Exploring ideas and views on all aspects of the seed industry.
Keep the Technology Stream Flowing
“The industry needs to continue driving technology and increasing productivity, while reaching out and helping others to understand the needs and benefits as well as the consequences—not just for today, but for the future,” says Mike Gumina, chairman of the American Seed Trade Association for 2011/12. “Technology is not like a tap that you can just turn on and off with the twist of a handle; it’s a stream, and you have to keep it coming continually or you’ll lose it. Education has to play a pivotal role in easing the tension of technology. We are working on education and outreach at many different levels and need to continue enhancing these efforts.”
Farm Computer Use
“The drought of 2011 will have a lasting impact on Texas agriculture.”
“The drought of 2011 will have a lasting impact on Texas agriculture,” says Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist, of the historic Texas drought that has led to a record $5.2 billion in agricultural losses, making it the most costly drought on record. “This drought is ongoing,” adds David Anderson, AgriLife Extension livestock economist. “Further losses will continue if rainfall does not come soon to establish this year’s winter wheat crop and wheat grazing.” The $5.2 billion in losses exceeds the previous record of $4.1 billion during the 2006 drought. The losses also represent 27.7 percent of the average value of agricultural production over the last four years, Anderson says.
Sustaining the Productivity of Rice
“A recent study has clearly shown that one of the most successful mega varieties of rice, IR8, shows about 15 percent decline in yield (from 9.5 to 10.5 tons per hectare in the 1960s to around 8 tons per hectare now) compared to when the variety was first launched in the 1960s. This significant decline has been attributed to climatic changes, because the yield test was done under controlled conditions. Asia, including China and India, accounts for about 140 million hectares of land under rice cultivation, and the rest of the world has only about 10 million hectares for rice cultivation. So, the bulk of the world’s production and consumption of rice is in Asia. As indicated above with the example of 15 percent decline in productivity of IR8 rice variety, the crop is sensitive to climate change. Therefore, concerted efforts to generate varieties that can tolerate the changing climatic conditions are urgently needed.”—Prakash Kumar, a professor within the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore, on the importance of the recent announcement by the Singapore National Research Foundation that it is investing up to US$8.2 million over five years in a new rice research program led by researchers from NUS and the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory.
“There is an enormous amount of competition out here and the fact that lettuce is open-pollinated makes intellectual property protection and enforcement a critical business component,” said Jerry Vosti, an account manager for Nunhems USA, at UPOV’s recent session of its Technical Working Party for Vegetables. “Anything that can be done to strengthen PVP laws and help companies’ ability to protect their investments is a good thing.” Rick Falconer, of American Takii Inc., added that new varieties of lettuce are increasingly being introduced and pushing older ones out of the market at such a rate that the life cycles of varieties put on the market today are sometime half what they used to be. “Varieties released in the market need a longer life to help us recover research and development costs for each particular variety. Because there is such a short life for lettuce varieties, it’s critical that we have timely responses and approvals when applying for PVP certificates. I think this tour helped demonstrate the importance of that.”
Fresh New Look
“Our new logo honors the past 80 years of AAS history by maintaining the familiar red, white and blue, but in updated tones. We also are embracing our future with the strong use of the AAS acronym that represents an easily identifiable connection to our organization and our winning plants and flowers,” says Mike Murgiano of Syngenta Flowers, chair of the AAS task force responsible for the new image of All-America Selections. “The words “All-America Selections” encircling the acronym symbolize how the organization embraces not only annual flower and vegetable seed, but how we plan to embrace vegetatively-propagated annuals and perennials in the future. We thank the entire board of directors for the time they’ve given to breathe new life into an organization that plays a vital role in a holistic marketing approach for breeders,” adds Diane Blazek, AAS executive director.
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