June 28, 2012
(Supermarket News) – Greenhouse-grown produce has found a permanent spot in supermarkets. The practice allows retailers to sell many commodity products year-round. Of them all, tomatoes reign supreme. According to the A.C. Nielsen data cited by the Perishables Group, more than 50% of tomato sales in the typical supermarket are marketed as greenhouse grown.
The problem is that not all of them are, and the Certified Greenhouse Farmers, a trade organization representing the largest greenhouse operators, wants to implement a standard definition of “greenhouse” to deter anyone trying to sneak in produce grown in other environments.
Why the brou-ha? The debate is being cast in terms of dollars and safety. For example, the trade groups says that in 2011, the average price paid by consumers for greenhouse round tomatoes was $2.70 per pound, compared to $2.31 per pound for field tomatoes.
That’s enough of a price difference for some unscrupulous stakeholders to try and sell as many tomatoes as possible marked as greenhouse-grown, even if they’re not.
“Consumers and retailers that purchase greenhouse-grown produce should be assured that produce labels as greenhouse is, in fact, produced in a defined greenhouse,” says Ed Beckman, president of CGF. “Without such protection, consumers are paying a premium for what is essentially a field-grown product masquerading as greenhouse.”
There’s also a food safety component to this that the CGF is hoping will be bolstered by the establishment of a standard. The controlled conditions of greenhouses allows farmers to cultivate produce hydroponically, “without the use of soil, eliminating the possibility for soil-born contamination and the need for herbicides and fumigants,” the CGG states in its official release.
These aspects of the greenhouse technique are sure to please shoppers who care about the environment, eat organic or want to avoid chemicals. Establishing and promoting a standard would help get the message out to them.
If the growers’ group had its way, the standard would describe a greenhouse as such:
A fully enclosed permanent aluminum or steel structure clad in either glass or impermeable plastic for the controlled environment growing of certified greenhouse/hothouse vegetables using together: computerized irrigation and climate control systems, including heating and ventilation capability; a soilless medium that substitutes for soil (under the greenhouse/hothouse); hydroponic methods; and Integrated Pest Management, without the use of herbicides.
This thorough list of requirements would definitely help identify items grown in qualified controlled environments. But the question is: Could this backfire to some extent? We’re shopping in a lively era of terroir, farm stands and organic produce. How does desire for greenhouse-grown items stack up against these attributes? The answer is important to retailers because, whether we’re talking tomatoes or tomato-red Volkswagens, profit margins apply only if the product is actually sold.
– Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s largest seed company, posted third-quarter
earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates as
Net income climbed 35 percent to $937 million, or $1.74 cents a share, in the three months through May 31, from $692 million, or $1.28, a year earlier, St. Louis-based Monsanto said today in a statement. Profit excluding a legacy tax matter was $1.63 cents a share, topping the $1.60 average estimate of 13 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The company forecast profit of $1.57 to $1.62 on May 30.
Sales of corn seed and genetic licenses rose 35 percent as
“Corn is clearly the driver now,” Chris L. Shaw, a New York-based analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. who recommends holding the shares, said today in a phone interview. “It was strong across the board, and they maintained their guidance for next year.”
Monsanto rose 1 percent to $78.65 at 9:18 a.m. in
Sales climbed 17 percent in the quarter to $4.22 billion from $3.61 billion. Monsanto reiterated its earnings forecast for the year through August of $3.65 to $3.70 a share, excluding the tax issue, settlement of pollution claims and discontinued operations. The average estimate of 16 analysts in the survey was $3.70 a share.
Profit in fiscal 2013, which begins in September, will
increase by a percentage in the “mid-teens,” Monsanto said, repeating its
long-term earnings target. Growth drivers include corn and soybeans in the
Roundup Ready 2 soybeans were planted on about 30 million acres, an increase of more than 10 million acres, and plantings will rise again next year, Monsanto said.
Sales of insect-fighting corn will increase next year in
Country Life) – CROP protection company Nufarm is boosting its
manufacturing activities in the
As part of a move to focus on more high value product activities, the new $9 million facility will also be the global head office for the group's promising seed technologies business, Nuseed.
Late last year Nuseed purchased the Minnesota-based Seeds
2000 hybrid genetics business which followed the acquisition of
Corporate affairs manager Robert Reis said the new factory
would complement a large existing Nufarm herbicide plant in
He said business in North America had generally mirrored a
good year for chemical sales back home in
South American sales activity had also been performing well.
