Monsanto subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, announced the acquisition Monday of Denver-based software company, HydroBio, bolstering the company's focus on digital tools applied to agriculture. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.“HydroBio has unique irrigation-focused data analytics capabilities, and as global water use for crop production increases, efficient irrigation is becoming even more important to the future of sustainable agriculture,” said Mike Stern, chief executive officer for Climate Corp., in a statement. “HydroBio has built a successful business, and their tools will complement our Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform offerings in the future.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its first survey-based forecast of the year, projected 2017 winter wheat production at 1,246,392,000 bus, down 425,140,000 bus, or 25%, from 1,671,532,000 bus in 2016. If the forecast is realized, the 2017 winter wheat crop would be the smallest since 1,137,001,000 bus in 2002. The forecast was based on a projected harvested area of 25,564,000 acres, down 15% from 30,222,000 acres in 2016, and a projected average yield of 48.8 bus per acre, down 6.5 bus per acre from the record 55.3 bus per acre in 2016. The U.S.D.A. said if its initial winter wheat harvested area forecast for 2017 is realized, harvested area this year would be the smallest on record. The U.S.D.A. forecast the 2017 hard red winter wheat crop at 737,458,000 bus, down 344,232,000 bus, or 32%, from 1,081,690,000 bus in 2016. It would be the smallest hard red winter wheat crop since 682 million bus in 2006 but similar in size to the 2013 crop of 739 million bus. The recent five-year average hard red winter wheat outturn was 879 million bus. The U.S.D.A. noted the hard red winter wheat harvested area was forecast to be down 18% from 2016.
Under a settlement with state officials, Western Milling, LLC, will stop producing horse and specialty feeds at its Goshen manufacturing plant and pay $526,500 in fines after feed produced there killed and sickened dozens of horses and cows. In addition, the company will invest more than $200,000 to buy new manufacturing equipment to elevate its food-safety measures above industry standards, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Feed and Livestock Drugs Inspection Program announced
U.S. exporters see double-digit gains in first quarter of the year. U.S. dairy exports in the first quarter of 2017 were up 14 percent by volume and 17 percent by value compared with a year ago—the best Q1 result since 2014. Exporters realized gains to nearly all markets and across nearly all product categories, with only butterfat and whole milk powder lagging.During the quarter, exporters shipped 461,898 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose. Total dairy exports were valued at $1.32 billion. March export value of $482 million was the most in 22 months, and export volume has topped year-ago levels for 10 straight months.
In the fast-growing Triangle, farmland is often lost to development and the price of the arable land that remains has skyrocketed, putting it out of reach of young farmers. To ease the challenges faced by would-be farmers like Saile, local conservation and agricultural groups are joining forces to preserve farmland in the Triangle and boost the region’s agricultural industry.Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Community Food Lab, Triangle Land Conservancy and other groups recently created a strategy for conserving important farmland in Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston and Chatham counties. They want to encourage more people to become farmers by helping both new and existing farmers succeed.The goal is not only to preserve working farms, but also to feed the growing demand for local food. Less than 0.1 percent of food spending in the region is direct farm-to-consumer, meaning there is much more potential, said Edgar Miller, government relations director for the Conservation Trust.
“Consumers care about this issue,” says Angie Siemens, vice president of food safety, quality and regulatory at Cargill. “You will continue to see the marketplace move, no matter what the science is, no matter what the metrics are, no matter what the regulations are.” Siemens participated in a NIAA antibiotics roundtable last summer that included stakeholders from across the spectrum. She sensed an understanding among all stakeholders that there is a need to figure out how to maintain antibiotic use as a viable solution for both human and food animal health care.“I do think we walked away with a collaboration across stakeholders,” Siemens says. “Different stakeholders have different ideas about what it means to have antibiotic stewardship, how impactful animal agriculture is on human medicine. What we did have was the ability to sit down and have a conversation and try to understand how we can work together and do it consistent with a One Health Goal. What we don’t share is how we’re going to get there.”
