Argentina Storms Could Delay Wheat Planting, Expand Area
Reuters – 06/19/2019
Heavy storms that have hit eastern Argentina over the past few days will cause delays in planting of next season’s wheat crop, but they could also help farmers grow more of the grain thanks to replenished water reserves, weather experts said. Argentina, one of the world’s major grain exporters, has been benefiting recently from adverse weather hitting U.S. wheat crops, with the local exchange estimating record wheat production in the 2019/20 season. The intense rains, which affected the provinces of Buenos Aires – the country’s main wheat district – and Entre Ríos, reached to levels as high as 150 millimeters (6 inches) in some areas over the weekend period and on Monday. “There are areas in Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires that were already doing planting work. That will now be delayed,” said Germán Heinzenknecht, meteorologist at the Buenos Aires-based Applied Climatology Consultancy.
Japan Says G20 Summit to Debate Trade including WTO Reform
Reuters – 06/18/2019
Substantial discussions on trade, including reform of the World Trade Organization, will likely take place at a summit of Group of 20 major economies next week in Osaka, a senior Japanese finance ministry official said on Wednesday. Japan, which chairs this year’s G20 gatherings, will take a neutral stance in the U.S.-China trade row and urge countries to resolve tensions with a multilateral framework, said Masatsugu Asakawa, vice finance minister for international affairs. “With regard to differences (on trade) between the United States and China, Japan of course won’t take sides. We will also not take any steps that go against WTO rules,” said Asakawa, who oversaw the G20 finance leaders’ gathering earlier this month. “Japan will continue to take a multilateral approach in promoting free trade,” he told a news conference. China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, are in the middle of a costly trade dispute that has pressured financial markets and damaged the world economy.
Wheat Myth Debunked by a Major New Study
Phys.org – 06/17/2019
The myth that modern wheat varieties are more heavily reliant on pesticides and fertilisers is debunked by new research published in Nature Plants today. Lead author on the paper, Dr. Kai Voss-Fels, a research fellow at The University of Queensland, said modern wheat cropping varieties actually out-perform older varieties in both optimum and harsh growing conditions. “There is a view that intensive selection and breeding which has produced the high-yielding wheat cultivars used in modern cropping systems has also made modern wheat less resilient and more dependent on chemicals to thrive,” said Dr. Voss-Fels. “However, the data unequivocally shows that modern wheat varieties out-perform older varieties, even under conditions of reduced amounts of fertilisers, fungicides and water,” he said. “We also found that genetic diversity within the often-criticised modern wheat gene pool is rich enough to generate a further 23 per cent increase in yields.” Dr. Voss-Fels said the findings might surprise some farmers and environmentalists. “Quite a few people will be taken aback by just how tough modern wheat varieties proved to be, even in harsh growing conditions, such as drought, and using less chemical inputs.” Dr. Voss-Fels said the findings could have potentially important implications for raising the productivity of organic cropping systems.”It’s been widely assumed that the older wheat cultivars are more robust and resilient but it’s actually the modern cultivars that perform best in optimum and sub-optimum conditions.”
UK Farmers Develop Drought-Tolerant Wheat Plant
Farmers Weekly – 06/20/2019
Scientists have developed wheat plants engineered to better survive drought conditions associated with climate breakdown. Researchers at the University of Sheffield found that engineering bread wheat to have fewer microscopic spores – called stomata – helps the crop to use water more efficiently, while maintaining yields. Like most plants, wheat uses stomata to regulate its intake of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, as well as the release of water vapour. When water is plentiful, stomatal opening helps plants to regulate temperature by evaporative cooling – similar to sweating.
In drought conditions, wheat plants normally close their stomata to slow down water loss – but wheat with fewer stomata has been found to conserve water even better, and can use that water to cool itself.
Unseasonably Wet and Cool Spring Delays Kansas Wheat Harvest
The Wichita Eagle – 06/20/2019
If it were any other year, Scott Van Allen, a wheat farmer near Clearwater, would likely be finished harvesting his crop. This year, harvest hasn’t even started. Van Allen is just one of many Kansas farmers facing a later wheat harvest after an especially damp and cool spring. May was the wettest ever recorded in Kansas with rainfall across the state averaging 10.26 inches, more than double the 30-year average of 4.12 inches. Van Allen said he hopes to be able to start harvesting by the weekend, but storms like the one on Tuesday night keep pushing back the deadline. Typically, the wheat harvest in Kansas occurs sometime between early and mid-June and is usually finished by mid-July, but the Kansas Wheat Commission, a group of Kansas wheat farmers, reports only one percent of the wheat crop in the state was harvested by June 16. This time last year, 20 percent of the crop had been harvested. Typically about 12 percent of the state’s wheat crop has been harvested by this time. Furthermore, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that only 21 percent of Kansas’ wheat crop is mature, “well behind” this time last year when almost 60 percent of the crop was mature.
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates