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europeanseedVOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 EUROPEAN-SEED.COM ACCESS TO SEEDS INDEXSEEDS INDEXSEEDS INDEX IS IT THE ANSWER FOR SMALLHOLDER FARMERS THE LATEST WORK FROM THE INTERNATIONAL WHEAT GENOME SEQUENCING CONSORTIUM MAPPING WHEATS GENOME BRAVE NEW WORLDNEW MARKETS NEW RESEARCH AND NEW REGULATIONS FOR THE SEED INDUSTRY europeanseedVOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 FOCUSED ON THE FUTURETHE FUTURETHE FUTURE THE CROP TRUST PLANS FOR TOMORROW At Bayer CropScience we take product stewardship very seriously e.g. by supplying only high-quality seed- applied solutions in combination with best management practices. We believe that focusing on risk mitigation innovation and partnerships is crucial for sustainable agriculture to maximize yield and avoid negative impact on human health and the environment. Bayer SeedGrowth our fully integrated system with four- fold competence offers efficient and sustainability-ori- ented services e.g. best handling practices coatings e.g. to limit dust-off products that come with safe usage recommendations and equipment that facilitates correct treatment. The stewardship approach with this fourfold competence offers powerful support to you in whatever part you play in the seed treatment business. That way you never work alone. YOU NEVER WORK ALONE EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURES Natural From the Ground Up...............................................................................06 Company Seeds For Smallholder Farmers Needs...........................................10 The Yield Race......................................................................................................14 Wheat Genome Sequencing Catching Up.........................................................18 Ensuring Biodiversity............................................................................................22 China and its Relationship with Seed.................................................................24 Bringing Biotechnology to China........................................................................26 Why Crop Diversity Matters ...............................................................................28 DEPARTMENTS Spotlight Vereinigung der Panzenzchter und Saatgutkaueute sterreichs......................................................................30 Global Seed Watch..............................................................................................34 Regulatory ............................................................................................................38 Industry News ......................................................................................................42 Extras....................................................................................................................46 Calendar of Events ..............................................................................................47 Giant Views...........................................................................................................48 30 28 14 18 europeanseed VOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 ON THE COVER Bayer CropScience researchers Cline Zimmerli and Guillaume Pl checking properties of young plantlets in the greenhouse at the Milly-la-Fort France wheat breeding station. 2 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM europeanseed EUROPEAN-SEED.COM VOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 Suite 34 67-68 Hatton Garden London EC1N 8JY United Kingdom PUBLISHER Shawn Brook EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Marcel Bruins MANAGING EDITOR Lindsay Hoffman STAFF WRITERS Julie Deering Mark Halsall Shannon Schindle Marc Zienkiewicz ADVERTISING SALES Craig Armstrong Fabien Castel Sam Mostafa Hiten Shah DIGITAL MEDIA SALES Jill Hollosi MARKETING Lynne Roy CREATIVE Theresa Kurjewicz Lesley Nakonechny DIGITAL MEDIA CREATIVE Nick Buhr Kyle Dratowany Caleb MacDonald CIRCULATION Dean French CONTRIBUTORS Isabelle Caugant ADVISORY BOARD Eric Devron Union Franaise des Semenciers Anton van Doornmalen Rijk Zwaan Stephanie Franck Plfanzenzucht Oberlimpurg Chris Green Green Resources Ltd. Martin Gruss Bayer CropScience Nigel Moore KWS UK Ltd. Jonathan Ramsay Monsanto Ruthner Szabolcs International Seed Federation Ana Silva European Seed Association Antonio Villaroel Asociacin Nacional de Obtentores Vegetales www.facebook.comEuropeanSeed twitter.comEuropeanSeed SUBSCRIPTIONS European Seed is published three times a year. European subscription rates are one year 20. International one year 75. To subscribe please email Please recycle where facilities exist. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Printed in Poland. Oilseed Rape Cereals Forage Crops Cover Crops Maize Organic Seeds Turf Grasses Your one stop seed service Research breeding production and advice Deutsche Saatveredelung AG DSV is an internationally-operating enterprise based in Lippstadt Germany. We have 90 years of experience in plant breeding and offer a wide range of different cultures and varieties for all requirements. In addition we have been developing complex cultivation methods for economical crop rotation for many decades. Thats why we also provide intelligent systems for bioenergy forage production and cover crop cultivation in order to make farmers able to meet greening requirements and improve efciency. Working on the one-stop shop principle we are a full-service supplier in the seed sector. V_Anz_Image_Int_2286b2731_150415_HiRes.indd 1 16.04 4 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EDITORS MESSAGE BRAVE NEW WORLD FACED WITH MANY CHALLENGES THE SEED INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO FIND SOLUTIONS. Marcel Bruins F irst the seed now food and feed. I am referring of course to the absurd renationalisation proposals concocted by the EU Commission in recent times. In December 2014 a compromise was reached on the revision of Directive 200118EC which authorises national or regional opt- outs on the cultivation of GMO crops which are authorised in the EU. This is likely to result once again in generalised bans on GMOs in Europe which is in stark contrast to what is happening in the rest of the world. And more recently the European Commission came up with a proposal that attempts to renationalize EU market authorisations of GM crops for feed and food use. The EU opt-out provisions mean that member states opposed to GMOs will now be able to cite grounds outside health and safety such as social or environmental impact for banning them. As a scientist with an almost unwavering faith in peer-reviewed science and which science has proven again and again the safety of GM products I continue to struggle with the rejection of biotech traits on non-scientific grounds. Biotech varieties are widely cultivated in several major international markets and these markets are already very competitive for European producers. These same biotech varieties are safe according to Codex assessments and growing such varieties has numerous benefits for farmers and society as a whole. With so many cross-border interests introducing geographical barriers such as proposed by this revision is a sure recipe for trade and market issues for all stakeholders involved. The first victims will be the farmers as they are most affected by the disruption of competition including in the EU itself. If we want farmers to do their job properly and efficiently then having a set of clear guidelines on coexistence is crucial. They will need to be able to make clear and well-informed choices whether they want to grow a GM crop or not. To review the current situation Europe basically bans GMO cultivation but at the same time is authorising the import of large quantities of GM products. If we want conventional biotech and organic to co-exist then I propose this cannot be done without setting thresholds. We will be closely following this topic and will continue to report on new developments and will bring you insights from key players in the industry. The theme for this issue is Brave New World. We selected this theme to reflect some of changes and challenges being faced in the industry as well as to represent emerging markets and new developments in the industry. In this issue youll find articles on The Access to Seeds Index an initiative that has met with fierce criticism by the seed industry since the inception of the Index Two interesting articles one on The Crop Trust and one on the I n t e r n a t i o n a l W h e a t G e n o m e Sequencing Consortium covering the exciting work they are doing. Both initiatives invite the seed industry to look beyond the next fiscal year and consider making a difference in the long term With wheat being our focus crop in this issue we also have asked several leading wheat-breeding companies about their and what needs to change to ensure food security by 2050 A rising star in the trenches of the constant fight against pathogens is biological seed treatments see what opportunities lay ahead for the seed sector We take an unprecedented look into the workings of the China National Seed Trade Association and the Chinese seed industry and We look ahead to the next ESA Annual meeting in Vienna with Austria as our Spotlight association for this issue. As cherry on the pie we have asked famous blogger The Risk Monger to share his thoughts in our Giant Views column. We hope you enjoy this issue and be sure to visit to get the latest stories and news. Marcel Bruins editorial director European Seed Seed Industry News Delivered Directly to Your InboxFeaturing industry news videos and articles that dive into important seed-industry issues. storyof theweekeuropeanseedby Subscribe at european-seed.comsubscribe Industry News Videos Important Issues 6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM THE SELECTION OF BIO-BASED CROP PROTECTION PRODUCTS CONTINUES TO GROW PROVIDING MORE OPTIONS TO FARMERS. Natural From the Ground Up BY MARCEL BRUINS The aim of basically any seed treatment is to increase seed performance. This can be done by destroying seed-borne pathogens protecting the seed from soil-borne pathogens optimising the handling of the seeds and accuracy of planting and improving the rate of germination. Due to the specific nature of seed which can be relatively small or irregularly shaped or because of the intended production regime certain crops are better candidates for the application of seed treatments. An example is lettuce pelleted seed is useful in head lettuce production because of the need for precision seeding but is less advantageous for the dense sowings of loose-leaf lettuce in bed production. WHICH IS WHAT In conventional production seed is often treated with chemical seed enhancements. However nowadays many alternatives to the chemical approach can be found in either organic andor biological seed treatments. Before entering into the details it should be said that two terms are the source of regular confusion within the seed treatment sector. In certain cases the terms organic and biological seed treatment are used interchangeably and no clear definition is yet available. In this article European Seed is specifically looking at biological seed treatments. In general everything can be classified into two categories within the biological sphere biopesticides and biostimulants. Biopesticides are considered to be a crop protectant while biostimulants are considered to be a yield enhancer or growth promotant. Both biopesticides and biostimulants are comprised of naturally-derived organisms and compounds or substances and can be seed-applied. The difference is that some formulations or applications are comprised of living organisms and these are known as microbials. The products that are not formulated with living organisms but are naturally-derived are known as biochemicals. Biological seed treatment is the technology whereby seeds are treated or covered with a combination of selected biochemicals andor microbials. Colin Bletsky vice-president of BioAg at Novozymes states that such products are typically applied to the surface of the seed and are derived from or contain natural materials. Ag biological products on the market today include inoculants and nutrients as well as biopesticides such as insecticides fungicides nematicides and herbicides that can complement or replace agricultural chemical products says 6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 7 Bletsky. Examples of ag biological products include Bt sprays microbials and naturally-derived chemicals. Ag biologicals can help increase yields in a variety of sustainable ways by improving nutrient uptake promoting growth and protecting plants from insects weeds and diseases. Organic seed treatment on the other hand is often understood to be a subgroup of seed treatments which can be applied in organic agriculture. An organic seed treatment does not necessarily have to be biological because some chemicals are allowed in organic agriculture. Most chemical seed protectants are not an option for organic growers however there are some seed treatments such as priming pelletising and the use of hot water or protectants that are compliant with the National Organic Program NOP which can be used by organic farmers to improve seed performance. There is a slight difference in terms of regulations in the sense that organic seed treatment implicates that any inputs such as micro organisms fertilizers etc. must be authorised for organic farming. Biological seed treatments can be used by organic farmers if the treatment is certified organic. MICROBES Microbes are tiny single-cell organisms of which millions can fit into the eye of a needle. These organisms occur naturally in the environment and are found almost everywhere. Countless microorganisms live in the soil and in close relation to the plant i.e. microbiome and interact with plants and soil during the growing season in several ways. Many of these microorganisms have distinctive properties that can help control fungi bacteria nematodes insects and weeds. These microorganisms can also stimulate plant growth and yield by improving access to nutrients. Microbial products are made from microbes that can work alone or complement traditional methods of plant production and protection. Bletsky adds that the BioAg Alliance which is Novozymes strategic alliance with Monsanto focuses on microbial inoculants and biopesticides. Microbial products notably those products that contain bacteria and fungi can promote soil health by protecting crops from pests and diseases and enhancing plant productivity and fertility. Microbial products common modes of delivery include seed treatments direct soil applications foliar sprays and drench applications. Microbes have been used in agriculture for a long time. During the past century farmers have used soil bacteria such as rhizobia and Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt strains. Organic farming in particular has benefited as rhizobia replaces or complements traditional fertilizers and Bt is one of the pesticides permitted in organic production by the NOP. These microbes can easily be cultured by fermentation. Philippe Cognet of Italpollina indicates that his company is working on commercial formulations combining mycorrhizae species Glomus mosseae and Glomus intraradices fungus species Trichoderma atroviride and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria PGPR. Trichoderma is known to stimulate growth help the plant to protect itself from various aggressors and it also provides substances to enhance root development. Mycorrhiza strains create symbiotic associations with roots helping the roots to uptake water and nutritional elements e.g. phosphorus from the soil. Such symbiotic processes significantly increase the root dispersal zone and are an essential element in the life of plants says Cognet. Peter Maes corporate marketing director at Koppert Biological Systems states that specifically for large arable crops cultivated in rows such as soybeans rice maize and grains Koppert has developed the seed-treatment Panoramix product line. He says this product line contains a number of unique and high-quality microorganisms that benefit the crop. Panoramix protects the seeds promotes early growth and strengthens the seedling the root system and the full-grown crop. The product promotes the crops growth and makes the plant less vulnerable to pathogens found in the soil and on the seed including harmful nematodes. A treatment with Panoramix gives rise to a stronger and healthier crop which is more resistant to drought and disease and most importantly much more productive says Maes. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 7 Ag biologicals can help increase yields in a variety of sustainable ways by improving nutrient uptake promoting growth and protecting plants from insects weeds and diseases. 