Bayer Celebrates 10th Anniversary of One Ton Club

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bayer CropScienceBayer CropScience is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the FiberMax One Ton Club and honored 183 growers for hitting the 2,000-pound-per-acre yield during 2014.

During its first decade, the FiberMax One Ton Club has recognized 806 cotton growers who produced 2,000 pounds or more of lint cotton per acre on at least 20 acres using FiberMax cotton seed. In 2014, a grower from North Carolina became the first One Ton Club member from east of Texas. Growers have used 37 different FiberMax varieties to produce One Ton Club yields.

Bayer CropScience brought FiberMax cotton seed to the West Texas market in 1998 and revolutionized cotton production on the High Plains. The region once known for producing lower yields and quality began producing some of the highest yields and best quality in the United States.

Lee Rivenbark, head of Seeds North America for Bayer CropScience, remembers those early days when growers first started achieving yields that were previously unknown in West Texas.

Willem and Ruth Hartman, OTC truck winners“By elevating the use of water management, equipment and technology, these innovative growers showed they could successfully manage for high yields and high quality with FiberMax cotton,” Rivenbark said. “We began to hear stories about 2,000-pound cotton yields, and we needed to come up with a way to recognize producers who grew four-bale cotton. Then a grower told us, ‘It’s not just four-bale cotton. It’s a ton of cotton.’”

Willem and Ruth Hartman, first-year One Ton Club members from Pampa, Texas, won a Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch truck in a sweepstakes for all One Ton Club members. Read More

Agribusiness, Bayer CropScience, Cotton

Zetor Debuts New 150 Horsepower Forterra HD

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zetorforterraZetor North America has added a new tractor to its offerings. The new 150 horsepower Forterra HD is the company’s most powerful, top of the line tractor.

Zetor Tractors has expanded its range of farm tractors for the US and Canadian markets with the 150hp Forterra HD. The objective was to introduce a high horsepower tractor with a four-cylinder engine offering fuel economy and low operating costs that no six-cylinder tractor with the same power can match, while also delivering the durability and reliability Zetor Forterra tractors have been known for almost 20 years. All that at a very attractive price.

Forterra HD tractors feature a unique combination of high power and torque, extreme fuel efficiency and high operator’s comfort. Equipped with the top version of the proven and highly popular Zetor 4-cylinder engine with Zetor 16-valve technology, it is one of the most fuel efficient tractors on the world market. At the same time, Zetor inline injection pump and mechanical injectors are simple in design, and their long track record shows very low operating costs, high reliability, and long life expectancy, compared with common-rail systems. Engine balancing shafts make the HD engine run as smooth as any six-cylinder, while reducing noise levels.

Forterra HD is equipped with proven 30/30 power shuttle transmission introduced in 2012 in the HSX series. New for HD is PTO clutch control that automatically adjusts the startup speed depending on the implement for fast but smooth engagement at all times.

To enhance operator’s comfort, Forterra HD has a significantly extended wheelbase so the comfort is fully comparable to six-cylinder tractors. The inside noise has been reduced by 3dBA.

More information is available at your nearest local dealer. Find them here.

Agribusiness, Equipment, Tractor

DuPont to Buy Taxon Biosciences

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duponttaxonDuPont will buy leading microbiome discovery company Taxon Biosciences, Inc. This company news release says the deal will build on DuPont’s in-house capabilities and market access in both seed and crop protection to discover and commercialize biological solutions for agriculture customers globally.

“In 2014, the businesses in DuPont’s Agriculture, Nutrition & Health and Industrial Biosciences segments sold more than $1 billion in biological solutions across four market sectors. Our in-house, cross-business venture, DuPont Biologicals, draws on our world-class science and deep understanding of food and production agriculture markets to deliver value-added crop biological solutions,” said Executive Vice President James C. (Jim) Borel. “Taxon has built a leading technology platform for the discovery of microbial based products that will further strengthen our capabilities in biologicals.”

Based in Tiburon, Calif., Taxon was founded in 2000, by leading microbial geneticists Matt Ashby and Jasper Rine, with the objective of developing a transformational microbial genomics platform to solve critical challenges in agriculture, energy and health sciences. The company holds a broad intellectual property estate in the field of microbial consortia and microbial genomics products which will contribute to the development of new DuPont seed treatment, foliar and soil application products for important row crops, fruits and vegetables.

“The acquisition of Taxon will complement and enhance our in-house microbial discovery programs,” said Frank DeGennaro, director of DuPont Biologicals. “With this added capability, we expect to accelerate our time from discovery to market and we are field testing biological discovery leads identified by Taxon this year.”

“DuPont has a legacy of innovation, and we are excited to join the company in transforming the future of global agriculture through crop biologicals,” said Glenn Nedwin, chief executive officer and president, Taxon Biosciences, Inc. “Our unique technology platform coupled with DuPont’s robust research capabilities and positioning across several markets makes the integration of Taxon into DuPont a natural fit and will support DuPont’s ability to bring new products to the market, faster.”

