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Senior Advisor

THANKS TO MONSANTO........

..... we are dead in the water in the PNW for wheat as our biggest customer has bypassed us for the third time - setting the tone for other Pacific Rim countries. Talk about a black swan ..... .

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14 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

Palouser.......is this all wheat trade that has stopped....or just the white wheat??

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Senior Contributor

Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

Just to be clear, You have proof that Monsanto did cause this problem.   I realize it makes no difference who did the deed, the end result is money out of farmers pockets.   Should farmers attack without proof?

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Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

If its Monsanto, why not?  They'd do the same to you.

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Senior Advisor

Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

Valid question. The entire reason I bring this up is the lack of precise information. It is being held close to the vest.

 

Statements so far indicate the RR trait has been found in a variety of wheat (OSU lab test) known to have been tested by Monsanto in Oregon in 2005. I don't know the variety and as far as I can tell none is saying what it is. It showed up in a random field. Monsanto is certainly not eager to take responsibility - and suggesting the possibility of 'sabotage', which makes me very uncomfortable with their professionalism. They are also questioning OSU's testing and probably alienating a lot of potential researchers in the process. The best I've read is this  http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/06/genetically_modified_wheat_res.html

 

Japan has passed on 3 tenders for wheat and other Pacific Rim countries apparently have also. They are our largest customer. This is according to the policies they have has in place for more than a decade, and we were warned by Japanese officials who came to the PNW in order that we were clear on the market ramifications years ago.

 

The general statements by buyers is that they will not by wheat from Oregon. This is a more complicated statement than you might think because virtually all our wheat goes through the 'Portland District' consisting of various terminals. Inland shipping terminals are very vague and probably aren't being informed in detail.

 

In my opinion we were entering prime time for marketing this summer as our stocks (SWW) are lower than usual - despite claims of sluggish wheat markets. We grow other varieties, including HRW and HRS. It's concievable these varieties are involved but I suspect it is a SWW variety that was found w/ the RR event.

 

As for blame and accusations. If it's Monsanto's trait it is Monsanto's resonsibility as only test plots were allowed. Some university breeders were more than eager to get research money and introduce RR varieties as it represented investment and job security and advancement. WSU refused to contract w/ Monsanto but varieties introduced in the PNW are commonly adopted throughout the region.

 

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

I recall some SWW being sold into feed markets last year??

 

How is the supply of SWW distributed in the PNW.....mostly at terminals or on farm or ???

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Senior Advisor

Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

I don't have good figures on that but I have ideas from observation and conversations. By the way, I don't know how many USDA surveys I've answered this year on my storage capacity and amount stored. I'm guessing that it is related to questions raised by USDA reports on corn the last couple of years.

 

There is farmer owned storage in the PNW but I'll guess it's not large compared to other areas - like Montana. We have a history of 'up country' local coops in each town that have done a majority of grain storage and there are few private. Our grain flow is mainly unidirectional - down the river by barge or rail to Portland to be loaded on ships. There are only a few unit train facilities. The Snake/Columbia rivers are dotted with barge terminals from the Idaho border on down - as you saw Ray - fed by trucks all year around. Most are coop with strategic private owners (Cargill, LD, Merubini [Columbia Grain] and other Japanese owned companies). Coops of all kinds (even plywood mills) are part of PNW history. Much of the rail flows right behind many of those terminals. The export terminals loading ships are largely private.

 

River terminals usually insist on DP to keep turnover acceptably high with up country (usually higher elvation facilities, including coops, above the canyons for longer term storage).

 

Later in the season (like now) I think most up country coop elevators are fairly empty. This year probably below 10% in most cases. I'll guess farm storage hold a bigger percentage of wheat compared to their relative capacity.

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trac8100
Senior Reader

Re: THANKS TO MONSANTO........

Variety?

Try 258

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Senior Advisor

Which is .......

..... what variety/strain before the RR event was added?  As far as I know Monsanto was just taking a variety already grown here and adding the event. But I have no specific confirmation of that. This is also related to the issue that Monsanto was basically going to get taxpayer genetics free by adding RR event. At least that was one part of the argument by breeders in the area.

 

 

 

 

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Senior Advisor

Evidence of a spring wheat variety affected.

If it is a spring wheat variety then the event is likely contained - maybe. The backbone of production here is winter wheat.

 

I have winter wheat in storage and fairly verifiable but on a system wide basis that won't cut it.

 

Clip from an article. The reference to spring wheat is at the end.

 

QUOTE

 

Bob Zemetra, an Oregon State University wheat breeder and genetics specialist, said the university used different samples than the USDA when testing for the contamination. Both series of tests found positives.

 

"It was more than one plant. There were contaminants is that field,” Zemetra said.

 

The USDA went public with the discovery after four weeks of on-the-ground sleuthing and sophisticated testing to confirm the wheat was a Monsanto strain. Unwanted seedlings sprouted in the spring in a wheat field, in northeastern Oregon, which was being held fallow this year.

 

When the plants survived a weed killer, the farmer sent samples to Oregon State University. In early May, the university alerted the USDA, which dispatched investigators within days.

 

No "rapid test" kits are available that are validated for biotech wheat. The USDA said its grain inspection agency "is working toward making available appropriate and validated testing techniques to address market needs that may develop."

 

Monsanto has shared with overseas regulators the test needed to identify its herbicide-resistant spring wheat.

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