8 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM These biological seed treatments usually replace or supplement conventional chemical crop protection products and fertilisers and just like in chemical seed treatments the seed is soaked covered coated or inoculated with substances which have an impact on the plant or its micro-environment in later stages. Some of the products work as pest and disease control or suppression while other products increase the yield potential or reduce the need for fertiliser and water input resulting in plant growth promotion. Among the active ingredients in biological seed treatments are microbes like fungi bacteria viruses or plant and algae extracts. In general this technology facilitates very specific inter-species relationships. In terms of geography there are different levels of market penetration in the various regions with Europe being the second-largest market for biological seed treatment Maes adds. Also regions have different main product classes depending on the crops that are grown in the region. One example is in those areas where a lot of soybeans are grown. Farmers use a lot of products with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. Both types of seed treatment are part of a much larger biopesticides market. The global biopesticides market in 2013 was just slightly more than US1.9 billion and is expected to exceed US3 billion by 2016. BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES For growers there are several benefits to the use of biological seed treatment. The application of biological seed treatment can reduce the need for nitrogen phosphorus and water which are all facing shortages in many regions of the world making this type of treatment highly attractive for farmers. At the same time there is a reduction in the health risks for farmers and applicators. There is also the added benefit of no need for resistance management of the pathogen. For a seed company this type of seed treatment offers the benefit that it provides access to the organic agriculture market. Several changes would be needed to increase the use of biological seed treatment. For one it would be good to implement a special registration process for biological products in a low risk class. In addition the establishment of quality standards would create trust in the efficacy of biologicals among growers. In general there is a need for more understanding of the crop-specific inter-species interactions among farmers. Lastly the development of a more sophisticated seed treatment infrastructure and the improvement of planting windows of biological products would enhance the distribution of these technologies. OPPORTUNITIES There are different estimates circulating about how big the market for biological seed treatment actually is ranging from US260 million to US304 million in 2015. Although it is relatively early to say what the market will look like in the years to come companies agree that there are interesting business opportunities in the field of biological seed treatments because the technology is highly economical ecological and offers opportunities in terms of public health. The fact that biological actives need high precision of delivery to the plant for optimal efficacy also offers opportunities of growth for certain companies. At the same time it has been discovered that biological products have shown high efficacy under unfavourable growing conditions which are often the prevailing conditions in developing countries. While ag biologicals have been used in agriculture for many years the product offerings have been limited to only a few organisms. Only recently have the RD tools and cost of those tools made it possible to more effectively screen and evaluate the vast diversity of microbes present in soil to obtain a much better understanding of the interaction between plants and microbes and of the potential to improve and protect yields in plants. With the advances in RD reduced costs as well as the advancement in producing microbials on an industrial scale the BioAg Alliance believes it is now possible to bring substantial new microbial- based innovation to the ag industry underlines Blestky. There are several drivers for companies to invest in biological seed treatment. According to Maes at the moment the biological seed treatment market is the fastest growing market in agricultural inputs. This type of biological seed treatment is even more interesting because of the increasing legislative constraints against chemical products especially in Europe and the orientation toward environmental protection in many key agricultural economies. The technology also offers another tool toward increased yield potential to pave the way to meet the rising demands for agricultural produce in the decades to come. At the same time there are minimal health hazards for growers and applicators as there may be in chemical products. Also among consumers there is a new orientation towards a more natural mode of production and organic farming. That there are certainly business opportunities in this sector is underlined by the fact that the BioAg Alliance is testing microbial strains on an unprecedented scale. In 2014 the Alliance tested hundreds of microbial strains in 170000 field plots across 70 U.S. locations. In 2015 the Alliance plans to more than double that number of field plots in the U.S. When considering the food security challenges the need for more efficient agronomic practices more sustainable agriculture resource management reduction of the environmental impact then it is clear that these factors will drive the growers to keep looking for innovative biological seed treatments that improve performance and value says Cognet. Scientist working at Novozymes research facility. PhotocourtesyofNovozymes. HYBRID WHEAT A EUROPEAN SUCCESS STORY Because it meets their yield consistency expectations hybrid wheat has gained wide recognition among wheat growers across Europe. For the past 15 years thanks to its unique expertise in breeding and seed production and to its proprietary Croisor hybridizing technology Saaten-Union has created innovative hybrid wheat varieties suited to a more sustainable farming. In 2014 a quarter million hectares of European wheat are grown from Saaten-Unions hybrid seeds. For further information 10 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM10 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM10 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM he Access to Seeds Index to be published at the end of 2015 seeks to identify how seed companies are supporting smallholder farmer productivity while encouraging them to enhance their roles and responsibilities towards smallholder farmers. Although representatives of the seed industry acknowledge the importance of seeds and genetic improvement for smallholder farmer productivity they also express some concerns about the initiative. The Access to Seeds Index was developed as an initiative to assess the extent to which the worlds leading seed companies use their knowledge technologies varieties and seed Success in agriculture for small farms requires more than enhanced access to seed varieties. to benefit smallholder farmers says Ido Verhagen executive director of the Access to Seeds Index. Smallholder farmers represent a yet untapped opportunity to meet global food security challenges. By improving access to quality seeds of appropriate varieties coupled with the right agronomic practices the seed industry can play a major role in unlocking this potential. Engagement of the private sector is high on the global sustainable development agenda Verhagen says. In its evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals the United Nations highlighted the importance of improved crop varieties that have enabled farmers in the advanced agricultural systems to triple their yields. Based on that it sees the seed industry as a crucial partner in addressing global food security challenges. I would say that is a big compliment. To bring this a step further it is essential to better understand the role seed companies can play. The Access to Seeds Index aims to clarify how seed companies are taking up their role and responsibility. Michael Keller secretary general of the International Seed Federation ISF says that the ISF recognizes the important role played by seeds and genetic improvements in the fight against hunger and poverty. Seed companies the world over work hard to provide farmers with high-quality COMPANY SEEDS FOR SMALLHOLDER FARMERS NEEDS By Marcel Bruins Presentation of the Access to Seeds Index to the Ministers Conference of the FAO on 18 June 2013. L to R Gerda Verburg John Atkin Roald Lapperre Clayton Campanhola Clement Kofi Humado Ido Verhagen. FAOGiulio Napolitano. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 11 seed. Seed is however only part of the solution to increasing agricultural output and increasing output is only part of the solution to food security worldwide says Keller. ISF members and companies are working directly with farmers on a global level to find sustainable solutions to the problem of world hunger. Stability Needed However Keller says the Access to Seeds Index doesnt address some important factors that are prerequisites for allowing plant breeding innovations to reach smallholders farmers a stable political legal and intellectual property framework. Carl-Stephan Schfer secretar y general of the German Plant Breeders Association BDP says that feeding the world is a major issue for plant breeders already but emphasises that it cannot be made the responsibility of breeders alone. Solving the food security problem is more complex than making new varieties. Its about reducing food waste plant protection plant nutrition and so on. Plant breeders consider seed a very important contribution to sustainable intensification. However this is only possible in an appropriate agricultural setting. New varieties need the respective agricultural practices to realise their genetic potential in the form of higher and more reliable yields better quality and reduced inputs. And this requires the size and scale of investment and commitment that is only possible if political and legal frameworks favour such investments says Schfer. Ve r h a ge n a g r e e s . E v e r y b o d y understands that for the market to flourish an enabling environment is essential. Therefore the World Bank and Cornell University are evaluating the work that is being done by governments in this respect. The focus of the Access to Seeds Index on the role of the private sector is complementary to that. Together they can inform the discussion on how the public and the private sector reinforce each others impact. Inspiration The Access to Seeds Index draws its inspiration from the Access to Medicine Index which ranks the worlds largest pharmaceutical companies according to their efforts to make their products more available affordable and accessible in developing countries. Niels Louwaars director of Netherlands seed association Plantum notes there are differences between the seed industry and the pharmaceutical industry where product development can be done anywhere. What might work in one industry is not guaranteed to work in another. It is clear from the evidence that a one size fits all approach doesnt work for a number of reasons. Medicines can be transported from one country to another and will work. But if you take a European seed variety and plant it in Africa it might not flourish in the same way he says. Comparison w ith the Access to Medicine Index is tempting but ultimately not very useful due to the huge variety in the size of seed companies. In our industry only a few companies have a global impact. Most are locally or regionally active and often do not have any relationship with the target areas of the index but they still influence the global food production system since the genetic improvement they produce is available for local breeders and farmers in the countries where smallholder farmers dominate. It is therefore essential that the Access to Seed Index has developed a separate methodology for this index. According to Verhagen the Access to Medicine Index shows that an index can be a powerful tool in better understanding how an Carl-Stephan Schafer In many developing countries farmers do not yet benefit from the advantages of using quality seed due to a combination of factors including inefficient seed production distribution and quality assurance systems as well as the lack of good seed policies and other regulatory instruments. Michael Keller Niels Louwaars 12 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM12 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM12 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM Judging tomato quality in the greenhouse. Photo courtesy of Enza Zaden industry can contribute. An index does so by first identifying what stakeholders expect from an industry and then evaluating whether companies meet these expectations. As such an informed dialogue can start on where companies can step up their efforts where expectations should be adjusted or others actors like governments should play their part first. Following the medicine example an Access to Nutrition Index was released in 2013. The Access to Seeds Index follows coming out the end of 2015. Each Index is fully tailored to the characteristics of the respective industry says Verhagen. Three years of stakeholder consultations including talks with the seed industry itself was put into the development of the methodology. Based on that input for instance the Access to Seeds Index focuses both on global companies as well as on regional companies. The methodology acknowledges that smallholder farmer development is complex challenging and requires more than just the availability of good seeds. In some areas seed companies can have big impact in others their potential contribution is probably limited. Still we see that companies are moving beyond their regular scope as is needed to reach the smallholder customer and open new markets. Concerns While Plantum supports and shares the wider goals of the Access to Seeds Index and its call for social responsibility of companies Louwaars wonders how organisers will evaluate their impact on smallholder farmers food security and wellbeing. Good seed can only produce wealth in combination with access to land markets and other policy areas combined with a good knowledge base that supports agricultural practices says Louwaars. We look forward to the first index and call on the organisers to interpret their findings with utmost care. Keller suspects that ISF members who expressed concerns over the relevance of the index at the outset will remain critical of the initiative particularly as the Access to Seeds Index has decided to publish the index on the basis of publicly available information. In his view ISF members will have to decide for themselves whether they want to participate in the exercise. The research for the first Access to Seeds Index started in March 2015. The evaluation is based on publicly available information as well as additional data provided by companies themselves. The response rate is high. Based on first evaluation of the incoming data we are confident that the index will show what and where the sector is already doing well and how individual companies are leveraging their strengths says Verhagen. With the findings of this index we will be able to identify inspiring examples of innovative ways by which companies are supporting smallholder farmer productivity. Peanuts in Malawi. Photo M. Bruins Hot Pepper trials in Thailand. Photo M. Bruins Presentation of the Access to Seeds Index to the Ministers Conference of the FAO on 18 June 2013. FAOGiulio Napolitano. Rio Royal has a determinate habit with excellent foliage cover. The Fruits ares round shaped very firm uniform and concentrated with uniform shoul- der color. Fruits matures in 80 to 85 days from trans- plant has high concentrated yields and is resistant to Verticillium wilt race 1 Fusarium wilt race 1 and 2 tomato yellow leaf curl virus Alternaria stem canker root knot nematodes and Stemphylium. 