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From a news release

BASF has signed an agreement to acquire significant parts of Bayer's seed and non-selective herbicide businesses. Bayer intends to divest these assets in the context of its planned acquisition of Monsanto.

The all-cash purchase price is €5.9 billion ($8.7 billion Canadian), subject to certain adjustments at closing.

The assets to be acquired include Bayer's global glufosinate-ammonium non-selective herbicide business, commercialized under the Liberty, Basta and Finale brands, as well as its seed businesses for key row crops in select markets: canola hybrids in North America under the InVigor brand using the LibertyLink trait technology, oilseed rape mainly in European markets, cotton in the Americas and Europe as well as soybean in the Americas.

The transaction also includes Bayer's trait research and breeding capabilities for these crops and the LibertyLink trait and trademark.

More than 1,800 commercial, R&D, breeding and production personnel shall transfer from Bayer to BASF. These employees are primarily located in the United States, Germany, Brazil, Canada and Belgium.

In addition, BASF will acquire the manufacturing sites for glufosinate-ammonium production and formulation in Germany, the United States, and Canada, seed breeding facilities in the Americas and Europe as well as trait research facilities in the United States and Europe.



Soybean futures soared higher Thursday (Oct.12) after the United States Department of Agriculture surprised the trade with the October Crop Production report.

The USDA estimated the soybean crop at a record 4.43 billion bushels. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.5 bushels per acre, down 0.4 bushels from September’s report and down 2.5 from last year.

The number was also below the average trade estimate. The nearby November 2017 future was up more than 25 cents per bushel shortly after the report was released.

Support also came from the USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Of note, ending stocks were trimmed by 45 million to 430 million bushels.

Corn production is forecast at 14.3 billion bushels, down six per cent from last year but one per cent higher than the September estimate.

The average yield is pegged at 171.8 bushels per acre, up 1.9 bushels from the September forecast but down 2.8 bushels from last year.

If realized, the USDA notes that this will be the second highest yield and production on record for the U.S.



From FCC Express
By Susan Mann

The early fall’s burst of heat in Ontario gave the province’s late-planted crops a helping hand towards maturity.

The hot spell in September, when temperatures soared above 30 C for several days, was a big help in advancing late-planted corn’s maturity, says Dale Cowan, senior agronomist for AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. and Wanstead Farmers co-operative in southern Ontario.

For early-planted corn, the heat helped to accelerate maturity and drying, and for soybeans there was no effect “unless they were planted late,” Cowan says.

Cowan says soybean harvest has already started in the southwest, while corn harvest hasn’t really begun yet.

“The beans are drying but the stems are green so that’s slowing up the progress a little bit,” Cowan says.

Cowan, who has had a 40-year career in agriculture, says the cool, wet spring in Ontario was more of a typical spring, whereas in the last five to eight years “we’ve had early springs and early falls.

“This year we had a later planting season compared to the last three to four years,” he notes.

Elgin County vegetable and cash crop farmer Mark Wales says the warm September saved the corn and soybean crop across the province “because a lot of them were planted late. We needed a full, warm September and we got it.”

Wales says with corn and soybeans drying down “fairly early, he expects corn harvest to start sooner than normal, which could mean better weather during harvest.

He described the growing season as “frustrating."
"There is no normal anymore," Wales says.

Farmers experienced a range of weather conditions. After a prolonged cool, wet summer, particularly in eastern Ontario. “All the heat came in September,” Wales said.

Apple crop smaller

Ontario Apple Growers chair Charles Stevens says the hot temperatures this fall have had no impact on the apple crop.

The crop’s size is down 20 per cent this year compared to last year due to last year’s drought. This year’s apples are larger, juicier and have more colour.



From a news release

Ontario may soon be home to thousands of acres of Hazelnut orchards.

The federal government is investing up to $492,052 to the Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA) to help develop the hazelnut industry.

This investment enables the OHA to develop orchard management practices to enhance early development of hazelnut trees, develop strategies to mitigate drought stress in nursery trees and establish production techniques to multiply hazelnut plants for commercial use.

The project is being conducted in partnership with the University of Guelph and Ferrero Canada.

