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Grain farmers work diligently to protect bees

GUELPH, ON (May 24, 2014) -  “Ontario’s corn, soybean, and wheat farmers are committed stewards of the land. We recognize the importance of bees to the overall viability of agriculture and the food chain. We also recognize the importance of sustainably growing over 5 million acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat in our province to feed Ontario families and drive our economy," says Barry Senft, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

The decline of the bee population is a complex issue. Numerous risk factors to bee health have been identified, including varroa mites, poor nutrition/lack of forage, drought, winter-kill, diseases, and exposure to neonicotinoids. The use of neonicotinoid seed treatments in grain farming is critical to the success of crops in Ontario – they protect seedlings during the delicate stages of germination and emergence against deadly pests that can decimate entire family farms. That’s why Grain Farmers of Ontario is actively working to enhance bee protection, while also working to ensure the viability of corn, soybean, and wheat farming in Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario was one of thirty-three members from government, research institutions, industry, and farm organizations that participated in the Ontario Bee Health Working Group in 2013-2014. The goal of the group was to identify and develop options for action to mitigate the risks from neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seeds on bee health.

The resulting report outlined the following recommendations, the majority of which Grain Farmers of Ontario and the grain industry have taken action on, in collaboration with Ontario’s bee keepers. 

Bee Health Working Group Recommendation

Grain Industry Action

Improvements to Growing Practices

Grain Farmers of Ontario has committed over $260,000 to new integrated pest management research

Untreated seed available for purchase in 2013 for the 2014 planting season

Crop rotation (corn, soybeans, wheat or other cereal crop) continues to be a common practice among grain farmers, dictated by soil and environmental conditions

Improved Communications Between Stakeholders

Grain Farmers of Ontario has developed a new SmartPhone app called ‘BeConnected’ to allow farmers and beekeepers to locate each other (by GPS location) quickly and easily, and to facilitate communication

Grain Farmers of Ontario has also communicated information to stakeholders about best management practices and the fluency agent through the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine, advertisements in farm publications, on several radio programs, at their Annual District Meetings by facilitating panel discussions, and a dedicated webpage: www.gfo.ca/protectingpollinators

Environmental Enhancements

Conversations between Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Independent Commercial Beekeepers are ongoing surrounding environmental enhancements

Technical Options

Deflectors for planting equipment are being pilot tested during the 2014 planting season

New fluency agent, to reduce dust, is mandatory for use in planters for 2014 season

CleanFARMS is operating a pilot program in southwestern Ontario to collect, and safely dispose of, empty seed and pesticide bags

Mandatory Training

The Ontario Pesticide Safety Course now includes a section on the proper handling and use of treated seed

Regulatory Approaches

Grain farmers across the province are actively demonstrating outstanding environmental stewardship and commitment to improving bee health in Ontario – a ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments, critical to the sustainable farming of 5 million acres of corn and soybeans, is not appropriate

A recent study on the impacts of a restriction on neonicotinoid seed treatments on Ontario corn and soybean production indicates:

Revenue from total corn and soybean production could fall by $600 million without access to neonicotinoid seed treatments

The total negative impact on Ontario’s GDP, including supply chain effects, is estimated to be over $400 million

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO - 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Henry Van Ankum, Chair - 519-835-4200; henryvanankum@sympatico.ca

Meghan Burke, Communications – 519 767-2773; mburke@gfo.ca

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Weekly Commentary

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Grain Market Commentary for September 20, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Commodity Period Price Weekly Movement
Corn CBOT December 3.50  01 cents
Soybeans CBOT November 9.70  11 cents
Wheat CBOT December 4.50  07 cents
Wheat Minn. December 6.22  12 cents
Wheat Kansas December 4.48  05 cents
Chicago Oats December 2.46  08 cents
Canadian $ December 0.8115  0.75 points

Harvest 2017 prices as of the close, September 20 are as follows:
SWW @ $190.53/MT ($5.19/bu), HRW @ $199.60/MT ($5.43/bu),
HRS @ $241.11/MT ($6.56/bu), SRW @ $195.06/MT ($5.31/bu).

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Market Trends

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Market Trends Report for September-October 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

US and World

Across the US corn belt American farmers are starting to harvest another huge crop. The growing season was uneven with widespread drought in the Northwest plains and quite a wet start in the Eastern corn belt. This was accentuated by somewhat dry conditions in mid-summer, but it looks like good genetics and modern farming methods have won out. As we careen into October, US farmers are set to harvest their third-largest corn crop and the largest soybean crop ever.

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On September 12th the USDA released their latest estimates of US crops. USDA estimated US corn production would come in at 14.184 billion bushels, with an average yield of 169.9 bushels per acre. This was seen as a bit of a shock to the market as traders were expecting lower yield estimates. The USDA also increased 2017/18 ending stocks to 2.335 billion bushels, up 62 million from their August report. This US crop is approximately 6% less than last year with the yield 4.7 bushels per acre lower.

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