14 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM heat is a crop that does not travel well. It needs significant local adaptation to succeed. As a consequence a major goal for wheat breeding in Europe is to develop varieties for all of the many sub-regions that exist. Whether it is spring or winter wheat the breadth of coverage possible with single varieties is limited although within a sub-region a variety can command high market shares if its performance is sufficiently superior to others. The next key criteria for breeding is the quality group that is being targeted since wheat has a very diverse usage ranging from animal feed to bakery products and also non- food products. The range of wheat-based products also varies by sub-region within Europe based on the market preferences for baked goods the industrial focus and on the ability to produce wheat crops with particular quality parameters protein content gluten content hectolitre weight etc. due to local environmental conditions. In addition legislation on input uses has an influence on the ability of farmers Editors Note In each issue of European Seed we take a closer look at one of the many crops that our European plant breeders are working on. In this issue were taking a closer look at wheat one of the top three food crops on the planet. to produce to particular quality standards impacting the kinds of wheat varieties required. An example of this is the restriction on nitrogen usage in Denmark today. Once the target region for breeding is identified along with the quality market yield is the primary breeding goal. Breeders aim to produce varieties with the highest yield potential. Once this is achieved breeders then target resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses to protect the yield potential that they have incorporated says Chris Tapsell head of wheat breeding for KWS U.K. In areas under an oceanic climate northwestern Europe stiff straw and sprouting resistance are important goals whereas in Mediterranean areas or areas under continental climate drought resistance is more important. Jayne Stragliati manager of wheat in Western Europe for Limagrain Europe agrees. I think it is good to put emphasis on stable yield. For me this is one of the main challenges for a breeder today. Why Because the biotic and abiotic stresses are never the same due BY MARCEL BRUINS THE YIELD RACEWHEAT BREEDING COMPANIES SHARE THEIR GOALS AS THEY FACE THE NEED TO FEED THE WORLDS GROWING POPULATION. Celine Zimmerli from Bayer CropSciences wheat breeding centre in Milly-la-Fort France controlling fertilisation to create new combinations of traits. Photo supplied by Bayer CropScience. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 15 Exa mples of th is wou ld be the introduction by KWS of wheat variety Robigus in the U.K. which gave a step increase in yield and which has been the parent of a significant proportion of varieties produced in both the U.K. and other EU countries since its development Harold Verstegen head of breeding for KWS Cereals notes. Or in Germany where KWS introduced the variety Julius with high yield and particularly strong winter hardiness which proved its value in the winter of 201112 where severe winter weather significantly impacted the wheat crop. It also is more difficult to breed varieties of wheat for the higher quality markets with as high a yield as for those used in animal feed. This can be seen by yield increases achieved in Germany for different quality classes over a 40-year period from 1965 to 2005 Verstegen says. BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC STRESSES The major diseases of wheat that breeders aim to improve are fusarium septoria yellow rust and brown rust. There are also significant regional differences existing for these diseases and the priority is not the same in all countries. Fusarium is not an easy disease to breed resistance for as there are no known complete resistance genes available so a number of resistance genes need to be stacked to provide sufficient resistance levels. Septoria is now becoming a major focus for breeders since the chemistry available to farmers is becoming less effective and the resistance sources available need to be stacked to give sufficient resistance. For the rusts good chemistry exists to control these diseases as long as there is moderate resistance in the variety. Breeders have utilised many major genes and are continually working on incorporating more durable forms of resistance. Recently very aggressive populations of yellow rust have appeared in Europe which are increasing the need to focus on this disease. to climatic changes and new races appearing. A good example is the yellow rust Warrior which is present throughout Europe from Portugal to Eastern Europe. This has never been experienced by wheat breeders before. The importance is to have durable resistance and not main genes. Laurent Guerreiro Director of RAGT France is not so sure yet The final goal would be to have durable resistance but all the genetic mechanisms of this so called durable resistance are not well known. At the time being dealing with major genes and combining all these genes is still an important strategy. YIELD There has been significant success in increasing yield over time. In the U.K. for more than 60 years there has been an increase of between 0.5 per cent and one per cent per annum in yield. Until the mid 1980s this was created by a combination of genetic improvement and agronomic improvements including increasing use of nitrogen and agrochemicals. More recently in the U.K. the average on-farm yield for wheat appears to have plateaued and while there continues to be genetic improvements in yield in official trial testing of new varieties this is not being translated to increases on-farm. Philippe Lonnet head of cereal and protein crops breeding for Florimond Desprez in France concurs. There is still an increase in yield when you look at trial results. However there is also a reduced improvement or even a plateau when you look at farm yields. This has also been reported in France. Among the different reasons are a higher occurrence of drought periods during grain filling in the last decade induced by global warming. In Germany there have also been increases in yield of approximately one per cent per annum similar to those achieved in the U.K. In comparison to corn where yield increases above one per cent have been achieved both in Europe and in the United States the lack of investment in wheat breeding both in private and public programs has resulted in a much lower yield increase in the U.S. where increases are only 0.25 per cent per year. Guerreiro adds The fact that every European country is facing the same plateau leads us to take into account more significantly the GE interaction genotype environment interaction. Its quite complex because as breeding company we need to deal with new areas of expertise such as modelling pedoclimatic analysis or physiology studies. There are regional differences in terms of yield increase. It is always more difficult to get higher yield in areas already doing 11 tonnes per hectare than in areas at five to six tonnes per hectare Stragliati adds. The French varieties can compete very well in Eastern European countries like Serbia Romania Bulgaria and Hungary. We find several French varieties on the market such as Apache which is No. 1 in Serbia. So there is the possibility to travel some wheat varieties. To the farmer yield increase is often seen with the introduction of new landmark varieties bringing either a stepped increase in yield or increased yield accompanied by an improvement in other characteristics. Source FAOSTAT WHEAT YIELD UK Courtesy Ian Mackay NIAB German Wheat Quality Class Yield Increase Annum 19652005 E 25.5 kghaa A 26.0 kghaa B 32.0 kghaa C 37.3 kghaa 16 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM Mildew whilst still a potential problem has less impact in Europe due to significant success in increasing resistance levels. Interestingly when varieties from other regions of the world are grown in Europe they are often very susceptible to mildew. Orange blossom midge and lemon yellow blossom midge are also problems for farmers causing significant yield loss and quality reduction. Breeders have successfully introduced complete resistance to the orange form but at this time no resistance to lemon yellow midge is available. When looking at breeding targets for abiotic stresses winter hardiness is a key target for breeders in large areas of Europe but there are areas like the U.K. where this is not required. Heat tolerance during grain filling is also a target for breeders to avoid yield reduction and poor grain quality. QUALITY Breeders cant focus solely on increasing yield and building resistance the target end use of wheat also plays a critical part in the equation. More than 50 per cent of French wheat is exported so the quality baking bread protein and physical hectolitre weight grain size clean seed are also major breeding targets Stragliati says. There is a lot of pressure to reduce inputs fungicides nitrogen etc. so varieties that have good disease resistance and also good protein content with high yield are important. This can also be a problem for the French breeder as we are breeding high-yielding winter wheat and we find ourselves competing with low-yielding spring wheat but high protein coming from other countries like Kazakhstan. It is the importing market that makes its choice. BREEDING INVESTMENT Lonnet says that until the 1960s or 1970s the pedigree method was almost the only breeding method used and it is still used today with some improvements being made such as winter generations when feasible. Two other methods are used more and more single seed descent SSD and double haploids DH which can both speed up the breeding cycle by about two years Lonnet says. Breeding is a heavily RD-focussed industry involving the use of expensive high- tech equipment both for laboratory DNA analysis and field work. It also requires highly skilled and trained staff and it is often the case that more than 50 per cent of staff in a breeding company will be university graduates. Since wheat is grown in all temperate regions around the world it is usually not a problem for the breeder to get access to very diverse protected varieties to use as parental lines. Many centres of the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources IBPGR through a standard Material Transfer Agreement sMTA also provide public materials such as older varieties or landraces. It should in particular be mentioned that the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center CIMMYT in Mexico used to provide a large range of materials including synthetic wheats which are hexaploid wheats such as bread wheat that are produced by crossing diploid Triticum tauschii accessions by tetraploid durum wheats and doubling the obtained F1. Many French wheats have in their pedigree CIMMYT materials that were used because they carried some resistance to abiotic or biotic stress adds Lonnet. It is often quoted that to breed a new wheat variety it costs on average 2 million. Furthermore it takes between six and 10 years to breed a new variety followed by three to five years before the variety has passed through national registration trials and is available in sufficient quantities to have an impact on the market Verstegen of KWS explains. Stragliati concurs However thanks to systems like DH and SSD we can gain two YIELD INCREASES NEEDED BY 2050 years. Markers also help to identify earlier potential lines so breeders can cross earlier in their material to gain time. I must say that the field still plays a big part in testing the variety but there are ways to go quicker to the field. RENEWED INTEREST IN WHEAT BREEDING The potential opportunities for GM traits to solve recalcitrant problems in wheat fusarium for example and increase yield and nutrient use efficiency have led to some of the major agrochemical and breeding companies entering or re-entering the wheat breeding industry. Wheat is projected to stay as one of the three main food sources currently covering the most arable farming area. Assuming a stable production ratio between rice corn and wheat the future demand will be 1.5 times time todays harvest. A one per cent yield increase per year from today until 2050 will be insufficient to reach this level of growth especially when considering there will be less arable land for farming available by 2050 and increased societal pressure for better sustainability. This creates a strong opportunity for traits that ensure yield increase and yield stability with less agronomic inputs. NEW INNOVATIONS Wheat breeders have been quick to investigate and adopt all the new DNA technologies available. Public and private initiatives have brought the sequencing of the wheat genome forward and many studies on genome trait analysis have been undertaken see page 18 for an article on the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium. Detailed information on what is actually in operational use is hard to obtain but many if not all companies are involved in RD in these areas. There is renewed interest in hybrid wheat and most breeding companies are either working directly on this or are investigating whether to get involved. At the moment there are hybrid varieties on the market produced using chemical hybridisation agents. This is Wheat leaf infected with stripe rust also known as yellow rust Puccinia striiformis. The pustules caused by stripe rust contain yellow to orange- yellow urediospores and usually form stripes on the leaves. Photo credit Thomas LumpkinCIMMYT. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 17 technically difficult expensive and dependent on the deregulation of the agent in each country. The kind of heterosis level that can be obtained in wheat is around 10 per cent maybe up to 15 per cent but not more. That makes is difficult for a hybrid variety to compete with conventional ones considering the extra seed cost Lonnet says. Tapsell agrees The difficulty in producing seed at an economically efficient price level has always been a bottleneck for hybrid wheat mainly caused by the hybridisation systems available and their complexities. However new molecular and seed sorting technologies are changing things and it is expected that we will see more hybrid wheat varieties in the marketplace around the world in the coming five to 15 years. FEEDING THE WORLD Breeders are well aware of the looming production targets needed to feed the growing population. The U.K.-based International Wheat Yield Partnership IWYP seeks to increase wheat yields by 50 per cent by 2034. The World Bank estimates that global wheat production must increase by 60 per cent to meet rising demand IWYP notes on its website. Other estimates are even higher. At the rate of yield improvements achieved to date such ambitious targets may not be reached. So the use of GM or new genome editing technology is likely to be a necessary tool to achieve the required production many believe. