World in brief

GMO

China eyes new corn suppliers

BEIJING, China (Reuters) — China has turned to non-traditional corn exporters following the detection of an unapproved genetically modified strain in imports from the United States, traders said.

As well, lower prices in non-traditional exporting countries, including Bulgaria and Ukraine, have prompted private feed mills in the world’s second-largest consumer to buy corn from them.

Chinese feed mills bought 200,000 tonnes of corn from Bulgaria early this month at about US$334 per tonne, including cost and freight, two industry sources said.

“Overseas corn prices are too attractive, but given limited supplies from Bulgaria, we don’t expect future imports to increase much on top of that volume,” said Li Qiang, chief analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Ltd.

The price is about 24 percent lower than domestic corn offered at the port of Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, the country’s major consuming area. China imported 112,332 tonnes of corn from Ukraine in August, bringing its total imports from the country to 409,619 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, making Ukraine the second-largest exporter to China after the United States.

China has turned away 1.25 million tonnes of U.S. corn and byproducts since late last year after discovering the presence of MIR 162, a genetically modified variety developed by Syngenta.

Weather

Australian drought expected to lag

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) — Drought conditions across Australia’s east coast are unlikely to improve before next year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.

The forecast fuelled expectations that beef supply from the world’s No. 3 exporter may beat estimates as wilting pastures force farmers to slaughter more animals.

Queensland, which is Australia’s largest cattle producing state and home to about half the national herd, has been plagued by drought this year. Much of the state has received less than half typical rainfall levels over the last nine months, data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) shows.

The chance of getting average rainfall between October and December across most of Queensland is seen at less than 40 percent, the BOM said.

“If we’ve ever needed a good hit of rain through spring and into summer, it is probably this one after the past few years,” said Matt Costello, an animal proteins analyst with Rabobank.

Australia’s official commodity forecaster recently raised its 2014-15 beef exports forecast by one percent to 1.13 million tonnes as dry conditions continued to drive slaughter of cattle to near record levels. It also warned the figure may be higher if the dry weather persists.

Wheat Outlook

Wheat forecast raised to record level

LONDON, U.K. (Reuters) — The International Grains Council has raised its monthly forecast for the 2014-15 global wheat crop by four million tonnes to a now-record 717 million tonnes, largely reflecting an improved outlook in the European Union and Ukraine.

The council update increased its forecast for the EU’s wheat crop by 2.3 million tonnes to 153.1 million and Ukraine’s production by 1.5 million tonnes to 23 million.

“Despite smaller (wheat) crops in North America, Australia and Near East Asia, larger outturns are expected across Europe, the CIS (former Soviet Union) and in China.”

It said global wheat stocks at the end of the 2014-15 crop year were expected to climb to a five-year peak of 195 million tonnes, up eight million over 2013-14.

Total grain stocks were projected to rise to their highest level since the end of the 1999-2000 season.

Rapeseed Outlook

Rapeseed acres predicted to fall

PARIS, France (Reuters) — Farmers in Western Europe are likely to plant less rapeseed for next year’s harvest in response to low market prices and incentives to switch to alternative crops, analysts said.

Benchmark rapeseed prices on the Euronext exchange hit their lowest in more than four years in July during what is estimated to have been a record European Union harvest.

The low prices in the run-up to the rapeseed seeding in August and September deterred some farmers, who turned instead to crops like peas and beans being promoted under new EU farm subsidy rules.

The total area seeded to rapeseed in the EU could fall five percent from this year’s harvest to 15.6 million acres, said French consultancy ODA.

It said the rapeseed area in France could fall about seven percent to 3.5 million acres, putting it below the average of the past five years and also shy of weather-hit sowings for the 2013 harvest.

Marketing

Citrus mascot gets makeover

ORLANDO, Fla., (Reuters) — Florida’s orange industry has a muscular new superhero, courtesy of Marvel Comics.

He is Captain Citrus, a crime fighter who promotes orange juice while battling evil through the power of the sun.

“Maybe it’s my solar pods, maybe it’s my connection to these groves, or maybe you just really ticked me off. Either way, you’re going down,” warns Captain Citrus in the first digital edition of his adventures.

The Florida Department of Citrus paid Marvel $1 million for the character and storyline, as well as a marketing campaign that includes distributing a million free print copies of the comic book to elementary school students across the country, according to department spokesperson David Steele.

The comic books come with lesson plans to teach children how to make smart nutritional choices and feature orange juice as part of a healthy diet.

The Marvel version of Captain Citrus is a square-jawed man with green hair and a skin-tight, orange peel colored suit.

It’s a full redesign of the Florida citrus industry’s original 2011 version, which was a round orange character with legs, arms and a green cape.

The updated character will also interact with the popular Avengers team of superheroes.

The debut comic book introduces readers to John Polk, a.k.a Captain Citrus, who is empowered by mysterious solar pods in the grove where he grew up. Captain Citrus joins the Avengers to battle bad guys in Orlando.

Beef

Packer delays public offering

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) — JBS, the world’s largest meat packer, has put off a plan to raise $1.9 billion from the initial public offering of its pork, poultry and food processing operations in Brazil.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the decision said JBS and banks are wary that market volatility stemming from uncertainty about the outcome of Brazil’s October presidential election could cloud sentiment ahead of potential investor meetings.

JBS owns the slaughter plant in Brooks, Alta., one of the largest in Western Canada.

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