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Canadian pulse producers eye improving trade with India as hefty tariff suspension extended

New Zealand

horticulture 1
Horticulture New Zealand gives out two Environmental Awards for 2022

Nominations received in this year’s Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) Environmental Award were of such high calibre, two organisations have been recognised.

“Where the HortNZ Board determines there are exceptional circumstances and more than one award should be made, we can choose to present an additional award,” HortNZ vice president, Bernadine Balle-Guilleux said.

Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables from Canterbury and the Auckland branch of MG – Market Gardeners Ltd. both received an Environmental Award.

HortNZ usually gives out its awards at the annual Horticulture Conference, but it was cancelled this year due to the uncertainty created by Covid.

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red meat
Red meat exports top $1b in June despite ongoing disruption

Exports of red meat reached $1.1 billion in June, despite ongoing global supply chain issues.

The 15% increase in value compared to the same month last year was driven by demand for beef, particularly from China which imported $217 million worth in June, up 39%.

The total value of beef exports for the month increased 23% to $504m, while sheep meat rose 15% to $398m.

Meat Industry Association chief executive, Sirma Karapeeva​, said the strong performance amid ongoing supply chain issues was remarkable.

“What is also pleasing is that our grass-fed sustainable beef and lamb is clearly in demand across the globe.

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Undercover Ruby Red orchard on the market

A kiwifruit orchard on the market in Northland features one of the country’s biggest under-canopy plantings of Zespri’s new high-value Ruby Red fruit variety.

The north-facing 17.28-hectare property at 403 Te Ahu Ahu Rd, Kerikeri, comprises 13ha of kiwifruit growing area, including 10ha of the Zespri Ruby Red varietal under canopy, with the other remaining portion of the block identified for future orchard expansion.

Zespri has forecast that demand for the Zespri Ruby Red variety – technically known as Red19 – across key markets from 2022 to 2032 could grow to 15 million trays, with key intended export markets comprising Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia.

Horticultural expert Alan Kerr of Bayleys Kerikeri said the orchard was superbly positioned to capitalise on Zespri’s growth predictions for the Red19 variety.

“An orchard of this quality, size, and scale planted in the new Ruby Red variety is extremely rare to find.”

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Fonterra may pull back milk forecast after global dairy prices weaken
  • GDT price index fell 5%
  • Whole milk powder index slid 6.1%
  • Fonterra may pull back milk price forecast

Dairy prices fell for a fourth consecutive global auction, which may prompt Fonterra to pull back its milk price forecast for farmers.

The Global Dairy Trade price index fell 5% to 1163, the lowest level since February 2021. It follows a 5% decline at the previous fortnightly auction.

Dairy prices have slid from record levels in March this year, as disruption from Covid-19 lockdowns in China, an economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the Russia-Ukraine conflict weigh on demand and buyers baulk at higher prices in an environment of high inflation and constrained consumer spending.

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grain research
Modelling shows wheat pores hold promise for yield gains

A TRAIT that could mitigate the impact of climate change in wheat crops has been discovered by University of Queensland researchers thanks to computer analysis on the performance of grain crops.

Associate Professor Karine Chenu from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) used one of the world’s most powerful crop-growth models, the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM), to identify a strategy to adapt wheat to warmer and drier growing conditions.

Dr Chenu said crop-growth simulations run through the model revealed enhanced transpiration
efficiency could help crops adapt to current and projected environments and improve yield.

“Transpiration efficiency refers to the plant’s ability to produce more biomass per unit of
water transpired,” Dr Chenu said.

Read more here

wheat export
Australian June wheat exports surge 18pc from May

AUSTRALIA exported 2,797,599 tonnes of wheat in June, up 18 per cent from the May figure of 2,363,470t, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This lifts Australia’s total wheat and durum exports for its marketing year starting October 1 to 20.8 million tonnes (Mt).

Containerised exports for June totaled 229,137t, with Indonesia on 66,338t followed by Vietnam on 48,929t and Taiwan on 33,508t the biggest markets.

China was once again the biggest customer by far on bulk exports, and with 707,409t shipped in June, it has accounted for 4.8Mt of wheat in the marketing year to June 30, or 23pc of the total figure to all destinations.