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications ISAAA website Despite the current uncertainty over GM crops one thing remains clear this technology with its potential to create economically important crop varieties is simply too valuable to ignore. The focus on environmental protection while important is also disproportionally affecting politics in Europe. Nutrient legislation is currently being introduced that will make increasing wheat production to the required levels to feed the world in the future very difficult. The ISAAA website goes on to note that If these issues are to be resolved decisions must be based on credible science-based information. Given the importance people place on the food they eat policies regarding GM crops will have to be based on an open and honest debate involving a wide cross-section of society. Call Today 1920-623-2000 See more at hughesequipment.comhusker-rolls HUSKER ROLLS Precision Fit For Major Husker Brands HUGHES YOUR STRATEGIC PARTNER FOR Food Processing Equipment and Replacement PartsFood Processing Equipment and Replacement Parts Hughes Husker Manufacturing and Technology Innovation Since 1961 COUNT ON HUGHES EQUIPMENT for the perfect hand-off. Readily available husker rolls for your sweet and seed corn huskers Spiral Rolls Maxi Rolls Low Profile Rolls High Profile Rolls Select rolls available with and without cutting blades Spiral Rolls Maxi Rolls Low Profile Rolls High Profile Rolls Select rolls available Spiral Rolls Maxi Rolls Low Profile Rolls High Profile Rolls 18 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM WHEAT GENOME SEQUENCING CATCHING UP More financing needed so the full genome of bread wheat can be sequenced. BY THE INTERNATIONAL WHEAT GENOME SEQUENCING CONSORTIUM 18 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 19EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 19 equencing the wheat genome has long been considered an insurmountable challenge. World demographics how- ever have left society with no choice wheat production must increase to feed a growing population. Improving average wheat yields has become a major objective with genome sequencing as its prerequisite. Last year the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium unveiled the first draft sequence of the bread wheat genome. A complete reference sequence that will pave the way to improved wheat varieties could be achieved by 2018. The European Union is the worlds lead- ing wheat producer ahead of China India and the United States with 20 per cent of the total world harvest 140 million tons in 2013 on 26 million hectares cultivated. Today 4.6 million European farmers depend on this crop for their income. The EU leads the world in wheat improvement with a significant number of seed companies involved with breeding and production of wheat and wheat seeds as well as world-leading academic research institutes engaged in wheat research. In 2013 the contri- bution of wheat net output to the EU economy was estimated to be over 9 billion. With a projected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050 the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO forecasts that the demand for wheat will increase by 60 per cent. To meet that demand annual yield increases must grow from the current level of less than one per cent to at least 1.7 per cent. Since availability of new land is limited to preserve biodiversity and water and nutrient resources are becoming scarcer the majority of this increase has to be achieved via crop and trait improvement on land currently cultivated. PARADIGM SHIFT For years genomic resources for wheat improve- ment lagged behind other major crops such as maize and rice. Because of its size 17 giga base pairs five times larger than the human genome and complexity three sets of chromosomes with highly similar gene contents and a large propor- tion of repetitive DNA wheat was considered impossible to sequence. Thus despite its soci- oeconomic importance and the recognition of the power that a genome sequence brings to breeding programs bread wheat remains one of the last major crops without a high-quality reference genome sequence. The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium IWGSC was created in 2005 to change this paradigm. The international public-private collaborative consortium was established by a group of wheat growers scien- tists and breeders. Its goal is to deliver a publicly available high quality genome sequence of bread wheat that can serve as a foundation for wheat improvement and help to ensure profitability throughout the wheat value chain. The IWGSC is led by a board of directors that develops the overall strategy and a leader- ship team in charge of daily management. The Coordinating Committee composed of sponsors and leaders of IWGSC projects is responsible for establishing the overall scientific strategy and the strategic roadmap. IWGSC membership is open to any individual who is interested in supporting the goals and activities of the consortium. A MILESTONE-BASED STRATEGY To circumvent genome complexity the IWGSC adopted a chromosome-based approach made possible through technological advancements in flow-sorting of chromosomes. The IWGSC fol- lows a milestone-based adaptable strategy for all of the 21 bread wheat chromosomes. The three key milestones on the roadmap are to Produce draft sequences that provide a gene catalogue and localize as many genes along the chromosomes as possibleWheat karyotype. IWGSC SPONSORS 20 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM20 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM completed in France and published in 2014 in the same special issue of Science as the draft sequences. Reference sequencing of 13 other chromosomes is underway in 11 countries and will be completed over the next 18 months. The IWGSC is currently seeking funding for the remaining seven chromosomes and proposals for two are pending before national funding agencies. SUCCESSFUL AND SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP International research laboratories and seed companies have been instrumental in achieving IWGSC milestones. The wheat genome sequencing project is an example of a successful and sustainable public-private partnership with clear and consistent objectives designed to produce resources for breeders and ultimately growers. The chromosome-based approach allowed the IWGSC to support building skills and resources in many countries by engaging research teams in the development of physical maps and sequences. Even though this international participatory effort adds to coordination challenges it facilitates cost sharing and rapid application of the data into the numerous wheat breeding programs around the world. The IWGSC currently has projects in 21 countries and 1100 members representing 361 research institutions or private companies in 55 countries. An additional 350 individuals from 56 institutes and five additional countries are registered to utilize the publicly available data that has been generated by IWGSC projects. CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS FOR SEED COMPANIES AND GROWERS Seed companies and grower organisations have been involved in the consortium since its establishment. An essential aspect of their contribution is to provide input on strategic orientations. For example their input was critical at the beginning as it was necessary to decide which wheat variety Generate physical maps that serve as sub- strates for sequencing and Complete map-based reference sequences that accurately order more than 90 per cent of the genomic information and link the sequence to genetic and phenotypic maps. While the draft sequence provides useful infor- mation to breeders for marker assisted selection the physical map-based strategy remains the only approach that can efficiently deliver with todays sequencing technology a high-quality ordered sequence comparable to the gold stand- ard reference sequence of rice. The IWGSC regu- larly adapts its strategy to integrate the newest sequencing technologies while maintaining the objective of a high-quality reference sequence. A physical map-based sequence is the best resource for understanding genome function as it provides access to the complete gene cata- logue permits the identification and functional analysis of regulatory features and chromosomal organization and provides accurate maps of genetic markers and intra-and inter-species variation that can be associated with specific traits such as quality yield drought tolerance or durable disease resistance. SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS The first milestone was reached in July 2014 with the publication in the journal Science of draft sequences for each of the 21 wheat chro- mosomes and a putative order for about half of the genes on each chromosome. While not yet representing a complete sequence the capacity for the first time to identify the localisation of a gene on a wheat chromosome in silico is already helping us to speed up our breeding efforts and map-based cloning projects for trait improvement says Catherine Feuillet head of trait research at Bayer CropSciences and IWGSC board member. The completion of the second milestone is well underway as physical maps for 16 chromosomes have been developed and five draft maps should be finished before the end of 2016. Progress towards the final milestone is gathering momentum. The first reference sequence of a wheat chromosome 3B was should be sequenced. Bread wheat was selected as that is the variety grown by 95 per cent of the farmers. Simultaneously seed companies wanted access to the sequence of bread wheat rather than that of wild diploid wheat because they wanted tools that could have a direct immediate impact on their wheat breeding programs. A nother contribution is financial. By paying an annual sponsorship fee to the IWGSC seed companies and grower organisations enable the professional m a n a gement of t he con sor t iu m t he orga n i s at ion of work shops a nd t he development of communication materials to provide platforms for developing and advancing projects. Finally seed companies can support projects directly if they wish to accelerate the global achievement of the objectives. For example in 2011 Graminor and Biogemma provided the first funding support for the draft sequencing of the 21 chromosomes while Bayer CropScience provided 1 million in 2014 to achieve the physical maps. In return for their support seed companies and grower organizations are part of the Coordinating Committee and have pre-publication access to all data which can greatly accelerate the implementation of the sequence-based resources into their own breeding programs. Varietal improvements based on data from IWGSC projects are emerging already. For example CDC Fortitude a new durum wheat cultivar was developed by a team at the University of Saskatchewan Crop Development Centre in Canada in part using DNA markers that were identified from early access to the reference sequence of chromosome 3B. Moreover about a dozen genes related to controlling traits involved in the resistance to pathogens drought tolerance and yield are being isolated currently using the reference sequence information of chromosome 3B. Ultimately growers will benefit from the work of the consortium by having access to new varieties more rapidly than today and having access to those that are developed with technologies not yet accessible in wheat. Having an enabling tool such as a reference sequence will increase future investments in wheat breeding for the benefit of growers because companies will have a better mechanism for value capture. A FUNDING CHALLENGE Securing funding for sequencing the wheat genome has been and remains a challenge. In contrast to other sequencing projects the IWGSC has not been allocated a lump sum for the whole sequencing project but has had to work with project leaders all over the world to secure funding from national agencies and private companies. Over the last 10 years the IWGSC has raised approximately 50 million for physical mapping and sequencing projects. About 11.5 million in funding is still needed to produce assemble and make available all remaining sequence data. Provided that fund- ing is secured soon the IWGSC anticipates that a high-quality genome sequence for bread wheat could be publicly available by 2018. The IWGSC is working toward the goal of another 16 chromosomes and they plan to have five draft maps before the end of 2016. As seed companies are urged to keep track of their genetic resources European Seed offers an overview of the Nagoya Protocol and what it means to the industry. EDITORS NOTE This is part two of a two-part series exploring the Nagoya Protocol and its impact on the European seed industry. The first part can be found online in Volume 2 Issue 1 of European Seed at ENSURING BIODIVERSITY 22 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM BY MARCEL BRUINS n this part two of the mini-series on the Nagoya Protocol NP we take a closer look at the European implementation of the NP. European Seed sat down with Szonja Csrg director intellectual property and legal affairs of the European Seed Association ESA. European Seed The 64 species covered by the the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture ITPGRFA are not covered by the Nagoya Protocol. So is it fair to say that only those companies breeding with species outside the Annex I are to be worried about the Nagoya Protocol Szonja Csrg Indeed Article 44 of the Nagoya Protocol states that Where a special- ised international access and benefit sharing ABS instrument applies that is consistent with and does not run counter to the objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity CBD and this Protocol this Protocol does not apply for the Party or Parties to the specialised instru- ment in respect of the specific genetic resource covered by and for the purpose of the special- ized instrument. This is of course a very lengthy and legal- istic sentence but it is worth having a closer look at it and spending some time to interpret its different elements to better understand what is exactly excluded from the scope of the Nagoya Protocol and what is not. First the above provision of the Nagoya Protocol does not refer to the ITPGRFA specifically but to specialised international access and benefit-sharing instruments and thinking about the structure of the ITPGRFA it has to be acknowledged that it is not the treaty itself but only its multilateral system MLS that constitutes a specialised international ABS instrument. The scope of the treaty covers all PGRFA whereas the scope of the MLS is lim- ited to the species listed on Annex I. These are excluded from the EU legislation as long as they are utilized for food and agriculture and come from a country that is party to the ITPGRFA. It is not completely clear yet whether genetic resources that are not placed in the multilateral system andor are available in situ in countries that are Contracting Parties of the ITPGRFA fall within or outside the scope of the EU leg- islation. According to the provisions of the treaty genetic resources belonging to species on Annex I do not become automatically part of the MLS but have to be placed in there by the Contracting Parties. So far only a bit more than 30 Contracting Parties have notified their collections to the MLS from the more than 130. Therefore the following questions may be useful to ask in a check-list1 Does the genetic resource belong to an Annex I crop Was it accessed in a country that is Party to the ITPGRFA Has that Party placed the specific genetic resource in the MLS of the treaty Is it coming from an ex situ collection Is the purpose of the use research breeding or training for food and agriculture ES Several companies have decided to challenge the EU Regulation implement- ing the Nagoya Protocol in front of the General Court of the EU. Why are they doing this What is wrong with this EU Regulation Should other companies join SZ In general terms it has to be mentioned that the EU Regulation 5112014 is a dispro- portionally intrusive measure in terms of the compliance burden it imposes on users of genetic resources and very vague and impre- cise in many of its provisions. Consequently it creates significant legal uncertainty for users who have to comply with the due diligence and related obligations and their consequences. It is not a plant breeding-specific view on the reg- ulation but a cross-sectorial assessment that the amount of legal uncertainty created by the regulation is huge but it does affect plant breeders in an entirely distinct and burden- some fashion. Apart from these shortcomings one of the main reasons for the plant breeding companies to challenge the validity of the reg- ulation lies in the disproportionate nature of the obligations it imposes on the plant breed- ing sector since genetic resources are not merely an ancillary part of their business and more specifically in the conflict it creates with the long-lasting tradition of breeders to rely on the breeders exemption. The main obligation for users under the EU regulation is the so-called due diligence obligation according to which users have to seek keep and transfer to subsequent users all the information on the genetic resources that are specified in the regulation Article 4.2. Since Article 2 of the regulation states that it applies to genetic resources in respect of which Parties to the Nagoya Protocol exercise sovereign rights whether the due diligence obligation has to be carried out in respect of commercial plant varieties accessed under the breeders exemption remains a matter dependent on how the country of access defines its own sovereignty over genetic resources. If a breeder access- ing a commercial variety under the breeders exemption has to seek all the information foreseen in the regulation regarding the genetic resources incorporated in the com- mercial variety the breeders exemption will become totally meaningless and the admin- istrative burden on the plant breeders will be unbearable. Not to mention the fact that the regulation basically requires the plant breed- ing sector who heavily rely on the breeders exemption to completely change the way it has been working for centuries. