EU BEES AT BEST HEALTH LEVEL IN YEARS
New field data from nearly 400,000 bee colonies from 21 countries in Europe and the Mediterranean show that overwintering losses of honeybee colonies ― an important indicator of general bee health ― were at their lowest level in years in 2013-14. “It is great to see that our bees have come out of the 2013/14 winter in the best shape for many years,” says Christian Maus, Bayer CropScience global pollinator safety manager. “These results are also very telling since the data relate to a season during which neonicotinoid-based crop protection products were still in common use throughout Europe. This offers further evidence that these important components in the toolbox of farmers do not impact the survival of honeybee colonies during overwintering under real-life field conditions.” The data shows that the overall mortality rate of bee colonies in the 2013-14 winter was on average 9 percent; losses below 10 percent are considered normal.
S&W SEED ADDS TO AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION
S&W Seed Company has secured approximately 1,000 acres of contracted seed production in Australia to be dedicated to the company’s S&W varieties, which have historically been grown exclusively in California. The 1,000 initial acres will finalize the company’s planting in the coming weeks and will be harvested during the March/April 2015 harvest. “Our strategy is to expand production of our salt-tolerant varieties outside of California’s San Joaquin Valley,” says Mark Grewal, S&W Seed Company president and CEO. “Securing these 1,000 acres with our Australian grower base is confirmation that we are off to a strong start in executing on our strategy.”
AGRITHORITY ADDS STAFF
AgriThority LLC adds formulation chemist Roy Chen to its team of associates supporting new and emerging biotechnologies and conventional chemistries. Chen joins the integrated global science consultancy as the chemical and microbial biopesticide formulations specialist. His formulation process and laboratory expertise strengthens AgriThority services involving seed treatment and crop protection products ranging from biologicals and biorationals, to synthetic chemistries for companies ranging from small start-up ventures to multinational basic manufacturers. With more than 35 years of formulation and technology development experience, Chen offers services in project management, database support and formulation scaling for commercial distribution. Most recently, Chen was senior research chemist at Bayer CropScience, holding that position for 11 years.
MARRONE BIO ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE CHANGES
Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., a provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agricultural and water treatment markets, has announced that COO Hector Absi has resigned for personal reasons, effective Aug. 22. Absi has agreed to remain with the company as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition. Efforts to initiate a search for a successor are underway.
FRONTIER SCIENTIFIC ACQUIRES PREMIER AG INDUSTRY SUPPLIER
Frontier Scientific Inc. (FSI) has acquired a leading supplier of insect products to provide researchers proven quality solutions for insecticide compound screening, seed development and crop protection. According to FSI, the expansion is a natural fit for the company’s established areas of expertise in complex supply issues, custom chemistry capabilities, existing chemical offering, compound management for screening and crop protection pipeline. “This allows us to expand and strengthen current relationships and provide a solid foundation for future discovery, development and commercialization,” says Tim Miller, FSI president and CEO. The new business unit will operate as Frontier Agricultural Sciences at a specialized facility in Newark, Delaware.
NAPB ANNUAL MEETING A SUCCESS
This year’s joint annual meeting of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) and Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee (PBCC) was hosted by Syngenta, June 5-8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The theme of the annual meeting was “Breeding for Tolerance to Water Stress” which is an issue for many plant breeders. In all, 240 registered guests, including professionals and graduate students, attended the meeting. Multiple topic sessions were given by graduate students and breeders. “The NAPB meeting was a huge success. We would like to thank our host, Syngenta, as well as our many sponsors who made the event possible,” says NAPB president Barry Tillman. “Our student members also played a large role in the NAPB meetings and it is evident that the future of plant breeding is in great hands. Our partnerships and interactions with PBCC, United States Department of Agriculture and the American Seed Trade Association are vital in promoting plant breeding and we look forward to implementing our strategic planning process this coming year.” The next NAPB annual meeting will be held July 27-31, 2015 in Pullman, Washington.
REGISTRATION FOR ASTA’S CSS 2014 & SEED EXPO NOW OPEN
The American Seed Trade Association will host its annual Corn & Sorghum Seed Research Conference and Soybean Seed Research Conference (CSS 2014) & Seed Expo Dec. 8-12 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference will provide a variety of topic-focused sessions representing the most relevant and cutting-edge issues affecting the seed industry. The conference brings seed industry professionals from across the United States and from more than 20 countries for a week of collaboration and networking. Early registration ends Nov. 14.
UC DAVIS OFFERS SEED BUSINESS 101 COURSE
The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center will host its next Seed Business 101 — Field Crops course Dec. 5-9 in conjunction with the American Seed Trade Association’s corn, sorghum and soybean seed research conference (Dec. 9-12) in Chicago, Illinois. The one-week class is designed to expose participants to the five functional areas of a seed company, including research and development, production, operations, sales and marketing and administration. The course offers participants a broad understanding of the major aspects of a seed company’s operations and cross-departmental knowledge of best practices for profitability. The early-bird registration closes Oct. 3.