Crop biologicals, including microbes, plant extracts, and other natural substances used to control pests and improve plant health, quality and yield, can provide more choice and flexibility for growers, and complement leading-edge solutions for growers available from DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer.

Agribusiness, Dupont Crop Protection, Dupont Pioneer

Granular Buys AcreValue

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granularAgriculture software and analytics company Granular bought farmland real estate evaluation business AcreValue. This company news release says the deal enhances Granular’s service offerings to the farmland market and gives farmers and potential investors valuable information into land values across the country.

The free service allows buyers, sellers, agents and other interested parties to browse AcreValue estimates using a map-based interface. Users will also be able to download reports on each field that includes valuable data on soil type, topography, crop history, basis trends and other important features, as well as produce estimates of the value of individual fields. These estimates have proven accurate to the level where they provide useful guidance to farmland buyers and sellers.

“Acquiring or leasing more acres at the right price is a top priority for members of Granular’s professional farm network,” said Sid Gorham, Granular’s CEO. “We believe that AcreValue will make the farmland resale and rental markets more convenient, transparent and efficient. This is an exciting new service the market has been waiting for and we will continue to invest in its expansion so it can benefit Granular subscribers and the agriculture industry more broadly.”

“The idea for AcreValue came out of my own family’s discussions about valuing our farmland in Iowa,” said Christopher Seifert, AcreValue’s CEO. “Granular’s vision of adding technology innovation to the farmland and agricultural market makes it a perfect acquiring partner for AcreValue. I’m excited to build out the service as part of the Granular team and to work with its base of industry-leading farmers. We hope AcreValue helps the farmland market like Zillow has the residential real estate market.”

As part of the deal, Seifert joins Granular to head the agronomy data science team.


White House Climate Initiative Announced

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and presidential advisor Brian Deese visited Michigan State University Thursday to announce a comprehensive national strategy to partner with farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to address the threat of climate change. The new initiative, “Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry”, will utilize voluntary, incentive-based conservation, forestry, and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors.

climate-deese“This is an innovative and creative effort to look across all of USDA’s programs and put forward voluntary and incentive-based programs that will increase the bottom lines of ranchers and farmers while reducing net greenhouse gas emissions,” said Deese. “Taken together, these partnerships will reduce emissions by 120 million metric tons or two percent of our economy-wide emissions in 2025 – exactly the collaborative, bold action this moment demands of us.”

climate-vilsack“American farmers and ranchers are leaders when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency in their operations. That’s why U.S. agricultural emissions are lower than the global average,” said Vilsack, who was joined by agricultural producers and other private partners in Michigan. “Through incentive-based initiatives, we can partner with producers to significantly reduce carbon emissions while improving yields, increasing farm operation’s energy efficiency, and helping farmers and ranchers earn revenue from clean energy production.”

Listen to or download announcement here: White House Climate Change initiative announcement

Audio, climate, USDA

Soybean Leaders Talk Biotech in China

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

round-soyRepresentatives from U.S. soybean organizations are in China this week joining their counterparts from several other countries to discuss the biotech-approval process there.

United Soybean Board (USB) chairman Bob Haselwood of Kansas, the American Soybean Association (ASA) president Wade Cowan of Texas, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) chair Laura Foell of Iowa teamed up with their fellow soybean farmers from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Canada, representing the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA).

“We met with Chinese buyers, government officials and influencers to discuss the importance of timely, science-based approvals for biotech soybeans,” said Foell during a press call from China today, noting that they brought with them a white paper that shows the economic impact of slow approvals. “This data helps put a value on the problems caused by the biotech approval system (in China).”

Haselwood said some may question why they are partnering with other countries that compete with U.S. producers. “We do represent over 90 percent of the exportable soybeans and that is a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

“It’s very important that we come together with our partners in South America and develop a working relationship and that we come with a united message,” added Cowan.

Listen to the press conference here: Soybean stakeholder press conference from China

ASA, Audio, International, Soybeans, trade, USB

EU Plan Would Allow Countries to Ban Biotech

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

european-commA new proposal by the European Commission which would allow member countries to ban the import of food and feed containing biotech ingredients, causing a concern for U.S. agricultural interests.

“We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a regulatory proposal that appears hard to reconcile with the EU’s international obligations,” said United States Trade Representative Michael Froman. “Moreover, dividing the EU into 28 separate markets for the circulation of certain products seems at odds with the EU’s goal of deepening the internal market. At a time when the U.S. and the EU are working to create further opportunities for growth and jobs through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, proposing this kind of trade restrictive action is not constructive.”

American Soybean Association Vice President Richard Wilkins of Delaware expressed concerns about the impact of the plan on EU’s existing international trade obligations as well as the ongoing T-TIP negotiations. “The World Trade Organization has ruled against the EU for not operating a timely and science-based approval process, and today’s decision would create new WTO violations by allowing member states to restrict these imports based on something as trivial as political or popular whims,” said Wilkins. “We believe this proposal, if finalized, would negatively impact U.S. soy trade with the EU.”

The proposal still must be adopted by the 28 EU member states and the EU parliament, but no timeline has been set for that.