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 23 ES Can you explain why ESA decided not to support the court case Could this change in the future and if yes what needs to happen for that SZ ESA has in fact always supported the case as far as the arguments and reasoning behind it are concerned. During the whole legislative process ESA has been explaining to the legis- lators the problems described above and has been pleading for them to take into account the distinct features of commercial plant varieties. In fact an amendment was proposed to con- sider the due diligence obligation as fulfilled in case commercial plant varieties are accessed and utilized in breeding. However as a trade association ESA could not do more since under EU procedural law there are very strict condi- tions as to whether an applicant is directly and individually concerned by a measure in order to file a request for annulment. Once the two distinct actions had been filed by the individual companies ESA without hesitation decided to intervene in the case on their behalf and support their pleas. ESA filed an application for leave to intervene to the General Court of the EU in mid-December and now the General Court will have to decide whether or not to permit the association to file a statement in intervention on behalf of the applicants. ES How could this happen at intergov- ernmental level that there are two sets of international regulations regulating with a large degree of overlap the same matter Is there a chance to untangle the two e.g. define which genetic resources each of the systems regulate Or is there a chance to assign all plant genetic resources for breeding into the ITPGRFA and all other genetic resources into the Nagoya Protocol SZ Since the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol cover and set rules for all genetic resources in theory indeed there is an overlap between the two international instruments. However as explained above Article 44 of the Nagoya Protocol intends to untangle this overlap by codifying the general principle of law according to which a specific regime prevails over the gen- eral regime. Therefore in legal terms there is no real overlap but in practice as explained above due to the many elements which define the actual scope of the treatys MLS it is not so easy and evident to define which genetic resources are covered by which regime. Certainly the best solution to clarify the situation would be to assign all PGRFA into the MLS or in other terms to expand the coverage of Annex I of the treaty to all species used in plant breeding. This is also the position the seed indus- try represents in the current treaty discussions regarding the enhancement of the MLS. In prac- tice however expanding the scope of Annex I is not without hurdles since it is part of the treaty and it appears that any modifications to it require unanimity of the more than 130 Contracting Parties of the treaty. It is currently under investi- gation what other ways could be found to expand the scope of the MLS in practice. One of such ways is already applied by a number of countries in Europe whereby the country decides in its own competence to apply the sMTA also to species that are not listed in Annex I. ES Is the seed industry in frequent contact with the CBDNP as it is with the IT When is the next meeting of the NP and what are the main topics that the seed industry wishes to influence SZ The seed industry has been following the negotiations leading up to the Nagoya Protocol as well as the discussions that took place between its adoption and its recent entry into force. Involvement of the seed industry in those discussions is ensured both on a sectorial level as well as in a cross-industry manner via the International Chamber of Commerce ICC. The first meeting of the parties to the Nagoya Protocol took place in October 2014 and the second meeting is scheduled for December 2016. The main topics the seed industry is carefully following are the developments regarding the ABS Clearing House Mechanism the Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism and the issue of an internationally recognised certificate of compliance. As to the ABS Clearing House the industry considers this as one of the core basic elements of the system and attaches a lot of attention to the fact that it has to be imple- mented in a way that users may rely on it as THE source of information for their compliance. If the clearing house is not able to meet these goals compliance with the system will become nearly impossible. Article 10 of the Nagoya Protocol provides that in the course of implementation of the Nagoya Protocol parties have to consider the need for and modalities of a Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism. Since the industry is of the view that there is no need for such a mechanism it is carefully following develop- ments in this regard. Lastly a very important point for the industry is still to get official con- firmation from the CBDNP that the sMTA of the treaty fulfills the criteria of an internationally recognised certificate of compliance and there- fore can be recognised as such. ES What does the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol mean for plant breed- ers and seed companies in general What should they do to make sure that they are compliant with the Nagoya Protocol What can or can they not do now that the Nagoya Protocol has entered into force SZ In principle the fact that the Nagoya Protocol has entered into force does not change much in itself. It is more the entry into force of national ABS laws that matter since the scope of ABS measures and the obligations to follow in order to get access and be able to utilise genetic resources in a legally compliant way will depend on national ABS laws. The date of the entry into force of the protocol is how- ever important to remember October 12 2014 since it determines the point in time from which compliance with the provisions of national ABS regimes can be checked see also the case of the EU Regulation. In general terms companies should always check whether there are national ABS rules regulating access and utilisation of genetic resources in the country where they wish to access a genetic resource and the obligations applicable under those rules. Further on com- panies carrying out activities which fall under the scope of the EU Regulation implementing the Nagoya Protocol should as of October 12 2014 carefully document all genetic resources entering their premises which are used or may be used for RD purposes. 1 Depending on the discussion on the details it might be necessary to extend the list with some further questions. COMPANIES SHOULD ALWAYS CHECK WHETHER THERE ARE NATIONAL ABS RULES REGULATING ACCESS AND UTILISATION OF GENETIC RESOURCES IN THE COUNTRY WHERE THEY WISH TO ACCESS A GENETIC RESOURCE AND THE OBLIGATIONS APPLICABLE UNDER THOSE RULES. To learn more about the Nagoya Protocol and the Convention on Biological Diversity visit www.cbc.intabs. 24 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM European Seed takes an unprecedented inside look into the activities of the Chinese seed industry the Chinese National Seed Trade Association and its initiatives. By CNSTA he seed industry in China is growing at a rapid pace. By the end of 2014 there were 5064 licensed seed companies nationwide. Over 220 seed companies had a license issued by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture among which 72 are companies servicing the whole chain from breeding through to seed production and sales. The Ch i na Nationa l Seed Trade Association CNSTA was created under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture in 1988. It has more than 130 members nationwide specialising in breeding seed production and seed machinery. It became a member of the International Seed Federation ISF in 1995. The Chinese seed market is diverse. The share of seed compan ies w ith a license issued by any of the provincial agriculture departments was 40.2 per cent in 2014 those issued by prefecture- level agriculture departments 29.7 per cent and the percentage at county level lower level under the prefecture level was 25.6 per cent. The market status of the many smaller seed companies which are scattered over a wide area has greatly improved in recent years. China requires a lot of seed. In 2013 the total acreage of land under cultivation by grain soybean and potatoes amounted to 111.956 million ha cotton 43.46 million ha oil crops 140.2 million ha sugar crops 19.9 million ha and vegetable crops 208.99 million ha. The domestic seed market share value accounts for 21 per cent of the global total ranking second globally after the United States which makes China the major target market for multinational seed companies according to the 2013 China statistical yearbook. ROLE OF THE CNSTA CNSTA has always dedicated itself to being an open window and platform linking the Chinese seed industry and the world promoting the development of the Chinese seed market and facilitating the cooperation between its members and partners. To date all these efforts are contributing to sustainable agriculture a better life for farmers and the further development of agriculture in China. The work of the association is carried out in two ways. CNSTA organises forums and its Relationship with Seed academic exchanges research at home and abroad as well as technical training. It also carries out work on behalf of the Chinese government such as policy seminars and proposals. Cooperation with international organisations has been expanded in recent years aimed at finding valid solutions for facilitating the import of seed into China. Hosting international and regional seed congresses has proven to be useful in aiding market expansion including events organized by ISF and the Asia and Pacific Seed Association APSA. All of the work that is carried out is aimed at providing helpful service to association members. CNSTA co-organises domestic seed fairs and an exhibitions launched by the local seed association each year which has facilitated further cooperation with government. In turn CNSTA car r ies out research work launched by government. In recent years the association has established good communication and a strategic relationship with seed associations from other parts of Asia Europe and North and South America. CNSTA also assists with communication between the CHINA EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 25 Ministry of Agriculture and the International Seed Testing Association ISTA and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. MAJOR SUCCESSES On behalf of the seed industry in China CNSTA hosted the 2005 APSA Congress and the 2014 ISF World Seed Congress. This was not only a chance to show off the Chinese seed industry to the world but also a good time to show the world that the Chinese seed industry is open for business. These worldwide and regional seed congresses are influential events in the world seed industry a major reason why CNSTA wanted to be a part of them. The 2014 World Seed Congress and the 2005 APSA Congress organized by CNSTA are considered a huge trade opportunity within the Chinese seed industry. These events play an important role in strengthening the cooperation between the Chinese seed sector international seed organisations accelerating the pace of trade rule harmonisation between China and other countries steering Chinese seed companies into the world seed market and elevating the development of the Chinese seed industry in general. The Chinese government has provided fundamental support to these congresses. As a national seed association CNSTA held these congresses with the end goal of advancing the Chinese seed industry. In his speech during the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Seed Congress in Beijing the CNSTA ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGES The China National Seed Trade Association CNSTA is welcoming a new secretary-general while bidding farewell and good luck to its current leader. Heres what each had to say about the value of CNSTA to the Chinese and global seed sectors. LIU HANG Outgoing Secretary General CNSTA I have been working in the seed industry for nearly 40 years and undertook this role with the association in 2010. I have seen the fast development of the Chinese seed industry and the need and recognition from the outside world during the past five years. We organized a variety of international regional and domestic seed congresses or fairs with the aim of achieving mutual goals with our global counterparts. We played an important role in the liaison between organizations such as OECD ISTA ISF and APSA with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and our members in the hope of speeding up the pace of seed industry development in China. I am glad that I could assist the development of Chinas seed industry. WANG YAN Incoming Secretary General CNSTA CNSTA was founded to enhance communication promote cooperation and maintain the market conditions that aid in global seed industry development. CNSTA will continue to carry out more in-depth communication on the international stage on behalf of the Chinese seed industry. We will respond to the call of government to speed up the development of the modern seed industry by encouraging both imports of seed into China and also the export of seed to our global partners. In addition to promoting the traditional domestic seed trade the Chinese government is also exploring new ways of industry development such as global investment and mergers and acquisitions as well as localization of research. Under these circumstances more roles and responsibilities are in store for the CNSTA. We intend to expand our reach to more countries around the globe. vice-premier of China said that the country wishes to create a fair and transparent environment to achieve benefits for China but also contribute to the development of the world seed industry and global agriculture. M o r e a n d m o r e s e e d i n d u s t r y stakeholders want to get to know the Chinese seed industry. As a bridge that links seed companies at home and abroad CNSTA hopes get its achievements seen by the world as well as make its voice heard. The Chinese government has committed to continuously supporting the seed industry with efforts to accelerate the speed of the variety innovation strengthen the protection and utilization of seed germplasm and protection of intellectual property rights in order to create a favourable environment for RD. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2014 ISF WORLD SEED CONGRESS CNSTA was committed to carrying out the traditional World Seed Congress program but also wanted to add some Chinese characteristics to the 2014 congress. For example the vice-premier and other high- level leaders from the Chinese government attending the opening ceremony helped bolster the events profile. Also the onsite variety demonstration centre which exhibited more than 1200 species including vegetables wheat and maize received nearly 800 visitors. Chinese exper ts from the cou ntr ys General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine to make a presentation. An important outcome of the meeting was the CNSTAs issuing of the Beijing Declaration which calls on countries around the globe to facilitate a prosperous future for the worlds seed industry. Chinese wheat field. 