Indonesia on 251,892t was the second-biggest bulk customer, and was the destination for 2.4Mt of wheat in Oct-Jun period.

Read mpore here…

Brisbane mobile loaders bulk up shipping capacity

BRISBANE has joined Adelaide and Portland as the third Australian grain port with two mobile shiploaders in operation.

Jointly, they are expected to be able to add up to 1 million tonnes to Australia’s annual bulk-grain export capacity at an opportune time as eastern Australia heads into what is shaping up to be its third bumper wheat harvest in a row.

The sites, at Pinkenba on the north shore of the Brisbane River, have already added delivery points to supplement longstanding capacity at GrainCorp’s Fisherman Islands terminal and Wilmar’s Queensland Bulk Terminals on the south shore.

Arrow, RainAg initiatives

Arrow Commodities is an Australian trading company which has for many years been exporting cargoes out of New South Wales, and is a key customer for the Quattro terminal at Port Kembla and the Newcastle Agri Terminal (NAT).

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Feedgrain Focus: Markets flat as southern front heads east

MINIMAL grower selling combined with consumer hopes for softer values have kept traded volume to a minimum in the domestic market this week.

In southern Queensland, fine weather has allowed consumers to catch up on deliveries, while rain in Victoria and New South Wales is slowing grain movement.

Consumers generally are seen as well covered in the closing months of the current crop year, and confident that volume will be available once harvest rolls around.

In the past week, many crops in Western and South Australia and Victoria received welcome rain, while in parts of NSW, concerns grow in some districts about waterlogging.

NSW the wildcard

At the Australian Market Outlook session at last week’s Australian Grains Industry Conference, CHS Broadbent general manager Sam Batters said the size of the NSW winter crop was the big variable for national production.

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South America

soybean Brazil
Brazil soybean exports down 8,87% in first half of 2022 compared to 2021

Brazil shipped 55.1 million tons of soybeans in the first half of 2022, which is 8.87% less than in the same period of 2021 (60.5 million tons), according to the National Association of Cereal Exporters. (Anec).

The decline is explained by lower shipments to China (main destination, with 41.6 million tons in 2021 and 36.9 million tons in 2022) and the Netherlands (4th largest destination, with 2.5 million tons in 2021 and 1.7 million tons in 2022), respectively, 11.2% and 32.2% less compared to 2021.

Anec admits that in this 2021/22 crop, there was a significant crop failure, approximately 20 million tons below expectations. The severe drought that hit the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, and Mato Grosso do Sul for months was the cause of the significant production reductions.

The first expectations were for a production of 144 million tons and 92 million tons for export, which did not happen due to the drought.

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brazil fertilizer
Argentina’s latest economy chief announces new agriculture pick

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Argentina’s incoming economy minister, dubbed a “superminister” due to his expanded portfolio, announced new secretary picks including for the key farm sector on Tuesday, part of the government’s latest bid to reign in a severe economic crisis.

President Alberto Fernandez tasked congressional leader Sergio Massa with taming surging inflation, government spending as well as addressing a range of tax and trade policies crucial to the country’s powerhouse agricultural sector ahead of elections next year.

A politically savvy lawyer backed by the ruling Peronist coalition’s center-left as well as its more hard-line leftist faction, Massa is expected to advocate orthodox economic policies in part due to his past track record working closely with international investors.

On Tuesday, he announced that Juan Bahillo will be the new agriculture secretary, reporting to Massa. Bahillo is a political leader, former federal lawmaker and rural farmer from Entre Rios province.

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Brazil Soy
Huge Brazil soy crop estimates for 2023 may not be excessive

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Aug 2 (Reuters) – Brazil will not start planting its next soybean crop until later next month, but the world’s top producer and supplier seems well-positioned to chip into U.S. export share over the next year based on staggering harvest pegs.

Although the numbers are hefty, early market estimates for Brazil’s crop have tended to be on the conservative side in recent years, excluding last year’s drought cycle. That downfall allowed U.S. exporters this year to snag a five-year-high share of world soybean trade.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture officially pegs Brazil’s 2022-23 soybean harvest at 149 million tonnes, up from 126 million a year earlier, but other estimates are more aggressive. That includes 154.5 million tonnes from consultancy Safras & Mercado, and 152.6 million from StoneX.

