Monsanto sees “right time” for GMO wheat

Monsanto Co could start field testing genetically modified wheat within one to two years, but remains cautious about future commercialization, according to one of the company’s top wheat technology executives. Six years after shelving an earlier biotech wheat product in the face of stiff market resistance, Monsanto still sees a need for circumspection, but believes building acceptance and a need for increased food production makes the wheat seed market potentially lucrative over the long term.

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Agriculture groups say food productivity lagging

Farmers around the world must ramp up food production dramatically to feed a rapidly expanding global population, a coalition of agricultural groups said in a report on Wednesday. Meeting the needs of a global population estimated to jump roughly 50 percent to 9.2 billion by 2050, will require public and private investments in “science and technology” to boost agricultural productivity, the groups said.

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Monsanto posts loss but shares rise as sales climb

Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, posted a deeper quarterly loss than Wall Street had expected, and warned next year’s results may also be weak after customer complaints prompted a revamping of products and pricing levels. The company’s shares, which had fallen nearly 10 percent last week after disappointing preliminary harvest results from a new seed corn, rose on Wednesday as executives predicted the new strategy would win back corn and soybean customers.

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Court critical of USDA planting push for GMO beets

A federal court has ruled that U.S. agricultural regulators again appear to have acted illegally in allowing planting of a biotech sugar beet crop tied to Monsanto Co. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White for the Northern District of California said in his ruling Tuesday that a group of consumers and environmentalists were likely to prevail on their complaints that the U.S. Agriculture Department was trying to circumvent the law by allowing limited continued planting of seed stock for a biotech beet crop without conducting a required environmental review.

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Monsanto shares fall as new corn seed disappoints

Shares in Monsanto Co fell sharply on Tuesday amid mounting reports about disappointing harvest results of the company’s new highly touted corn seed. Shares were off more than 9 percent in afternoon trading at $48.01, more than 44 percent off the year high of $87.06 seen in January. The losses added to a drop of 4 percent on Monday and marked Monsanto shares as one of the largest decliners by percentage on Tuesday.

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Pioneer Hi-Bred buying S. Africa seed company

Pioneer Hi-Bred, the agricultural unit of DuPont, said Wednesday it was buying a South African seed company in an effort to expand its reach into corn production through Africa. Pioneer’s purchase of a majority stake in Pannar Seed Ltd, which operates seed businesses in nine countries in Africa, is the latest move in a race by many major agricultural companies to stake a claim in Africa.

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DuPont sees market gains for agriculture unit

DuPont is expanding market share in key agricultural sectors despite intense competition and expects continued growth as it rolls out new products for farmers, a company executive said on Tuesday.

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Wheat groups welcome genetic news, say more needed

U.S. and international wheat breeders said Friday publication of the gene map of wheat could eventually help in developing beneficial new varieties, but cautioned that cracking wheat’s complicated genetic code is far from completed.

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Monsanto buys stake in Australian wheat breeder

Monsanto Co has acquired a 19.9 percent minority interest in InterGrain Pty Ltd, an Australian cereal breeder, in its effort to bring biotech wheat to world markets, the company said on Thursday. The stake is part of a collaboration agreement that includes the exchange of wheat germplasm for breeding aimed at developing wheat varieties with improved yield performance, enhanced disease resistance and drought tolerance, as well as improved end use qualities, the companies said.

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Sugar beet ruling pressures USDA GMO oversight

Proponents of tighter U.S. oversight of biotech crops said on Monday a court-ordered ban on genetically-modified sugar beets is a key ruling that should lead to more thorough regulatory review of such crops. And they threatened further court action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture if the agency does not start examining the environmental and economic harm potentially associated with such crops.

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