Exploring ideas and views on all aspects of the seed industry.

Canada seeks to modernize its wheat classes

At the end of February, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) began consultations on its proposal to modernize Canadian wheat classes. These wheat classes are established through extensive consultation with end-users, breeders, producers, marketers and other stakeholders. There are 10 classes of western Canadian wheat and seven classes of eastern Canadian wheat. Each wheat class has its own set of performance characteristics that are primarily based on function, or end-use, characteristics. “What we’re hearing is that it’s time to have a good look at this,” says Elwin Hermanson, CGC chief commissioner. “If we do this right, it helps us to compete in the marketplace, and that’s what we are hoping to do.”

The CGC seeks input from grain handlers, processors, marketers, developers, producers and end-use customers on its proposal to modernize Canada’s wheat classes. The proposal includes strengthening the marketability of the Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) milling classes, the addition of a new milling class and a review of current classes. Relevant information, including a description of the issue and a full description of the proposal, are available at www.grainscanada.gc.ca. Stakeholders have until April 20, 2015, to submit input.

“If we do this right, it helps us to compete in the marketplace, and that’s what we are hoping to do.” — elwin hermanson

Coalition launches growing matters

Bayer CropScience, Syngenta and Valent USA came together to form a coalition, called Growing Matters, that seeks to present the stories, facts and expert research outlining key issues around crop production and plant protection. The website, growingmatters.org, features a number of studies that highlight the value of neonicotinoid insecticides and seed treatments.

For example, one study of North American corn, soybean and canola farmers, conducted by independent agricultural economists with AgInformatics LLC, finds that the value of neonicotinoid seed treatments is among the highest of all insect management practices.

The research examined the pest management operations of farmers in the United States and Canada, including the use of non-monetary factor analysis and econometric methods, to estimate a total farmer value of $1.4 billion in these crops — surpassing the value of alternative practices. In addition, research shows a loss of neonicotinoids would force growers to rely on a few, older classes of insecticides. The researchers compared farmer value estimates of different management practices for pest control in these crops and found that neonicotinoid seed treatments provided significantly higher value than did either soil or foliar applications. Farmer value in Canadian canola was $11.20 per planted acre, compared to $2.55 per planted acre for foliar sprays. In the U.S., the value was estimated to be $7.56 and $5.32 per planted acre in corn and soybeans, respectively, compared to foliar insecticides, which delivered a value of $0.85 and $2.18 per planted acre. Soil insecticides provided their lowest value in corn ($1.83 per planted acres). No comparisons were made for soil insecticides in soybeans, as there are no registered soil products.

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