America's dairy farmers have been having a tough couple of years. There's a glut of milk on the market, and prices are low.Wisconsin's dairypeople seem especially put out. They've persuaded one of their U.S. senators, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, to introduce legislation that "would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer be mislabeled with dairy terms such as milk, yogurt or cheese." And now a small group that lost its Canadian buyers for a specialized product (ultra-filtered milk used in making cheese and yogurt) have gotten President Donald Trump to launch a trade skirmish on their behalf.One obvious reason for dairies' struggles is what Baldwin was out to slow down: the rise of almond milk and its ilk. Almond milk sales rose 250 percent from 2011 through 2015, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, the decline in breakfast-cereal eating has presumably also been a factor depressing consumption of all kinds of milk. So why are dairy farmers so cranky, especially in Wisconsin? It seems largely due to the maddening nature of farming: When conditions are just right, allowing you to produce a lot, it means they're probably just right for lots of other people, too. Milk production went up at a healthy pace in 2015 and 2016. Milk prices went down. It's something happening all over the place in agriculture right now. There's a corn glut. There's a wheat glut. And there's a dairy glut. But if you look at the trajectory of milk prices over the years, this looks more like a cyclical downturn than the end of the world.
Bayer's chief executive acknowledged on Friday that he will face an uphill battle to improve Monsanto's reputation once Bayer completes the takeover of the U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company. "Monsanto’s image does of course represent a major challenge for us, and it’s not an aspect I wish to play down," Werner Baumann told shareholders at Bayer's annual general meeting."Yet we are facing this challenge with all those qualities that have made us what we are today: openness, expertise and responsibility," he added. Bayer and Monsanto plan to wrap up the $66 billion transaction by the end of 2017. As part of this, Bayer aims to file for European antitrust approval during the second quarter.
Blizzard Flattens Winter Wheat; Rains Drown Corn, Soybean Fields.April is known for erratic weather, but the month may have outdone itself this year.Over the weekend, a wintry storm system dumped up to two feet of snow on parts of the Great Plains, flattening a winter wheat crop that was maturing weeks ahead of normal. Meanwhile in the Midwest and Midsouth, relentless rains swelled rivers and flooded freshly planted corn and soybean fields."Precipitation totals ranged from three to eight inches of rain in the Midwest, with heaviest totals south of Interstate 70 in Missouri and Illinois," said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson. "Some reports had over 10 inches of rain. Meanwhile, western Plains wheat incurred possibly extensive damage from snowfall ranging from a few inches to more than a foot. Twenty-plus inches of snow were reported in Oakley, Kansas (northwestern Kansas)."The markets responded accordingly by Monday morning, noted DTN Markets Analyst Todd Hultman. New-crop wheat surged 20 cents; corn and soybeans posted rallies of 10 cents and 14 cents, respectively."This weekend's weather adds to the likelihood that world wheat production will be modestly smaller in 2017 and should help wheat prices stabilize as bearish pressures ease somewhat," Hultman said. "With DTN's National Hard Red Winter Wheat Index still trading near its lowest prices in 11 years, the market is overdue for a more stable, possibly even bullish performance in 2017."The weather has also "tossed a basketball into the USDA's marble game of planting estimates" as Midwest farmers weigh corn and soybean replant decisions in the coming weeks, he added.
Cargill has announced it will exit from its U.S. cattle feeding business. The move means that in the last year, the company has gone for the fourth-largest feeder in the U.S., to completely leaving the sector. Cargill has reached an agreement to sell its last two feed yards to Green Plains Inc., which will purchase the feed yards for $36.7 million. Cargill’s withdrawal from the feeding business highlights a change in priorities at the company, which says it is the world’s largest supplier of ground beef, according to Reuters. Cargill is seeking to expand its North America-based protein business by exploring plant-based protein, fish and insects, along with other opportunities linked to livestock and poultry.The Green Plains Cattle Company, a subsidiary of the ethanol producer Green Plains Inc, will supply cattle to Cargill for processing through a multi-year agreement, according to the companies. By buying the feed yards, Green Plains gains markets for its distiller’s dried grains, an ethanol byproduct used to feed livestock.