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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 October 18, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Commodity Period Price Weekly Movement
Corn CBOT December 3.48  01 cents
Soybeans CBOT November 9.84  08 cents
Wheat CBOT December 4.30  01 cents
Wheat Minn. December 6.10  02 cents
Wheat Kansas December 4.28  02 cents
Chicago Oats December 2.68  06 cents
Canadian $ December 0.8025  0.10 points

Harvest 2017 prices as of the close, October 18 are as follows: SWW @ $183.15/MT ($4.98/bu), HRW @ $192.30/MT ($5.23/bu), HRS @ $238.09/MT ($6.48/bu), SRW @ $187.72/MT ($5.11/bu).

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Market Trends

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Market Trends Report for October-November 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

It is that time of year again when combines are rolling. However, uneven weather in parts of the American corn belt and Ontario has delayed harvest. There is nothing particularly unusual about this as we have it every year. US crops are huge coming off the fields and the market will certainly be making further adjustments. The final determinant on yield will come in the January USDA report. However, the October USDA report released October 12th helped to re-focus the trajectory of grain prices as we head into the end of the 2017.

In the October 12th report USDA increased US national corn yield to 171.8 bushels per acre, an increase of 1.9 bushels per acre over their September estimate. This put 2017/2018-corn production at 14.28 billion bushels on the high-end of pre-report estimates. The USDA also pegged corn-ending stocks at 2.34 billion bushels, which was up 5 million bushels from their September estimate. This number was a bit of a surprise especially with which dry weather throughout the American Midwest the summer.

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USDA estimated soybean production to be at 4.431 billion bushels, which was a decrease from their September estimate. This was based on a .4 bushel/acre cut in US national yield down to 49.5 bushels per acre. However, the US soybean harvested acreage is at a record high of 89.5 million acres, which was up 1% from the USDA September estimate. The US domestic soybean ending stocks were also pegged at 430 million bushels, which was down 45 million bushels from their September estimate. This was generally looked at as bullish on report day and soybeans responded by going up $.26 a bushel. US domestic wheat stocks were set at 960 million bushels, which was 27 million bushels higher than their September estimate.

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