US on shaky ground with China
China has renewed import certificates for several US biotech corn strains but uncertainty remains on certain varieties.
Beijing – the third largest market for US corn last year – has rejected 600,000 tonnes since November when it detected the presence of the so far unapproved GM corn strain Agrisure Viptera (or MIR 162 com), developed by Swiss chemical company Syngenta AG to combat rootworm.
China has been working to approve the strain for two years, but continues to deliberate with no indication of when they might come to a decision.
Meanwhile, US farmers are considering their options as Syngenta presses ahead with sales of another Chinese unapproved GM strain, Agrisure Duracade in the Midwest.
Farmers in the major corn growing regions of Iowa and Illinois are battling against rootworm infestations, largely as a result of intensive farming methods, however using Agrisure Duracade to alleviate the problem could further jeopardise US-Chinese relations and therefore shipments to the region.
Tiger Brands to expand its operation in East Africa
South African food company, Tiger Brands will acquire Rafiki Mills for $25m to expand its East African operations.
Tiger Brands’ corporate affairs group executive Alex Mathole confirmed the acquisition of the milling and confectionery firm but said the deal had not yet been finalized.
The acquisition is thought to be part of the bread and breakfast cereal manufacturer’s strategy to increase its presence in the fast-growing East African market, fueled by the expanding middle classes.
Rafiki is the fourth-largest milling company in East Africa and joins Nigeria’s Dangote Flour Mills among the Tiger Brands other divisions in the region.
DuPont’s gets thumbs-up for insect control Prevathon
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally given approval for the use of Prevathon insect control on cereal crops, including wheat, most other small grains and sorghum.
The Rynaxypyr- based repellent, developed by DuPont Crop Protection, was first registered in 2011 for use on corn, cotton, pasture and hay crops and has proved to be an effective deterent against lepidopteran worms, such as armyworm, true armyworm, corn earworm, sorghum webworm and loopers.
North America business director of DuPont’s Crop Protection James Hay said: “Many of the worm pests that attack corn, soybeans, cotton and pastures or hay fields also attack sorghum and small grains. As these pests move from field to field and from one crop to another, Prevathon adds flexibility to a grower’s integrated pest management program while helping to protect developing crops.
“Three years of field trials versus other insect control products in sorghum showed Prevathon provides impressive management of fall armyworm, with nearly 100% worm control on sorghum heads 11 to 15 days after treatment and greater than 83% worm control in sorghum whorls five to seven days after treatment.”
Prevathon breaks the insect feeding cycle to protect crop yields and quality, without damaging beneficial predator insects and pollinators, DuPont said.
HGCA is recruiting Crop Committee members
The HGCA is looking for three candidates to fill vacancies on its Recommended List (RL) Crop Committees for oilseed rape, barley & oats and wheat.
The successful candidates will complete the panel of committee experts who examine trial results and make crop variety recommendations to the main RL project board.
The positions are for an agronomist on Oilseed Rape Committee, an oats miller for the Barley & Oats Crop Committee and a commercial grain trader for the Wheat Crop Committee.
The HGCA said candidates should have specific knowledge of the crop sector they wish to represent and be able to attend three Committee meetings every year. The vacancies are for a three-year term.