Archived Posts

News Flash: May 21, 2015


USDA develops new government label for GMO-free products

The Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods free of genetically modified ingredients. Consumer groups and leading global companies have pushed for the mandatory labeling of GMOs. The certification, the first of its kind, will be voluntary and will cost companies. The process will allow foods to carry a “USDA Process Verified” label and a GMO-free claim if approved. Currently, there are no government labels which certify GMO-free. The majority of the country’s corn and soybean crop is now genetically modified, with much of its use for animal feed. While the government says GMOs on the market now are safe, they have supported state efforts to require labeling in response to consumer advocates arguments, with the eventual goal of having a federal standard. Associated Press



ACORE Brings Together Biofuel Industry to Publish Comments Addressing RFS Rules

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has recently submitted a white paper to the U.S. Environmental Protection agency (EPA) requesting clarification on the agency’s interpretation of feedstock material within the facility definition under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The definition specifically requires the production of advanced biofuel to be completed at one location. This includes the delivery of the feedstock material to production and the final storage of the end product to be controlled by the same person in order to meet RFS standards. The white paper was co-authored by leaders of the advanced biofuel industry and it provides recommendations for EPA to clarify the feedstock material for better understanding. The paper was also submitted to the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. MarketWatch


OPINION: Paying for Ethanol at the Pump and on the Plate

The Renewable Fuel Standard has increased the costs of many vital food commodities including corn, oilseeds, grain, poultry, eggs, and others. One major reason includes the federal government’s corn-ethanol mandate requirement of a percentage of the nation’s corn crop be used towards the production of ethanol each year. The percentage continues to increase, in turn, adding more of the nation’s corn supply into ethanol fuel. The RFS demand has also left prices higher. Legislation has now been introduced in both the House and Senate to repeal the RFS corn-ethanol mandate. Wall Street Journal



Study: Nutritional value of canola oil co-products when fed to pigs

Rapeseed and canola are popular oilseed crops and the crops co-products are increasingly used in livestock diets as a source of protein. Research at the University of Illinois is currently being done to determine the nutritional value of canola oil co-products fed to pigs. “Breeding programmes in North America and Europe have focused on selecting varieties of canola and rapeseed with low concentrations of erucic acids and glucosinolates,” said Hans H. Stein, professor of animal sciences at the U of I. “We wanted to compare the co-products from the North American and European varieties, as well as determine effects of processing on the nutritional value of the co-products.” Digestibility and energy concentrations of digestible and metabolized energy are being studied. All About Feed



Anticipating changes in corn and soybean acreage estimates

The focus in corn and soybean markets is shifting towards acreage considerations with a favorable planting and early growing season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s March 31, 2015 survey report stated intentions of producers to plant close to 90 million acres of corn in 2015, over 1.3 million acres less than in 2014. The actual planted area estimates of both corn and soybeans is expected to be available in the June 30 acreage report and final acreage estimates in the January 2016 annual Crop Production Report. The USDA reports that combined sampling errors are typically between 1-3%. “History suggests that acreage estimates will differ from intentions reported in March,” says Darrel Good, University of Illinois agricultural economist. Ag Week



Economy in brief: Palm oil mill effluent used to generate power

The Asian Agri plantation group will soon begin operations of two power generation plants running on palm oil mill effluent (POME). Asian Agri managing director, Kevin Tio, updated the Jakarta Post on the building of five POME-based biogas power stations in North Sumatra scheduled to start operation by early June. Tio disagrees with green activists arguments against oil palm estates as one of the biggest emitters of GHG. “But by processing POME into biogas to generate electricity, we cut GHG emissions and at the same time develop a new source of renewable energy which is suitable for rural electrification”, said Tio. He reports to GHG calculations being conducted for all mills and estates to identify problem areas in production and provide guidance on emission reduction. The Jakarta Post


El Nino to hit coffee, palm oil and other commodities

The strengthening of El Nino has raised concerns in agricultural and mining industries, specifically commodities including coffee and palm oil as likely to experience price increases. El Nino conditions have been confirmed as beginning across the tropical Pacific and may affect commodity prices. El Nino commonly causes drought in Australia, heavier rain across south America and wind pattern changes across the Pacific region. The production impacts will be determined upon the strength, timing and duration of El Nino’s presence. Capital Economics pointed out coffee and palm oil prices as likely to rise due to the concentration of El Nino-affected zones in South America and Asia. Good Food



Soybean response to standing water and saturated soils

A variety of differences have been reported and identified by researchers of possible genes tolerant to waterlogged conditions. Scientists in Missouri have tested a number of soybean varieties by subjecting them to periods of flooding. The average yield resulted in 61% reductions, with 39% reduction in the most tolerant varieties and 77% reduction in the least tolerant. If soybean plants are submerged for less than 48 hours, they are more likely to survive, especially in cool versus warm water temperatures. Waterlogged soils can still cause problems if it lasts, even if fields do not have standing water. Soil saturation can lead to decreased oxygen levels in the roots and the accumulation of lactic acid. Injury is dependent upon variety, growth stage, duration of waterlogging, soil texture, fertility levels, and diseases present. Ag Professional