"This project has been making significant research contributions to the development of the hazelnut industry in Ontario by creating new innovations in micropropagation, variety selection, and orchard management," said Linda Grimo, Chair of the Ontario Hazelnut Association. "This new crop has enormous potential for Ontario and this support has brought us much closer to realizing our goal of establishing 10,000 hectares in the province by 2027 and creating new economic opportunities for rural communities."

Member of Parliament for London North Centre, Peter Fragiskatos announced the funding on Oct. 12, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay.



Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Debra Pretty-Straathof, OFA Director

Harvest is a season of plenty. It’s a time when agricultural productivity is most evident. Farmers are spending long hours harvesting in the fields, and consumers are enjoying a huge selection of locally grown products at farmers markets and on store shelves.

Harvest is also a reminder that the agri-food sector is an important, vital business for Canada. We’re fortunate to have plenty of land to grow crops and raise livestock and plenty of fresh water resources. Harvest reminds us of our responsibility to use these bountiful resources in a productive and sustainable way.

According to the federal government’s Barton Report, released earlier this year, our agri-food industry has the potential for huge growth and, with the right investments, could become the second largest exporter of food in the world.

The Barton Report is a comprehensive set of recommendations from the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth. The report identified agriculture as a sector where Canada has the potential for substantial growth and export improvement based on the industry’s strengths as a trusted food supply backed by research and access to resources.

Canada’s agri-food sector is now the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world, contributing 6.7% of our nation’s GDP and accounting for 2.1 million jobs. Canada’s agri-food exports have averaged annual growth of 9.5% over the past five years. The report defines the sector as one of Canada’s largest employers and economic engines, and poses that the sector represents a distinctive opportunity for Canada to boost inclusive economic growth.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) brings this message to our provincial government – that Ontario’s agri-food sector can and will be a driver of inclusive growth across the province. Our vision of economic growth includes distributed development opportunities that will spread wealth across the province. It will be based on the agri-food sector’s vast potential but also include other economic development across our communities.

What Ontario needs is an action plan to build on our agri-food strength and to support opportunities in our communities through strategic investment.

OFA continues to remind the Ontario government of all the reasons that investing in agriculture and our communities is an investment that will benefit all Ontarians. The Barton Report and the bounty of our harvest reminds us of Ontario’s endowments and strengths as sources of inclusive growth and opportunities for producing prosperity.



Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary
By Marie Versteeg, CFFO Manager of Board and Committees

The Ontario government is working to build our agri-food sector across the province. Their most recent initiative is focused on the vibrant agri-food system, from farms to food processors to retail, in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region.

This summer, the Ontario government revised its four Land Use Plans for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH). The plans will manage growth, promote economic development, support agriculture, and protect our natural heritage. Each of these four plans include a stipulation to create agricultural system mapping, with the intent of protecting farmland and keeping our whole agri-food system economically vital.

To support agricultural production and infrastructure in the region, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has created three tools; an Agricultural Land Base Map, draft Implementation Procedures for municipalities, and an online Agricultural System Portal. This last tool is an innovative way of looking at what supports are in place and where gaps exist in our agri-food network. If you live in the GGH, you can go online to find out how much corn is growing in your area, where the nearest farmers’ markets are—even where you might find the closest alpaca farm.

The Portal is just one of the tools that OMAFRA has designed to help municipalities to (a) see where agricultural supports are needed, (b) draw investors to their region, and (c) make wise decisions about development.

During the consultation process for these tools, CFFO recommended that the Agricultural System map include additional layers of information that reflect land use planning from other ministries or jurisdictions. CFFO would also like to see the map layers expanded beyond the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Most importantly, CFFO would like to see the proposed new Natural Heritage System Map included in this portal. This Natural Heritage System, drafted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), marks out large natural heritage areas and corridors, such as rivers, that link those larger areas and accommodate animal and plant migration and hydrological flow.

In the Agricultural System Portal, OMAFRA has created a potentially very useful tool for municipalities. We hope to see more collaboration between ministries to develop land use policies that enable sustainable farm production to continue.

There’s little doubt that these tools are a positive first step toward preserving one of Ontario’s most precious natural resources—our farmland.