26 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM he Chinese government has always attached major importance to the research of biotech crops and keeps a very positive attitude toward this technology. Since 2008 the government has funded research on GM crops such as maize rice wheat soybean and cotton various research institutes and universities carry out most of the research. Some major companies have taken part in the research. So far only three safety certificates have been issued to grain crops two on rice and one on maize. Even once a variety gets a safety certificate it still requires further approval and registration. Currently no grain soybean or rape GM variety has been approved and registered in China. China allows only the commercial cultivation of biotech cotton and papaya and no other cultivation of biotech crops is allowed at the moment. This means that no other GM crops have been marketed or sold for cultivation in China. The primary plan for the marketing and sale of biotech varieties is for non-food crops like cotton which will receive priority. This will be followed by crops that are meant for indirect consumption like soybean and maize. Ultimately food crops for direct consumption will be allowed for marketing like rice and maize. Public Campaign To some extent biotechnology is relatively new for China. The Chinese general public lacks awareness on some aspects of the technology and food safety issues are of particular concern. In order to make the public aware of the technology the Chinese government has increased its efforts toward the dissemination of information on biotechnology mainly through television newspapers and websites. Chinas biotechnology policy and information about its regulation and management is all publicly available on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. The Chinese people have doubts and fears about GMO technology leading to a debate on GM issues Chinese vice-minister of Agriculture Yu Xinrong recently acknowledged in a press interview. He considers this a normal phenomenon from the perspective of the history of science and technological progress he adds. China is a large agricultural country and is a big consumer of agricultural products. This is in contrast to the reality of a big population less farmland shortage of water frequent floods and droughts and a high incidence of pests and diseases. Thus in order to ensure long-term supply of grain and other major agricultural products China must take the road of technological innovation including GM technology. As result of this in 2015 the China State Council issued a document that proposed to strengthen research safety management and public awareness of GM technology. Yu Xinrong further added that in his opinion with the development of science and the deepening of practice public doubts can be gradually reduced. Regulatory Approval Before foreign biotech varieties can be cultivated in China they must first be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. After obtaining the approval the variety needs to go through a safety evaluation and must then go through a variety registration process before it can enter into the market. The same procedure applies for Chinese seed companies. GM products must pass the safety evaluation of the trait that was transferred only then can the product enter into China. According to Yu Xinrong in recent years the Ministry of Agriculture has taken a series of measures to strengthen the supervision and management of agricultural GMO safety. A set of laws rules regulations and a management system appropriate for our country has been established which is similar to international ones he says. The State Council created the Regulations of Agricultural Genetically Modified Organisms Safety Management while the Ministry of Agriculture has developed four supporting regulations and has started to implement them. China has also strengthened its technical support system and established the National Agricultural Genetically Modified Organisms Safety Commission which is composed of 64 experts who are responsible for the safety evaluation of GMO varieties. The country has also established the National Agricultural GMO Safety Management Standardization Technical Committee which is composed of 41 experts and it has published 108 GMO safety standards. Additionally China has established a GMO safety supervision system and set up joint meetings on GMO safety management composed of 12 agricultural departments. To help address public concerns the country has strengthened the management of GMO Tags and issued standard on the Identification of Agricultural GMO Tags. Lastly China strengthened the enforcement of its GM laws. Recently the Ministry of Agriculture issued its 2015 safety supervision plan for GMOs requesting that the agricultural administrative departments fulfill local enforcement responsibilities and put an end to the illegal sale of GMO crops in China. BRINGING BIOTECHNOLOGY TO CHINA While a limited number of biotech crops have been approved in China the Chinese government understands their role in the future of agriculture and is working to open more doors for biotech. By CNSTA BULK SEED SYSTEMS With 30 years of experience designing and manufacturing seed handling systems Convey-All is the logical choice for your bulk seed site. Whether you require an individual component or a complete system for your outside storage yard or inside your plant our systems are designed to handle delicate seeds and reduce cross contamination. With Convey-All you get the peace of mind that all our products include Complete custom design fabrication installation and after sales services In-plant and storage yard systems Capacities to match your exact requirements Seed treating and other systems are compatible and can be incorporated Ideal for bulk seed plants from Convey-All Industries Inc. RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY SEED HANDLING INFORMATION PACKAGE Call 1-800-418-9461 or register at WWW.CONVEY-ALL.COM BULK SEED SYSTEMS With 30 years of experience designing and manufacturing seed handling systems Convey-All is the logical choice for your bulk seed site. Whether you require an individual component or a complete system for your outside storage yard or inside your plant our systems are designed to handle delicate seeds and reduce cross contamination. With Convey-All you get the peace of mind that all our products include Complete custom design fabrication installation and after sales services In-plant and storage yard systems Capacities to match your exact requirements Seed treating and other systems are compatible and can be incorporated Ideal for bulk seed plants from Convey-All Industries Inc. RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY SEED HANDLING INFORMATION PACKAGE Call 1-800-418-9461 or register at WWW.CONVEY-ALL.COM 28 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM ts clear that securing the worlds food supply will require much work beyond crop diversity conservation such as further advances in crop science building efficient markets and reducing the waste of food. None of this can be effective if the genetic base of our food supply is lost. European Seed presents the following commentary from Marie Haga executive director of the the Crop Trust to provide readers with more insight into this issue. You can also visit to watch a video interview with Marie Haga. Crop diversity underpins todays production and provides the raw material needed for ensuring continuing supplies tomorrow in the face of a rapidly-changing world. The world will have to produce more and more nutritious food on less land with less water and less energy and in increasingly unpredictable weather. Breeders must continue to develop new crop varieties that are more productive more nutritious and more resistant to stresses like higher temperatures or less water. The development of these new crop varieties which can cope with challenging situations may well be the single most important step we can take to adapt to climate change. The wise use of crop genetic diversity in plant breeding can also contribute significantly to protecting the environment. Crop varieties that are resistant to pests and disease can reduce the need for application of crop protection products drought-resistant plants can help save water through reducing the need for irrigation and varieties that are more efficient in their use of nutrients require less fertiliser. Climate-Resilient Agriculture A climate-resilient agriculture model an adaptable agriculture model built on crop diversity is needed. It lays the basis for offering higher-yielding and more reliable food plants to support farmers and consumers in low-income countries. While the total number of traditional plant varieties that have disappeared is not known today many can be found only in gene banks established over the past 50 years. These gene banks conserve and make available genetic material offering this through their databases to plant breeders researchers and farmers who look among thousands of samples of crop diversity for sources of resistance to high temperatures and disease. Yet it can take upwards of 10 years to develop a better plant variety hence the urgency to secure the basis of agriculture today and use it as efficiently as possible. Whether mitigating the causes of climate change or preparing for its impacts the worlds crop diversity represents an accomplishment of human ingenuity that helps us deal with the threats of our modern age. We will need the full array of this diversity collected characterised and available in gene banks if we hope to adapt to climate conditions not seen before. Plants from anywhere in the world may hold the answers to climate challenges including the wild relatives of our domesticated crops that can survive under extreme conditions. Safeguarding Collections of Crop Diversity The Crop Trust works to safeguard the most important collections of crop diversity in gene banks around the world. It is an essential component of the funding mechanism of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture which WHY CROP DIVERSITY MATTERS The fight to achieve food security and end hunger is one of the greatest challenges facing the world in the coming decades. Rising populations diminishing resources and deteriorating environments only raise the stakes. BY MARCEL BRUINS EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 29 came into force in 2004 and has been ratified by 134 countries. According to the treaty itself it was created because plant genetic resources for food and agriculture are a common concern of all countries in that all countries depend very largely on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture that originated elsewhere. This basic interdependence requires a global system to secure our common heritage and to make it accessible and useful to all. That is what the Crop Trust has been working on during the last decade a global system for ex situ conservation that is efficient and rational based on defined roles and international collaboration and also cost-effective avoiding unnecessary duplication of efforts among players providing the raw genetic material to breed for a more nutritious and varied food supply increasing poor populations access to more affordable and healthier food to fight malnutrition. The Crop Trust currently has oversight and financial responsibility for 11 global gene banks through the CGIAR Research Program CRP for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections. Held in trust for the world under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture these are among the most comprehensive and widely used collections of crop diversity. The Crop Trust also maintains in partnership with the Norwegian government and the Nordic Genetic Resources Centre the ultimate failsafe beneath the Arctic permafrost the Svalbard Global Seed Vault safeguards these and other collections protecting seeds from almost every country against an uncertain future. In strengthening this global system the Crop Trust also pursues conservation and use of the wild cousins of our food crops and helps develop a new generation of information technologies to make the worlds crop diversity searchable and accessible wherever it is needed. The Cost of Conserving Forever The ex situ conservation of crop diversity is by its nature a long-term never-ending task. Crop collections require constant curation and care even brief disruptions can expose plant genetic material to the risk of permanent loss. Only long-term sustainable financial support can secure a global system that is too important to leave to chance. The Crop Trust is thus building a Crop Diversity Endowment Fund of US850 million which by generating approximately 34 million in annual income will safeguard the diversity of the major food crops of the world in gene banks and thereby the basis for food security. The Crop Trust is committed to building this endowment over the next five years. By 2016 an international donors conference will be asked to add 330 million to the current endowment fund of 170 million. By 2018 an additional 350 million will be sought so as to reach 850 million in the endowment fund and safeguard a wider spectrum of the worlds agricultural diversity found in national collections and in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Join the Crop Trust The private sector is an essential stakeholder of the Crop Trusts work as seeds are conserved and distributed with the ultimate purpose of producing food. The food and agriculture sector depends critically on the availability of diverse farm produce as a foundation for its business. Supporting the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund is a one-off green investment generating annual social returns far into the future. It provides annual benefits over the very long term through investment income disbursed to key international collections of seeds and other plant genetic material for food and agriculture. Unlike project funds that are disbursed and exhausted on grant activities upon receipt by the implementing organisation endowment resources are safeguarded and invested by the Crop Trust so as to retain their real value against inflation. The Crop Trust also offers its private sector supporters a tailored set of benefits to become closely involved with the organisation. Among these Endowing A Specific Crop Each crop has different costs associated with its long- term conservation. Investment Sharing Managed by a leading international financial institution this option allows investors to share a portion of their investment returns with the Crop Trust. Matching Donations Under a matching grant a donor agrees to match every dollar raised by the Crop Trust with a dollar from the donor. And as additional bonus donors contributing more than 250000 gain access to the governance structure of the Crop Trust through an invitation to its Donors Council. By contributing to the Crop Trust Endowment Fund donors are ensuring that mankind will be able to adapt to climate change and produce the additional food that is required to feed a growing and more demanding world population. If a company is interested in working with or supporting the Crop Trust contact THE CROP TRUST Tel 49 0 228 85427 122 Platz Der Vereinten Nationen 7 53113 Bonn Germany 30 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM SPOTLIGHT VEREINIGUNG DER PFLANZENZCHTER UND SAATGUTKAUFLEUTE STERREICHS SEED SUPPORTER THOUGH THE COUNTRY MAY BE SMALL AUSTRIAS SEED INDUSTRY IS READY TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE WORLD. BY VPS ustria has 7.4 million hectares of agricultural land a nd forests. T he latter accounts for more than 46 per cent of this area. T he ag r icu ltu ra l land consists of 1.4 million hectares of arable land and 1.3 m i l l ion hect a res o f p e r m a n e n t grassland. Grassland can mainly be found in the western part of the country and the mountainous regions while arable land is located in the eastern part of Austria. Crops grown on arable land 822000 hectares of cereals and maize 215000 hectares of oils and protein crops 72000 hectares of sugar beets and potatoes 242000 hectares of fodder crops Residual area different crops 15000 hectares of fruits and 45000 hectares of grapevine The structure of farms is generally small. To illustrate this 95 per cent of all farms run less than 100 hectares of agricultural land and forest. Even 70 per cent of them run less than 30 hectares. However the size of the farms increases continuously. The seed multiplication area varies between 35000 and 37000 hectares. The main crops in this sector are cereals maize soybean potatoes and sugar beet. Small amounts of production are done in different oil and protein crops fodder crops and vegetables. Most seed production in Austria is done by 12 companies including national cooperatives national private companies as well as branches of international companies represented by Saatgut Austria Austrias national seed association. There are also some companies who just trade with seeds but do not produce them on their own. Breeding and seed production especially of plant genetic resources is also done by farmers and associations not included in Saatgut Austria whose full name is Vereinigung der Pflanzenzchter und Saatgutkaufleute sterreichs VPS. In Austria there are still eight companies working on plant breeding. Although the focus lies on cereals especially on wheat maize potatoes soybean vegetables and some other local crops like oilseed pumpkins are also bred. Since the Austrian market is very small most plant breeders and seed companies are also present in the east and southeastern European countries. SAATGUT AUSTRIA The Austrian Plant Breeders Association has existed for more than 65 years. The exact date of its founding is unknown. An association of Austrian seed merchants also existed in previous years. In 2000 these associations decided to merge to form Saatgut Austria. Saatgut Austria has an executive committee with a chairman who represents the association. The secretary is responsible for internal coordination organisation and the budget. The membership of Saatgut Austria is made up 30 companies working in plant breeding andor the seed production and trade. Other members include 12 private persons including employees of seed companies and SHARE OF CULTIVARS ON THE AUSTRIAN SEED TURNOVER MAIZE 39.32 OTHER 9.97 POTATOES 9.28 SUGAR BEET 8.15 FEED PLANT 12.53 CEREALS 20.75 also members of the University and Ministry of Agriculture. Saatgut Austria also has working groups who discuss topics that are only relevant for certain members e.g. plant variety protection and farm-saved seed seed treatments cereals maize forage crops and grasses public relations etc. The general assembly meets once a year. