Billions needed to boost food production, says DuPont committee

High-tech seeds and innovations in chemicals and farming will not be enough to solve looming food shortages for the world, according to a report issued Tuesday by a committee formed by food and chemicals conglomerate DuPont. Billions of dollars in private investment, government incentives and charitable work must be funneled into collaborative projects if global food production is to match growing demand, the report urged.

Read More

“Frothy” U.S. farmland values sideline some investors

Rising prices for farmland in the U.S. Midwest and fears that values may be creating an artificial bubble are driving some investors to the sidelines, though strong farm balance sheets are sustaining interest in many sectors, investment experts said on Monday. Surging prices for key row crops, such as corn, soybeans and wheat, are helping support rising values that jumped more than 10 percent in the U.S. Midwest last year and have continued to climb. But if crop prices should plummet, land values could fall rapidly.

Read More

Cancer cause or crop aid? Herbicide faces big test

Critics say it's a chemical that could cause infertility or cancer, while others see it speeding the growth of super weeds and causing worrying changes to plants and soil. Backers say it is safe and has made a big contribution to food production. It's glyphosate, the key - but controversial - ingredient in Roundup herbicide and the top selling weed killer used worldwide. For more than 30 years, glyphosate has been embraced for its ability to make farming easier by wiping out weeds in corn, soybean and cotton fields, and for keeping gardens and golf courses pristine.

Read More

Monsanto quarterly net income jumps 15 percent

Monsanto Co reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales of corn seed for spring planting and improved margins, but its shares fell more than 4 percent as the global agribusiness failed to raise its outlook for the full year. Officials at the world's largest seed company said the results were strong and showed Monsanto was on track with a strategic plan focused on steady growth in key crops. "We feel good about where we stand," said Chairman Hugh Grant. "I believe we are getting done what we needed to achieve in 2011."

Read More

Organic farmers sue, seek protection from Monsanto

A consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co. on Tuesday, in a move to protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops. The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed the suit on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the agricultural giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group is seeking a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm.

Read More

Syngenta sees U.S. corn seed share stabilizing

A month after receiving regulatory approval, Syngenta is starting to sign up U.S. farmers to grow its new biotech corn seed aimed at ethanol production, one small part in a larger push for the U.S. corn seed business by the Swiss agriculture company. Syngenta expects to enroll less than 20,000 acres in a contracted growing arrangement for the new corn seed this spring, a top company executive said Wednesday.

Read More

Dow AgroSciences wins OK for Brazil GMO corn seed

Dow AgroSciences has won approval from Brazil regulators for a new corn seed containing five genes that protect plants from insects and weed-killing treatments, an executive told Reuters. The new genetically modified corn seed, Powercore, is part of a cross-licensing agreement with rival Monsanto Co. Dow, a unit of Dow Chemical, said the seed is designed to help farmers fight above-ground pests that have battered crop production.

Read More

Companies join to boost crops in poor regions

Despite an intense rivalry over U.S. farm fields, global seed makers Monsanto and DuPont are joining with beverage companies, retailers and others in collaborative projects to boost food production in some of the world's poorest areas. The corporate consortium behind the "New Vision for Agriculture" project is starting its efforts in Tanzania and Vietnam and expects to begin a pilot in Indonesia later this year, according to Jerry Steiner, executive vice president of sustainability at Monsanto.

Read More

DuPont eager to use Danisco’s science

DuPont's Craig Binetti is eager to start using Danish food additives maker Danisco's expertise to expand development of healthier foods, but shareholders and regulators are still in the way. "We have very complementary portfolios of businesses. This is all about food and nutrition science," Craig Binetti, head of the company's nutrition and biosciences unit, told the Reuters Global Food and Agriculture Summit.

Read More

Roundup relied on “too long by itself”: Monsanto

In a nod to concerns about overuse of its popular Roundup herbicide, Monsanto Co said it would try to layer its popular "Roundup Ready" cropping system with a similar system based on a rival herbicide. "We've relied on it too long by itself," Monsanto executive vice president of sustainability Jerry Steiner said of the company's Roundup herbicide, in an interview on Monday at the Reuters Food & Agriculture Summit.

Read More