"At a corporate level we have also strengthened our management team with the appointment of a global risk manager and and information technology and supply chain specialists which has helped improve the effectiveness of our operations," Mr Reis said.
"It's encouraging that the sharemarket is showing its support for our activities, too."
Nufarm's share price has risen by more than 5 per cent this month, reflecting cautious market optimism about its recently announced business plans.
Mr Reis said the new
The new plant will open early next year and eventually produce most of Nufarm's fungicide, insecticide, growth regulators and seed treatments.
The extra in-house capacity would also provide greater flexibility to meet changing market needs and demand for new product, and cut inventory costs.
With two plants in
(Phys.org) -- A team of scientists has made a novel discovery that could provide a new strategy for controlling armyworms and other insect crop pests around the globe.
Crop pests such as the African armyworm are a major threat
to global food security, especially in
But an unexpected finding – inspired by recent research into mosquitoes - has opened the door to a new strategy which could multiply the effectiveness of these biopesticides.
In common with nearly three-quarters of all insect species,
some African armyworms carry with them a small passenger, called Wolbachia.
This intra-cellular bacterium has taken centre-stage recently because
researchers discovered that when some insects, including mosquitoes, carry
Wolbachia it protects them from viruses including the virus which causes the
devastating human disease called dengue. Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes have
been released in northern
The discovery led the Lancaster-led research team to wonder
if Wolbachia would have a similarly protective effect on African armyworms,
potentially hampering the effectiveness of the biopesticides such as SpexNPV
currently under development in
What the team discovered surprised them.
"Not only did Wolbachia fail to protect the armyworms against SpexNPV", said project leader Professor Ken Wilson from the Lancaster Environment Centre, "but populations carrying lots of Wolbachia also had much higher viral loads and more of these caterpillars died naturally of viral disease."
To confirm that the increased susceptibility to virus of
Wolbachia-carrying armyworms was caused by the presence of the bacterium,
Wilson and colleagues took the insects back to the laboratory in the
SpexNPV - a baculovirus that naturally infects and kills the
African armyworm - is ideal for use as a biopesticide in
Dr. Rob Graham, lead author of the Ecology Letters paper reporting these findings said: "This means that SpexNPV is likely to be particularly effective as a biopesticide when Wolbachia is at naturally high levels in the armyworm population."
According to another co-author of the study, David Grzywacz
However, not all major crop pests are as mobile as armyworm moths, and the team are optimistic that if similar results are replicated in other -crop pests, then the mass-release of Wolbachia-infected insects might turn out to be an important new tool in the fight to control pests that contribute to global food insecurity.
The 3 year research project was funded by the Sustainable
Agriculture Research for International Development programme - a joint
initiative by the
(SciDev.net) – A global climate services system is due to be launched in October, in the hope of providing advance warning of weather changes that influence water, food security, natural disasters and health.
Around 70 countries lack adequate infrastructure for coping with challenging weather conditions, and six of these countries — all in climatically vulnerable places — "have nothing at all", according to Jan Egeland, co-chair of the High-level Taskforce for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) initiative.
The decision to create GFCS was made in 2009, and there are
currently pilot projects in
Weather and climate variability are key factors in food production processes, most common natural disasters, myriad health epidemics, and the facilitation of water and energy access.
Reliable long-term data can feed into climate services, which can help assess, monitor and predict difficult weather conditions.
Examples of local initiatives successfully using weather
Better climate information could also help predict and manage health epidemics, including malaria, dengue fever and cholera.
Mannava Sivakumar, acting director of the WMO's Climate and Water Department, said: "There is an increasing gap in climate services between developing and developed countries. Currently most developing countries don't have good climate services."
This is due to a lack of infrastructure, meteorological networks and skilled personnel.
Egeland said that science has "made enormous progress" in the areas of water, weather services, climate variability and change — helping to reduce forecasting uncertainties.
"We now have, in embryo [form], a global integrated approach to providing information to those who need it the most," Egeland said.
"Products need to be easy to understand, user-friendly and developed in dialogue with users and scientists."
Elina Palm, liaison officer at the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction in New York, United States, said that climate information is "very important", but that related challenges include a lack of information access, understanding, knowledge and the resources necessary to take action following climate forecasts.
Nelson Castano, disaster risk management coordinator for the
Until mid-July, there is an open review of planning and governance mechanism implementation, and the framework should be approved at a WMO extraordinary congress later this year.