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 31 The executive board and the working groups meet more often if required. Saatgut Austria is an association with a democratic structure. Although companies with different structures and interests are members democratic decisions are respected by all after sufficient discussion. At the international level Saatgut Austria is a member of the European Seed Association and the International Seed Federation. The chairman and some members of the executive board are also working in different sections of ESA and ISF. Some members who are cooperatives are also in invoved with the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations COPA-COGECA. Within this framework there is also contact with other national seed associations. DISCUSSION COORDINATION AND PROMOTION The goal of Saatgut Austria is to discuss coordinate and promote the interests of Austrian plant breeders and seed producers. T hese goa l s a r e a c h i e v e d t h r o u g h presentations discussions and meetings combined with membership subscriptions donations and proceeds from projects and conferences. At the national level Saatgut Austria has a very good relationship with the Austrian agricultural authority and parts of the government. Saatgut Austria is an acknowledged stakeholder and is given a chance to discuss laws and other regulations before they are passed. THE ROLE OF SAATGUT AUSTRIA Si nce S a atg ut Au s t r i a mem b er s do not generally belong to international associations the association is their direct connection to the European Seed Association and International Seed Federation. Bringing together plant breeders and seed producers especially getting them in contact with the government and the authorities is one of the main roles of Saatgut Austria. The association functions as a coordinator of research projects between plant breeding companies and research institutions. It also lobbies for the use of certified seed. The most important topics within Saatgut Austria are arguing for a good farm-saved seed regulation and presenting professional plant breeding and seed production to the general public. MAJOR SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES As mentioned the size of Austrian farms is quite small. As a consequence the coexistence of GMOs and GMO-free plants would be very difficult and expensive to regulate. Therefore Saatgut Austria suppor ted a regu lation concer n i n g contamination of non-GMO seed with GMO seed. Since 2001 Austria is the only country in Europe with a legal regulation concerning low-level presence. Although the threshold value is zero in a first testing of a defined sample and the seed industry has to pay for analysis legal measures can be taken if a minimal contamination is found later on. Since this regulation was introduced Austrian maize seed production increased by fivefold in the area. A big part of the produced seed is exported to regions where GMO-free seed is important. Austria is known as a reliable partner in this area. In addition the seed production of soybeans has increased similarly. A breeding program for non-GMO soybeans has even been established in Austria in recent years. The main challenge Saatgut Austria faces is to maintain regionally adapted Oilseed pumpkin female flower. Oilseed pumpkin. 32 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM SPOTLIGHT VEREINIGUNG DER PFLANZENZCHTER UND SAATGUTKAUFLEUTE STERREICHS FARM-SAVED SEED IN AUSTRIA The European Union regulation 210094 functions as the base of the Austrian law on plant variety rights from 2001. In respect to the use of farm-saved seed FSS the Austrian law makes no further clarification on royalties and their collection. The law provides the possibility for agreements between farmers and breeders. However small farmers are excluded from any farm-saved seed regulation. The Minister for Agriculture can promulgate a regulation with regard to information on the use of FSS when an agreement between the stakeholders exists. However until recently it was not possible to achieve such an agreement with the farmer legal representation Chamber of Agriculture. During VPSs regular discussions with the Chamber of Farmers it became apparent that the participants agree on the arguments but cannot admit this officially because of political reasons. Due to these reasons such agreements could not be achieved until the present day. Furthermore the government and the minister gave VPS to understand that this is the precondition for them to interveneact. Since the structure of the farms is very small many of them would not be covered by FSS regulation. JOIN US AT THE ESA ANNUAL MEETING IN VIENNA Hosting the ESA Annual Meeting is important for Saatgut Austria and its members. The organisation looks forward to networking with other experts in the seed industry. It is also a great opportunity to present the Austrian plant breeders and seed production industries to journalists its always important to share information on agricultural matters with non-experts. Registration for the ESA Annual Meeting is open. Register now SAATGUT AUSTRIA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chairman Michael Gohn Chairmen Deputy Johann Blaimauer Johann Birschitzky Erich Schwarzenberger Members Of The Executive Board Erwin Arocker Felix Fuchs Josef Fraundorfer Johann Posch Andreas Ziegler Elisabeth Zechner Rainer Frank Paul Brunner Hubert Kabinger Hermann Tappler Christian Stockmar Auditors Peter Nachtnebel Walter Steinmayr Secretary Anton Brandstetter Executive board left to right Anton Brandstetter Johann Blaimauer Erwin Arocker Michael Gohn Andreas Ziegler Renate Brunmayer Felix Fuchs Erich Schwarzenberger Elisabeth Zechner Paul Brunner Johann Birschitzky Rainer Frank Josef Fraundorfer Christian Stockmar MEP Elisabeth Kstinger at a meeting at a cereal breeding station. From left to right Johann Blaimauer chairman deputy VPS Elisabeth Zechner cereal breeder Garlich v. Essen ESA Anton Brandstetter secretary general VPS Michael Gohn chairman VPS Elisabeth Kstinger MEP Franziska Lschenberger cereal breeder Johann Birschitzky chairman deputy VPS October 2015 1113 VIENNA Austria WHAT New format of 3 full days of meetings business and networking opportunities. A unique opportunity for important policy discussions successful trade. WHO More than 900 seed professionals from all around the world. WHEN October 11-13 2015. WHERE Hilton Hotel Am Stadtpark Vienna Austria. Register on before July 1st and benet from the early bird registration fee. For more information contact ESA is looking forward to welcoming you in Vienna 34 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INTERNATIONAL NEWS GLOBAL SEED WATCH CHECK OUT WHATS HAPPENING IN THE GLOBAL SEED INDUSTRY FROM REGULATORY APPROVALS OF GMOS IN MOZAMBIQUE TO THE USE OF CONTRAST X-RAY IMAGING TO REVEAL STRUCTURAL AND BIOMOLECULAR DIFFERENCES IN FHB-INFECTED WHEAT. STATUS UNITED STATES University of Illinois research geneticist Ram Singh has managed to cross a popular soybean variety with a related wild perennial plant producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens. Singh works in the SoybeanMaize Germplasm Pathology and Genetics Research unit in the department of crop sciences at the University of Illinois. The unit is a division of the U.S. Department of Agricultures Agricultural Research program. Singhs collaborator Randall Nelson research lead of the ARS soybeanmaize research unit plants seeds from Singhs most promising experiments grows the plants and distributes their seeds to other scientists who screen them for desirable traits and conduct their own breeding experiments. This research has been published in the journal Theoretical and Applied Genetics. To date the effort has yielded plants that are resistant to soybean rust soybean cyst nematode or Phytophthora root rot. Soybean breeders now have access to dozens of new soybean lineages each with some of the traits of the wild Australian plants and the research continues. Source University of Illinois that the genes dominant traits enabled the transformed plants to withstand heat stress. Furthermore Lin said that the cloned gene may also be used to develop heat tolerant varieties of wheat and cruciferous vegetables such as Chinese cabbage. Source Forum on China-Africa Cooperation STATUS MOZAMBIQUE Policy breakthroughs on transgenic research in Mozambique and Tanzania have led to approval of confined field trials CFTs and a more research-friendly regulatory framework. Mozambiques CFTs will be at the Instituto de Investigao Agrria de Moambique IIAM Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique research station at Chokwe about 125 miles north of the countrys capital Maputo. Next door in Tanzania a stringent policy that was prohibitive in terms of the onerous liability it placed on researchers has been revised. What all this means is that the two countries which have been somewhat lagging behind on account of policy constraints can now more substantively engage in the Water Efficient Maize for Africa WEMA project and be more in step with other WEMA partners. Inacio Maposs II A Ms director general says that Mozambiques Ministry of Agriculture had been renamed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. This he emphasized was not just an exercise in words but also underscored the importance of projects such as WEMA. In his words In Mozambique you cannot talk about food security without talking about maize. Statistics show that 95 per cent of Mozambiques smallholders grow maize and that maize covers 40 per cent of the land devoted to annual crops. Despite the recent breakthroughs more remains to be done. In Kenya the 2012 ban on importation of genetically modified organisms is still in force. And while there has been remarkable progress STATUS URUGUAY While in Poland for the International Seed Federations 2015 World Seed Congress Pablo Civetta chair of the National Organising Com m ittee for the Ur u guaya n seed association announced that the 2016 congress will be held in Punta del Este Uruguay from 15 to 18 May 2016.. The theme of the 2016 World Seed Congress will be The Natural Way Forward in Business Life. Civetta explained that the geography of Uruguay makes it well-suited to agriculture. Known for its agribusiness about 90 per cent of the land is used for the production of grains beef milk wool wood and citrus. As such agriculture represents more than 8 per cent of Uruguays gross domestic product and 75 per cent of its total exports. In addition to the International Seed Federation the 2016 congress will be co-hosted by the Uruguayan Seed Chamber Camara Uruguaya de Semillas or CUS and the Uruguayan Breeders Association Asociacin Civil Uruguaya para la Proteccin de los Obtentores Vegetales or URUPOV. Source Seed World STATUS CHINA A team of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences led by Lin Hongxuan have successfully isolated and cloned heat tolerance genes from African rice strains which could be used to develop rice varieties that can resist the effects of global warming. According to Lin temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius decreased the productivity of rice plants. Heat stress destroys rice proteins causing the plants to wither. Under heat stress the heat tolerance gene from African rice variety is activated and gets rid of the toxic proteins that may cause death to the rice plant. The researchers have tested Asian rice varieties with the transplanted gene in field conditions. The results showed 36 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INTERNATIONAL NEWS in Tanzania and the policy is less stringent on transgenic research there is still more ground to be covered. Uganda is yet to pass the Biosafety Bill. The menace posed by the maize lethal necrosis MLN disease is a high priority given its threat to Africas food security. MLN diagnostics and management call for concerted action by all players in the maize value chain with regulatory frameworks playing a key role. CIMMYT has an open call for MLN screening for the cropping season which started at the end of May. Led by the A frican A gricultural Technology Foundation the WEMA project is now in its second phase which will end in 2017. Source International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center STATUS AUSTRALIA A fundamental question pursued by plant scientists worldwide for the past decade has been answered by a researcher team led by the University of Sydney in Australia. Our findings have major implications for our understanding of how plants adapt to the environment says Rodrigo Reis from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney and lead author of the findings published in Nature Plants. Whats more they indicate that similar processes occur in humans so the findings should be embraced by medical researchers and agricultural scientists alike. Our research provides crucial insights into how we might improve the environmental adaptation of plants including the yields of crop species he says. It also has the potential to advance gene therapies that are being researched to address aging and diseases including cancer. Although different cells and organs have exactly the same set of genes the ability of any organism to turn certain genes on or off within each cell is central to the functioning of the organism. It defines the identity of cells tissues and organs and controls responses to the environment. An important way in which this process is regulated is by tiny RNA molecules called microRNAs. Specific microRNAs control specific genes or sets of genes. The researchers discovered that the microRNA mechanism that controls whether a particular cell destroys or simply represses the mRNA molecules in plants relies on switcher genes. Now that the researchers have found the switchers it will be possible to manipulate them. Regulating the switcher mechanism should allow them to boost the capacity for environmental adaptation without interfering with development. According to the researchers this has clear applications for plants affected by climate change. Source University of Sydney STATUS CANADA Rachid Lahlali from Canadian Light Source together with a research team from the CLS National Research Council Canada University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada used the synchrotron to image both healthy and infected wheat spikes and florets to understand the development and progression of the fusarium head blight disease. FHB is a huge global problem caused by a fungus that attacks the head of the wheat plant causing the kernels to shrivel up and produce toxins. The disease affects wheat and barley crops in Canada China parts of southern Africa Eastern Europe South America and the United States. What we were trying to do using the synchrotron is to understand how the fungus infects the plant and see what changes are happening. What we found are biochemical markers at the point of where the infection begins says Lahlali. The research team used novel techniques developed at the CLS to image living wheat plants. According to Lahlali they saw the differences in the wheat infected by the fungus and experiments showed that the structures could be lost or altered and traits can be changed for the plants to become FHB resistant. Source Canadian Light Source STATUS ISRAEL An international consortium of public and private partners plans to sequence the genome of wild emmer an ancestor of modern wheat according to a report from SciDev.Net. Scientists from the group say that the nutrient-rich wheat could yield ideas to address global hunger by making modern wheat varieties healthier and hardier. Wild emmer is the progenitor of todays durum and bread wheat varieties. It was one of the first crops to be domesticated during the dawn of agriculture around 10000 years ago in the Middle East. Wild emmer wheat can be naturally crossed with domesticated wheat hence it is a potential source for wheat improvement says Assaf Distelfeld a wheat geneticist at Tel Aviv University Israel and lead researcher in the project. Sequencing wild emmer wheat could assist efforts to improve the quality and yields of modern varieties he says. For example wild emmer grain is rich in micronutrients such as iron and zinc. Transferring this trait to bread wheat could reduce malnutrition among people whose diet is based on this staple crop the scientists say. