Archive for the ‘wheat’ Category

Why is Everyone Interested in Wheat Breeding?

September 26, 2009

As I have noted before on this site, this summer has been very interesting in terms of the changing landscape in wheat research and breeding. Monsanto, Bayer, and Syngenta are all engaged in the wheat breeding game. I have received, many emails from readers, asking the same question.

“What will this mean for my farm in the future?”

This is a great question. One can only speculate at this point but from a genetics standpoint it does really provide some interesting potential outcomes. Higher yields and lower environmental impacts are the most discussed by breeders and stakeholders. The other side of this discussion is the questions around saved seed and the possibilities of technology use agreements. In my mind if the product has benefits to the farmer, the farmer will pay for the technology. If there is no advantage then the farmer will not pay. This is simple economics and applicable in any market segment and not just agriculture. I think that it is silly for people to suggest that farmers are forced to buy hybrid seed. In my experience, farmers that have the right land and environmental conditions, demand hybrid seed. If you don’t have the proper land or conditions use choose other options.

The following video was produced by Monsanto but shows why wheat is such an important crop to farmers and seed companies.

The reality is that the future really is wide open for global wheat production. With large biotech companies now engaged the next ten years will prove to be interesting at the very least. On top of this is the huge contribution that conventional breeders will provide. Wheat is the global staple crop. There is a wheat harvest happening every month of the year somewhere in the world.

The following video with Jay Bradshaw, President of Syngenta Canada discusses why biotech wheat will have benefits and why the variety registration system is too slow to enable innovation. It was filmed in February 2009.

Please let me know what you think about the future of wheat. What kind of improvements would you like to see in wheat vareties?

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Is Winter Wheat a Silage Option?

September 8, 2009

Ross McKenzie discusses if winter wheat is a good silage option. More and more farmers are curious if winter wheat will be good for silage. From a time management stand point, Ross thinks definitely.

Why Winter Wheat – Ross McKenzie, PhD – Lethbridge Research Station

August 22, 2009

Ross McKenzie, PhD of the Lethbridge Research Station talks about the agronomic considerations for winter wheat. Ross explains seeding dates, plant populations, nutrient requirements, specific variety considerations and seeding depth.

Winter wheat is a great crop with many benefits. Planting winter wheat is a great way to lower the amount of workload in the spring and creates a much more spread out harvest.

ILC 2009: Earl Geddes – VP at CWB – Wheat Breeding and the Future of Biotech Wheat

July 22, 2009

In case you have not been following the story very closely, the debate over biotech wheat is about to restart again. Cereal breeding in North America has been on the downtrend. The past three months have brought wheat breeding investments by Dow Agro, Monsanto and Bayer. These strategic moves are quite obviously being executed so that beneficial proprietary traits can be inserted into wheat genetics. As mentioned before on this site, many possibilities open up to the consumer and not just the farmer if biotech wheat is introduced. At the International Livestock Congress at the Calgary Stampede, Earl Geddes and I discussed the future direction of wheat breeding and how biotech wheat may lead us there.


Check out more International Livestock Congress content


ILC 2009: Earl Geddes – VP at CWB – Developing Innovative Services and Markets For the Western Canadian Farmers

July 17, 2009

I had the the opportunity to sit down with Earl Geddes, Vice President of Farmer Services, Canadian Wheat Board at the International Livestock Congress. Earl and I discussed some of the new markets and services being developed by the board for farmers. I also asked Earl about how different demographics are using the boards programs and what they are doing as a company to address that.

check out more ILC 2009 content



ILC 2009: Brant Randles – Louis Dreyfus Canada – Feed Grain and Oilseed Complex Outlook

July 17, 2009

At the International Livestock Congress I spoke to Brant Randles, President of Louis Dreyfus Canada regarding his outlook for feed grains and oilseeds in the future. Brant and I also talked about the future of grain handling as it pertains to identity preserved crops and the future of the rail system for handling grain from a Canadian perspective.

Click here to view other ILC 2009 content

Monsanto Buys Westbred LLC

July 16, 2009

With this weeks announcement that Monsanto is buying Westbred LLC it is very clear that the biotech industry will have a say in the future direction of the wheat breeding business. As I have mentioned on this site before, pull type traits like drought and nitrogen use efficiency will be big components of the Monsanto breeding program in all crop types and not just wheat. 

Click Here to see the comments to me from @MonsantoCo regarding the focus

With the recent push for biotech wheat by the biotech wheat coalition and this announcement, you can ultimately expect all of the biotech industry to heavily invest in wheat breeding over the next twenty years. With Syngenta, Dow Agro, and Monsanto all involved in wheat breeding the objective will be increased value creation for the whole value chain. After attending the CSTA summer meeting this past week in Whistler, it is quite clear that the industry must invest more in wheat breeding if we are going to see some of the benefits found in other crop types.

Based on the fact biotech wheat is not accepted globally it will be interesting to see what moves these breeding programs make in the meantime in the conventional plant breeding areas. One thing is for sure the world of wheat genetics is getting very interesting and this story is not quite over yet. More to come definitely.

USDA Planting Report Jolts the Market

June 30, 2009

This morning the USDA provided an updated planting report and the market was taken for a ride lower due to above expected corn and wheat acres. The following is commentary from Jon Driedger of FarmLink Marketing Solutions and Stephan Gmehlin of Farms.com

Below is Jon Driedger of FarmLink Marketing Solutions commentary.
The corn acres was the big surprise, and today’s trade clearly reflected that. Wheat was a bit negative as well, but managed to hold up relatively better than the corn. The soybean numbers came in roughly as expected, confirming an S&D that has little room for yield adversity going forward, which allowed it to hold up quite impressively today given the negative sentiment coming from corn.

As with all major government reports, the market’s reaction to the news over the coming days will be more important than the numbers themselves. Sentiment may have shifted, but the main crops still have a lot of weather ahead to trade, and in the case of corn and wheat, current values have already priced in a fair amount of bearish news in recent weeks. Most of the minor crops are indicating smaller year-over-year plantings in the U.S., including some important ones to western Canadian growers such as canola, barley, flax, mustard and dry beans. So while the overall initial impression of this report was bearish, it will take some time for the markets to fully digest the details, and for prices to respond in local terms.

Stephan Gmehlin commented on Farms.com this morning that, USDA surprised many people with this years Acreage report. Corn acres were actually up 2 million acres from the spring planting intentions report with an estimated 87 million acres this is the second largest corn crop planted since 1946, behind 2007. Iowa planted 13.7 million acres and Illinois added 200,000 acres from 2008 for a total of 12.3 million acres with Nebraska rounding out the top 3 states at 9.4 million acres. This corn acreage figure is a total surprise as most analysts were looking for acres to go down from March planting intention report, but this figure from USDA exceeded even the highest estimates of analysts by a million bushels.