World Farming News Digest
US Committee meets to discuss merger details
A judiciary committee this week heard arguments from top officials of Bayer and Monsanto defending their intended merger deal. "I'm afraid this consolidation wave has become a tsunami,” said Senator Charles Grassley who chaired the committee. "The innovations of the companies in this room today have helped the world reach productivity levels which ease fears over meeting the long-term demands of our growing global population," Grassley said. "However, when does the size of companies and concentration in the market reach the tipping point, so much that a market becomes anti-competitive?" Executives from Dow Agrosciences and DuPont also defended their proposed merger, saying it would lead to more innovation. Full report here.
US Corn Harvest beset by storms
The American Corn Belt received massive rainfall this week, with some parts of Iowa, southern Minnesota and eastern Wisconsin receiving up to 13inches rainfall in 48 hours. It's bad timing as much of the harvest is not in yet. Meteorologist Michael Clark said “Between now and the next 30-45 days, there’s a decent threat of above average severe weather in the heart of the Corn Belt”. More here.
Chinese market reopens to US beef
China has re-opened its markets to US beef after a 13 year ban. It will accept imports of animals under thirty months of age. Kent Bacus, director of international trade for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said: “China is already the world’s second largest buyer of beef, and with a growing middle class, the export opportunities for U.S. cattlemen and women are tremendous.” Read more here.
Jamaica slump in Agricultural Production
A slump in agricultural production is due to lack of investment, as lenders shy away from funding farmers and innovation is neglected, despite a doubling of population since 1962. The Jamaica-Gleaner has the full story here.
Australia farm incomes fall by 70% in Victoria
Victorian farm incomes have dropped 70% in the past year, according to abc. High water prices inflated costs at a time when milk prices hit a slump.
France sees Organic Sector Growth
Following its ban on glyphosphates, France is a place where organic farming is fast becoming the norm. Sales of organic goods rose 20% this year, helped by a growing supply chain and the support of both public and private sector bodies. Read more here.
New Zealand Giant Doing Well
Fronterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, reported a 65% rise in net profits this year, NZ$834 million for the twelve months til July 31st, up from NZ$506 million for 2014-'15. Even though New Zealand's farmers have had a dire year, Fronterra managed to protect profits by slashing costs, including laying off 750 people. Chairman John Wilson said “The 2015/16 season has been incredibly difficult for farmers, their families and rural communities, with global dairy prices at unsustainable levels.” He added that there were signs dairy prices were recovering after slumping to a 13-year low in 2015 but said the market remained volatile. Read more here.