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Ag shippers want changes to port labor contracting process

At the annual meeting of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition in San Francisco last Thursday, agricultural shippers talked about their experiences that stretched over nine months as labor contract negotiations slowly moved ahead between the West Coast dockworkers’ union and the terminal operators and shipping lines at 29 ports. It took nine months for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association to reach agreement on a new contract.

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China group buys 51% of Stockton Group for $90 million

Monday an agreement was signed in Beijing for the sale of 51 percent of the Israeli Stockton Group to the Chinese-based Hebang Group in return for a $90 million investment in the company.

The Hebang Group is a public Chinese company, traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and is active in a variety of industrial activities, including the agrochemical industry. This is the Hebang Group’s first investment outside of China.

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Soil pH is the big elephant in the field

Across Western Canada there are roughly 20 million acres affected by low soil pH. To put this in perspective, this is more than all the land farmed in Indiana or the United Kingdom, and ten times all the farmland in the Netherlands. In Indiana, the UK and the Netherlands, the first thing a grower looks at on a soil test is pH.

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Bee colonies being wiped out in New Zealand

New Zealand bees are disappearing in huge numbers, and independent scientists have identified a new parasite in bees on the Coromandel peninsula, one of several regions around New Zealand that have reported the loss of thousands of colonies of honey bees since last spring and a substantial drop in honey harvests.

Lotmaria passim, a parasite that attacks the gut of honey bees, was only discovered by a team of American researchers about six months ago, according to Rob Tipa reporting for NZFarmer.co.nz.

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Wheat futures firm Tuesday morning

The grain markets were mixed overnight after yesterday’s Crop Progress report and ahead of today’s 11am Acreage and Stocks reports. Corn crop conditions fell by 3% to 68%, compared to 75% good to excellent last year and was in the range of expectations. The eastern corn belt saw the steepest drop. Ohio corn dropped 19% good to excellent. The average estimate for corn acreage and stocks is 89.173 million acres, compared to the 89.199 March USDA number, and 4.512 billion bushels for June 1 stocks, compared to 3.852 last year.

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