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Articles of Interest- Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Articles of Interest- Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Argentina Grain Exporters Ready to Fill Mexico Demand if U.S. Imposes Tariffs

Reuters – 06/10/2019

If trade strife continues between the United States and Mexico despite a deal struck on Friday, Argentine grain exporters are ready to step in to meet Mexican food demand, the head of an Argentine industry chamber said. The U.S. government called off a threatened 5% tariff on all Mexican goods when Mexico promised to do more to stem the flow of Central American immigrants into the United States. But Trump on Monday warned he could revive the tariffs if Mexico’s Congress does not approve the plan. Mexico would likely respond by erecting tit-for-tat duties against U.S. farm products, which would make buying from other countries more attractive. “The moment that the U.S. sets up trade duties, we would be there,” said Gustavo Idigoras, president of Argentina’s CIARA-CEC chamber of grains exporting companies, which represents global traders such as Louis Dreyfus Company, ADM, and Cargill. “Transport costs from the United States to Mexico are very low, which is why we are not there at the moment. But if tariffs are imposed, we should have enough corn to meet Mexican demand,” he said. “Right now Argentine corn has a very competitive price, and there is plenty of volume available for export to Mexico.”

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Wheat Breeding Partnership Yields First Variety Releases

East Idaho Business Journal – 06/10/2019

A partnership between University of Idaho and an international wheat and barley breeding company is yielding its first collaborative wheat varieties, selected for planting in the Pacific Northwest. UI and Limagrain Cereal Seeds, which was founded in France and has its U.S. headquarters in Colorado, teamed up in 2013, three years after Limagrain entered the Pacific Northwest Market. Thus far, Limagrain has marketed several UI varieties, significantly boosting their planted acreage. Limagrain has been returning more than $1 million per year in royalties to UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. UI and Limagrain have also pooled their breeding program resources to jointly develop new soft white winter wheat varieties. “We were new to the area. We didn’t have our own locations and we didn’t have a lot of adapted germplasm, but what we did have was an extremely experienced team of breeders and access to technology, including rapid breeding techniques and genetic marker platforms,” explained Frank Curtis, a consultant for Limagrain. Limagrain has benefited from UI’s team, trial plots, locally adapted germplasm and facilities in Moscow and Lewiston, which supplement the company’s area facility in Walla Walla, Washington.

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ARS, KSU Study Tackles Fungal Wheat Disease

World-Grain – 06/11/2019

A gene has been identified in order to identify new wheat varieties that will resist Fusarium head blight (FHB), a fungal disease that threatens production worldwide. The 20-year-old study found a gene, known as TaHRC, plays a key role in providing resistance to FHB, also known as scab disease. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), FHB  thrives in warm and moist conditions and is becoming an increasing threat worldwide because of the unpredictable weather patterns brought on by climate change and an increasing trend toward more corn production and no-till farming, which both increase the availability of the pathogen in fields. The disease has caused an estimated $2.7 billion in losses in Minnesota alone since the 1990s, and forced many wheat and barley farmers there into bankruptcy. Growers often use fungicides to control it. Guihua Bai, a plant molecular geneticist with the ARS in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., and an adjunct professor in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University (KSU), said the research team was able to modify the production of select proteins in wheat by shutting off the gene, thus increasing the plants’ ability to resist FHB.

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HRW Wheat Begins New Crop Year

The Progressive Farmer– 06/10/2019

Despite challenging growing conditions in many areas during the 2018 harvest, the 2018 hard red winter (HRW) wheat crop had generally good kernel characteristics, according to the final U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) harvest report on Oct. 2, 2018. “Overall, 93% of composite, 91% of Gulf-Tributary and 98% of Pacific Northwest (PNW)-Tributary samples graded U.S. No. 2 or better. Test weight averages were at 60.9 lb/bu, above the five-year average of 60.3 lb/bu and above the prior year average of 60.5 lb/bu. The average wheat falling number was 373 seconds, which was comparable to the 2017 and five-year averages, and indicates sound wheat.” (Falling number test is a determination of sprout damage in the wheat.)…I asked Dan Maltby, a former HRW wheat buyer in Kansas City (KC) and currently a consultant for Risk Management Group in Minneapolis, for his price insight on last crop year and the year ahead. “The past year was not a good one for U.S. HRW wheat producers unless they sold everything the first week of August 2018. Prices steadily eroded about $1.50 over the next 10 months,” said Maltby. “This year, unfortunately, we might have already had the one marketing opportunity; although I don’t yet think it’s dead because there are three opportunities remaining that could help.”

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Crop Progress Report

North Dakota Wheat Commission – 06/11/2019

While some spring wheat producers may be still planting some of their last acres, planting for the most part has wrapped up.  According to the USDA Crop Progress Report, 97 percent of the spring wheat in the U.S. has been planted, still behind last year and the five-year average.  With improved weather conditions emergence is picking up.  About 85 percent of the U.S. crop has emerged, compared to 93 percent on average.  Emergence is furthest behind in Montana where 79 percent has emerged.  The other states report that 85 percent or more has emerged. Condition of the spring wheat crop remains favorable with 81 percent rated in good to excellent condition, down a couple percentage points from last week, but above 70 percent a year ago.  In Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota, 82-84 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, while in South Dakota 69 percent is rated in the top two categories.  In North Dakota, the northern tier of the state remains dry with the north central portion now classified as being in a moderate drought.  Precipitation would be welcome in many areas to help along crop development.  Precipitation over the last week was quite variable in the region with some areas getting barely a trace and other areas receiving 2-3 inches.  Weather conditions this week look favorable for crop development.

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Source: U.S. Wheat Associates