Selling Seed Treatment
“Seed treatment is an art, not a science: you’ll have to adjust during the season. There’s no manual that I’ve seen that is as good as you with your equipment. You can’t be effective treating seed sitting behind a desk—you need to be out there, hands-on, involved, making suggestions and looking at the quality of the product that’s going out. Help your customers get to where they want to be, and you’ll get to where you want to be.”—Brian Edwards, owner of Brian Edwards Inc. and a Pioneer rep, who was the guest on a recent CropLife Media Group Webinar, “How to Use Seed Treatments to Improve Your Business.”

A Call for “Energy-Smart” Agriculture
“There is justifiable concern that the current dependence of the food sector on fossil fuels may limit the sector’s ability to meet global food demands. The challenge is to decouple food prices from fluctuating and rising fossil fuel prices,” according to an FAO paper entitled “Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate,” which was published during last month’s UN Conference on Climate Change. High and fluctuating prices of fossil fuels and doubts regarding their future availability mean that agri-food systems need to shift to an “energy-smart” model, according to the report.

“The global food sector needs to learn how to use energy more wisely. At each stage of the food supply chain, current practices can be adapted to become less energy intensive,” added the FAO assistant director-general for environment and natural resources, Alexander Mueller.

Climate’s Impact on Seed Dormancy
“Many will have seen how the amount of weeds in their garden differs with the weather from year to year. Understanding how this happens will help us to predict the impact that future climate change will have on our native flora and the weeds that compete with the crops we rely on for food,” says Steve Footitt of the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, who looked at gene expression over the dormancy cycle of Arabidopsis seeds in field soils to see how it is affected by the seasons. “Our research sheds new light on how genetics and the environment interact in the dormancy cycling process. By looking at seeds over an annual cycle, we now have a clearer idea of how seeds sense and react to changes in the environment throughout the seasons so they know the best time to emerge into plants.”

“Seeds sense and react to changes in the environment.”

Early Commercialization of Biotech: Hot Debate
“We do not support the commercialization of GM traits ahead of major market approvals,” Randal Giroux, vice president of food safety for Cargill, told the members of the National Grain and Feed Association, as reported by Reuters. “We don’t think it’s good for U.S. agriculture. We think that we should wait for the commercialization of these traits until we have major market approvals … We have to recognize that when those major markets have not approved it, the threshold is zero. We have to make sure that we are seen as a credible and consistent supplier of agricultural products. It’s not a decision we should make alone, it’s something we should be working on with the technology companies, [and with] trade associations.”

Grain and Oilseed Demand
Ken Morrison of Morrison on the Markets told attendees of the American Seed Trade Association’s CSS & Seed Expo that grain and oilseed demand is determined by many factors outside the United States. “We need to associate demand drivers with population growth, but oftentimes it is urbanization along with income growth that drive the global grain and oilseed demand,” Morrison said. “Along with population growth, urbanization and rising incomes also come improved diets in the form of diversified foods and complex, processed foods.” Morrison added that production of biofuels is a tremendous driver of grain and oilseed demand, more so recently than ever. “In studying this topic, I had to really challenge myself to think about what’s going on outside the United States,” he said. “As we think about the ramp up of ethanol in the U.S., we are now beginning to stabilize that curve. There is continued biofuels growth around the world and that’s going to have a major impact on global grain and oilseed demand.” Morrison stated that by 2020, global biofuels use is estimated to consume 13 percent of the world’s coarse grain, 15 percent of all vegetable oil produced and 30 percent of the world’s sugarcane.