ASA, biotechnology, trade

Trimble Acquires HarvestMark

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

trimbleTrimble announced that it has acquired the assets of HarvestMark®, a provider of food traceability and quality inspection solutions, from YottaMark, Inc. of Redwood City, Calif. HarvestMark is a market leader in delivering insights throughout the fresh food supply chain from farm to fork. Its platform and tools make food data collection efficient, complex information simple to view and prioritize, and provides actionable insights to drive sales and profit. HarvestMark enables food producers, distributors and retailers to meet food safety requirements, build shopper loyalty, secure their supply chain and optimize product freshness and quality. The acquisition of HarvestMark further enhances Trimble’s position in Agriculture and Transportation and Logistics within the food supply chain.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.46.06 AMThe HarvestMark portfolio includes four software-as-a-service products:
– PTI & Item Level Traceability is affordable software that enables food producers, retailers and food service companies to comply with the Produce Traceability Initiative and create visibility throughout the supply chain.It provides an easy way to create rich analytics to improve performance from a product’s source to the end consumer.
– DC Insights is a flexible, ERP agnostic mobile application that prioritizes and guides quality inspections, provides analytics for improved buying and gross margin, and creates visibility in real time with automated performance reports and supplier notifications.
– Retail Insights is a lightweight, mobile application that allows retailers, food service companies and food producers to easily collect and synthesize food data, prioritize companies’ initiatives and ensure execution of priorities with real time—and trended—information.
– Connect is a platform that allows retailers and food producers to engage their customers, share details about particular products and buying practices, suggest recipes and complimentary products, and receive customer feedback.

The food industry is being transformed by demands for greater transparency, quality and safety, creating opportunities to provide meaningful analysis of food from the farm to the fork. HarvestMark provides applications for food producers, distributors and retailers to address these demands to deliver predictably higher quality, fresh food to build buyer loyalty, drive sales and improve profitability.

Read More

Agribusiness, Company Announcement, Food, Trimble

Bayer Helps Growers CARE for Crops and Bees

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bayer-200Bayer CropScience is continuing a program that helps growers and beekeepers collaborate to help feed a growing planet. With more than $15 billion dollars worth of crops in the U.S. pollinated by bees each year, the CARE program, now in its third year, reflects Bayer’s ongoing commitment to product stewardship, protecting natural resources, enhancing agricultural sustainability and promoting partnerships between growers and beekeepers, which are all needed to feed a projected 9 billion people by 2050.

The CARE Program encourages growers to:
• Communicate planting activities to neighboring beekeepers when practical and be aware of beehives adjacent to the planting area;
• Be Aware of wind speed and direction during planting, particularly in areas with flowering crops;
• Reduce risk to pollinators by using Fluency Agent, a new planter seed lubricant for corn and soybeans; and
• Ensure seed is planted correctly. To help protect the environment, clean planters and seed boxes in a way to minimize dust release and ensure treated seed is planted at the proper depth.

“Growers are among the greatest stewards of our environment and Bayer CropScience supports them as they take CARE to produce the food, fuel and fiber needed for our growing world population,” said Kevin Adam, SeedGrowth strategic business lead at Bayer CropScience. “It’s our mission to help our fields and communities thrive in order to meet this challenge, and bees play a vital role in helping farmers establish a healthy harvest in a sustainable manner.”

In addition to focusing on key steps to take while planting treated seeds to sustain the environment and maximize the health of crops, CARE also champions the important relationship between growers and local beekeepers, encouraging both to maintain open channels of communication to continue to protect both crops and pollinators.

Agribusiness, Bayer CropScience, Bees, pollinators

Thunder Seed Welcomes New Customer Service Rep

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

KristaKappesThunder Seed, Dilworth, Minnesota, hired Krista Kappes as its new customer service representative. She began working part-time for Thunder Seed on March 31 and begins full-time in May following her graduation from North Dakota State University where she will be receiving a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications.

Kappes’ new role focuses on developing grower and dealer relationships as part of Thunder Seed’s sales, marketing and service department. She brings more than four years of experience in the agriculture and seed industry, providing her the skills needed to build key relationships in this role.

“We are really excited to have Krista on the Thunder Seed team,” said Crystal Adams, Thunder Seed chief operating officer. “Her strong work ethic and fun-loving attitude, coupled with her great level of experience and knowledge make her a strong fit for the company.”

Previously, Kappes was a marketing intern at a regional seed company for two years and a tissue culture laboratory technician at NDSU’s Seed Department for four years. Her duties included collaborating with personnel in the certified seed industry, delivering seed to dealers and implementing a creative social media strategy using a wide variety of networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. When Kappes wasn’t working at the seed company or at NDSU, she helped with planting and harvesting on her family-owned farm near Ada, Minnesota.

“There is great opportunity for regional growth for Thunder Seed, and I am excited to help contribute to the success of Thunder Seed growers and dealers,” said Kappes. “Thunder Seed’s diverse seed variety equips growers with quality seed that is trait tested and developed with the latest technologies. It will be great to be a part of the team and provide support to Thunder Seed’s customers.”

Agribusiness, Company Announcement, seed