That compares with Brazil’s two largest crops of 128.5 million and 139.5 million tonnes in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively.

Read more here

Food Updates

How do you get college students to eat more vegetables?

How can you increase the consumption of vegetables and other nutritious foods among students? With fast food contributing to obesity at a critical time in development, new research has discussed how weekly food challenges and cooking videos increased confidence in making healthy choices and increased fruit and vegetable consumption among college students.

College students comprise a large portion of the young adult population, and national data suggest that college students’ diets are high in overall fat intake and inadequate in key food groups such as low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and deep yellow and green vegetables.

“Barriers to healthy eating for this group include a lack of nutrition and culinary knowledge, financial instability, inadequate access to healthy food options, and time,” said Carol O’Neal, PhD, Department of Health and Sports Science, University of Louisville.

Read more here

food updates
16 million Brits forced to cut food and essentials as a result of cost of living

Sixteen million people in the UK have reduced the amount of food and essentials they buy, according to a survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The findings highlight a 27 percent rise since 2021 in the number of adults in Britain who report that the cost of living has risen. The most common reasons reported by these adults for their increased cost of living are increases in energy bills, fuel prices and food, with the latter taking top spot at 94 percent (of reports among those surveyed).

The survey also found that those with a disability were more likely to have reduced their spending on food and essentials because of living costs (42 percent) than those without a disability (31 percent).

In a statement, as reported by Sky News, Tom Marsland, Policy Manager at disability charity Scope, said: “Scope has been inundated with calls from disabled people who have been forced to make dire cutbacks on personal care, hygiene, food and energy because of rampaging inflation.

Read more here

Good news for New York onion growers!

A study from New York-based Cornell AgriTech has found a way to reduce synthetic chemical use without negatively impacting yield.

Growing onions in western New York requires intensive cultivation and is extreme reliance on synthetic fertiliser and pesticides. It’s also done exclusively on muck soils – the dark, fertile footprints of drained swamps. In fact, NY farmers grow almost all 7,000 acres of the state’s dry bulb onions on the muck.

By following action thresholds to establish when to apply insecticides to control onion thrips – a major pest able to transmit a virus that can kill onion plants and spread bacteria leading to bulb rot – the researchers claim farmers made 2.3 fewer applications per season, all the while maintaining yields and bulb size.

Action threshold is the density of the pest in a crop that needs a control measure to prevent the population from rising to levels that would result in economic loss.

Read more here

cultivated meat
How to make cultivated meat work in the UK

By now we are all well-familiarised with the proposed benefits of cultured meat, such as cutting livestock-induced emissions, but in order for lab-grown steaks and chicken to become a reality in the UK a number of milestones must first be met.

This is according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group and Ivy Farm Technologies, which, along with drumming the cultivated drum, flags four areas that need to be fulfilled to realise the sector’s potential – and ultimately, reap the rewards. The recommendations are as follows:

  • The Food Standards Agency (FSA) to open a live and continuous dialogue with cultivated meat producers, creating a regulatory system which encourages the development of innovative new products
  • The UK Government should earmark meaningful investments into cultivated meat research and development and make a concerted effort to transform the UK into a global hub for this field
  • Cultivated meat companies must engage with British farmers to give them confidence in this emerging industry
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Increased heart disease risk from red meat may stem from gut microbe response to digestion

With one person dying every 34 seconds as a result from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the US,1 it’s unsurprising that it’s one of the main focuses of research. Indeed, we’ve seen a lot of science linking red meat to heart disease over the years across the globe, including studies which have related it with certain chemical by-products of food digestion. However, the reason behind the association has remained unclear.

Among these metabolites is TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), a chemical produced by gut bacteria to digest red meat that contains high amounts of the chemical L-carnitine.

High blood levels of TMAO in humans may be associated with higher risks of CVD, chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes. However, whether TMAO and related metabolites derived from L-carnitine may help explain the effects of red meat intake on cardiovascular risk, and to what extent they may contribute to cardiovascular risk associated with meat consumption, are still unknown. And this is what the researchers aimed to investigate…