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations wheat provides roughly one-fifth of the calories eaten around the world. In addition we hope to identify genes that enable wheat to grow better in tough environments thus improving our food security Distelfeld says. The completed genome could increase opportunities for breeding programs in the developing world to address hunger which is one of the UNs proposed sustainable development goals. Source SciDev.Net STATUS GHANA The Convention Peoples Party CPP and some concerned organisations went on a peaceful march to press home their demand against Monsanto and the GMO Plant Breeders Bill in Ghana. The protest march on May 23 was to demand the withdrawal of the Plant Breeders Bill from Parliament. The groups argued that the passage of the bill into law will negatively impact on the growth of agriculture in Ghana. A leading member of the CPP professor Agyemang Badu Akosa bemoaned the use of technology to endanger the safety of crops and consequently human lives. He explained that this kind of technology might end up doing great disservice to us. You have to buy seeds every year in addition to the seeds you have to buy pesticides from the same company. And these pesticides will blight everything else except that seed. Is that the kind of agriculture that we want he asked. The general secretary of the CPP Ivor Greenstreet noted that the party will continue to push for the withdrawal of the Plant Breeders Bill from Parliament. We have been fighting for the independence of this nation and now we are fighting for the sovereignty of our seeds and our foods and also to allow the farmers to use the right seeds to feed our citizens he said. For his part the communications director of the Food Sovereignty Ghana Kweku Andoh Baffour repeated the groups pledge to fight against the passage of the Plant Breeders Bill. He however denied that the protest was contemptuous to an ongoing case in court where they are seeking an order to prevent government or any state institution to create and promote the usage of genetically modified seeds. Source Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. 38 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM REGULATORY KEEPING YOU INFORMED OF LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY CHANGES IN EUROPE AND ABROAD FROM LAWSUITS TO APPROVALS TO OTHER REGULATORY ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR BUSINESS. NATIONAL EUROPEAN COMMISSION AUTHORISES 17 GMOS FOR FOODFEED USES TWO GM CARNATIONS The European Commission adopted 10 new authorisations for Genetically Modified Organisms GMOs for foodfeed use seven renewals of existing authorisations and also the authorisation for the importation of two GMO cut flowers not for food or feed. These GMOs had gone through a full authorisation procedure including a favourable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA. The authorisation decisions do not cover cultivation. The GMOs adopted are as follows Ten new authorisations MON 87460 maise MON 87705 soybean MON 87708 soybean MON 87769 soybean 305423 soybean BPS- CV127-9 soybean MON 88302 oilseed rape T304-40 cotton MON 88913 cotton LLCotton25xGHB614 cotton Seven renewals T25 maise NK603 maise GT73 oilseed rape MON 531 x MON 1445 cotton MON 15985 cotton MON 531 cotton and MON 1445 cotton Two GM cut flowers carnations line IFD-25958-3 and line IFD- 26407-2 ESA OPPOSES RE-NATIONALISING AUTHORISATION OF GM IMPORTS In an open statement the European Seed Association ESA opposes the European Commissions move to re-nationalise the authorisation of GM food imports for processing food and feed use. Following the agreement of member states and the European Parliament to re-nationalise the authorisation of GMOs for cultivation the European Commission is taking the same approach for decisions on GMO imports such as corn and soybeans notes Garlich Von Essen ESA secretary general. EU member states would be allowed to ban these imports to their territories on so-called compelling grounds grounds that the commission itself seems unable to quite define he says. While banning the cultivation of GM crops is considered justifiable on grounds of specific landscapes town and country planning or ethical concerns criteria sufficiently vague to cover most member states future decisions the commission appears to find it difficult to find any compelling grounds for the ethical concerns of the millions of pigs hens and cows that apparently healthily and happily eat imported GM feed year after year. And of course this is not to mention the 500 million EU citizens that enjoy the resulting dairy and meat products. BREEDERS AND IP EXPERTS DEBATE GENERAL PBR APPROVE CIOPORA NEW STRATEGY CIOPORA the International Association of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Varieties hosted more than 100 plant breeders and intellectual property experts in Hamburg Germany as part of the 54th Annual General Meeting AGM April 27-30. In addition to general PBR matters AGM participants unanimously approved a strategy proposal that recommends that CIOPORA broaden its focus toward patents and biodiversity increases educational activities for members and provides assistance in enforcement activities of groups of members. NEW POLICY FOR USE OF DUS MATERIAL In the breeding sector technological advances such as the use of DNA are introduced in quick succession. These developments require amended policies regarding the ownership and use of DUS samples and the DNA of these samples during and after DUS testing. The Board for Plant Varieties has agreed to adopt a new policy regarding the use of DUS material. For some time there has been a debate surrounding the BY MARC ZIENKIEWICZ 40 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM REGULATORY use of DUS material including DNA obtained from DUS material during and after DUS testing. The issues raised include - Who owns the DUS material - Under which conditions may research stations exchange DUS material - Can DUS material also be used in Essential Derived Varieties and infringement cases in order to reinforce the Plant Breeders Rights system The policy note covers these and other questions. It is currently only available in Dutch at EFSA CALLS FOR NEONIC DATA European Food Safety Authority is asking national authorities research institutions industry and other interested parties to submit new information relevant to the evaluation of the risks posed to bees by three neonicotinoid pesticides applied as seed treatments and granules. The call for data complies with the decision taken by the European Commission in May 2013 to put in place measures to restrict the use of clothianidin thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. For example their use as a seed or soil treatment and for pre-flowering applications was prohibited on crops attractive to bees and for cereals other than winter cereals. The Commission said at the time that within two years it would initiate a review of any new scientific information. The call for data is the first step in this process. Interested parties are urged to submit information on the effects exposure and risks of the three substances as regards bees honeybees bumble bees and solitary bees when used as seed treatments and granules. INTERNATIONAL MONSANTO PLANS TO DIVEST SYNGENTA SEED DIVISION Reuters reports that Monsanto the worlds largest seed company plans to divest Syngenta Ags seeds and genetic traits businesses as well as some overlapping chemistry assets to win regulatory approval for a takeover of its Swiss rival. We intend to make this a really clean deal Monsanto president Brett Begemann said in a presentation to investors. According to Reuters he said Monsanto is confident it can address all regulatory concerns about a combination of the agrichemical and seed giants. Syngenta has rejected the 45 billion offer but Monsanto continues to pursue it. Syngentas board of directors in conjunction with its legal and financial advisers has undertaken a thorough review of all aspects of Monsantos offer and has unanimously determined to reject Monsantos proposal as it is not in the best interests of Syngenta its shareholders and its stakeholders Syngenta says in a statement. The offer fundamentally undervalues Syngentas prospects and underestimates the significant execution risks including regulatory and public scrutiny at multiple levels in many countries the company adds. Monsanto issued a follow-up statement confirming it had approached Syngenta with a private proposal to Syngentas board of directors to acquire Syngenta for 449.00 CHF per share. Monsanto believes the combined company would be uniquely positioned to deliver a comprehensive suite of integrated solutions to farmers around the world and to accelerate technological innovation through precision agriculture and advanced research and development capabilities aimed at increasing the worlds food supply in a sustainable fashion Monsanto says in its statement. USDA DISAPPOINTED WITH EPAS ANALYSIS OF NEONIC SEED TREATMENTS The United States Department of Agriculture USDA expressed disappointment regarding the Environmental Protection Agencys incomplete analysis on neonicotinoid seed treatments for soybeans and the burden its created for growers according to a statement from the American Soybean Association. In October 2014 EPAs report indicated there are no clear or consistent economic benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans a conclusion USDA said is not only false but has again put growers in a position where they must defend their pest management decisions. As a whole USDA disagrees with that assessment USDA states in a letter sent to the EPA in April. We believe that pest management strategies are made in consideration of pest pressures climate landscape and numerous other factors. USDA stressed that growers should have the ability to use the best tools available to manage pests including choice in seed treatment and pest management tactics based on what works for individual situations. GMO DEBATE REGULATORY HURDLES DISCUSSED AT SYNGENTA ANNUAL MEETING At Aprils annual general meeting of Syngenta AG board chairman Michel Demar referenced recent debates and regulatory hurdles that continue to make doing business a challenge for companies such as Syngenta. The future of our industry and of our company is still highly dependent on our license to operate in a world where we constantly face preconceived ideas and opposition about technology in agriculture Demar says. The polarised debate about pollinators and neonicotinoids in Europe and the contentious issue of the labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients in the U.S. were just two issues which gained significant coverage in the past year. Syngenta continued to be active in this debate. SOYBEAN STAKEHOLDERS MONETISE BIOTECH APPROVAL DELAYS A three-year postponement in the global approval of biotech-enhanced soybean traits any time in the next 10 years would cost farmers and consumers a total of nearly 19 billion compared with typical approval timelines according to a new white paper funded by the International Soybean Growers Alliance ISGA. This new research was released during a recent ISGA mission where farm leaders from the United States Argentina Brazil and Paraguay met with Chinese government officials and influencers to discuss the economic implications of these delays for global producers and consumers of soy. Its no secret that soy is part of a global market says Bob Haselwood United Soybean Board USB chairman and soybean farmer from Berryton Kansas. We need a coordinated effort across North America South America and China to work toward timely international approvals for new biotech traits to grow a safe reliable and abundant food supply that is profitable for both producers and consumers. Farmers in large soy-exporting countries that quickly adopt new technology the U.S. Brazil and Argentina and consumers in large importing countries China and the nations in the European Union have the most to lose from delayed approvals according to the white paper. As an example of important biotech approvals that farmers might need in the near future the study examined herbicide-tolerance traits and analysed the effects of approval delays through 2025. The white paper The Potential Economic Impacts of Delayed Biotech Innovation in Soybeans was developed in conjunction with ISGA members by researchers Nicholas Kalaitsandonakes Kenneth Sahringer and Jon Kruse at the University of Missouri. VERMONT ADOPTS GMO LABELLING LAW The Vermont Attorney Generals Office has formally adopted the regulations implementing Act 120 the law requiring the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. The rule takes effect July 1 2016. This is a process that began with the legislatures careful crafting of Act 120 says Attorney General Bill Sorrell. We are pleased at the amount of public input we received during the rule-making process from industry and consumers and are glad that with the formal adoption of this rule we are giving ample time for food manufacturers and retailers to prepare for the law to take effect in just over 14 months. The final rule provides the requirements for how the Produced with Genetic Engineering label should appear on processed food details the exemptions from the labeling requirement and contains enforcement provisions for violations of the law. Increase awareness sales and return on investment with multiple digital touch points Display Email Social Media Visit european-seed.comadvertise or call 1-877-710-3222 to speak to an account executive. Modern Advertising Solutions in a Sustainable Industry Explore the benefits of digital. 42 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INDUSTRY NEWS TAILORED TO SEED PROFESSIONALS INDUSTRY NEWS DELIVERS THE PEOPLE RESEARCH BUSINESS AND PRODUCT NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW. SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME. EMAIL US AT NEWSISSUESINK.COM. BY MARC ZIENKIEWICZ BUSINESS NEWS German seed producer KWS Saat SE increased its net sales in the first nine months of fiscal 20142015 by 6.9 per cent year on year to 777.8 million previous year 727.4 m illion. The corn and sugarbeet segments gained market share in a tough economic environment thanks to strong variety performance. In line with its long-term corporate strategy the planned expansion of its research and development and distribution activities in the first nine months resulted in higher function costs. Operating income EBIT was therefore down from the previous year at 140.1 145.8 million. Arysta LifeScience Europe recently announced a new organisational structure to leverage its scale and accelerate the companys growth in this key market. The new European management structure which is effective immediately is designed to further strengthen the companys current performance while capitalising on long-term growth opportunities. The company says it now can offer all its customers a more complete portfolio of traditional crop protection products seed treatments biological products biostimulants innovative nutrition and adjuvants. The new leadership team that will manage the Europe Business Unit includes Paul Thomson as head of Research Development Jozef Michrina as head of Marketing Guy de Froberville as head of Commercial Distribution countries and third-party relations Hildo Brilleman as head of Central and Eastern Europe Gilles Cerutti as head of Operations and Supply Chain Wim van de Wiele as chief financial officer Guilhem de Gaillard as legal counsel Ag Division Michel Bihry as head of Human Resources. Vilmorin Cie finalised the full acquisition of the company Tropdicorp. Tropdicorp is a Vietnamese family company founded in 2007 specialised in the cucurbit seeds. This site on the Vietnamese market will enable Vilmorin Cie to strengthen its facilities in Southeast Asia by penetrating the most dynamic country in the region in terms of vegetables seeds development. INDUSTRY NEWS A European program has shown that the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops is possible by applying buffer zones or different sowing dates. The segregation of GM and non-GM products in supply and processing chains depends on different factors that are analysed. Practical Implementation of Co-existence in Europe PRICE researchers have studied how implementable a nd costly these strateg ies a re for farmers agri-food supply chain operators and consumers. They found that the current measures implemented to ensure co-existence of GM and non-GM crops in the EU are practically feasible both at farm level and along the supply chain. However these measures come with additional costs which are partly paid by consumers and other supply chain stakeholders. In summary researchers said PRICE has found that coexistence of GM and non-GM products in Europe is possible under current EU legislation. The availability of non-GM soybean in the developing world the non-GM price premium the segregation costs along the supply chain and the willingness to pay by EU consumers for the non-GM attribute are crucial factors for the economic sustainability of non-GM voluntary standards in the long run. Lower thresholds or other stricter measures would cause difficulties for the supply of non-GM feedstock. Receptors carrying built-in decoys are the latest discovery in the evolutionary battle between plants and pathogens. Decoy domains within the receptor detect pathogens and raise the cells alarm when there is an infection. Plants display 44 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INDUSTRY NEWS component parts of their immune system on receptors to trick pathogens into binding with them which then triggers defence mechanisms. The discovery comes from Professor Jonathan Jones group at The Sainsbury Laboratory in the United Kingdom published in the high-impact journal Cell with a companion paper on a similar discovery from the Deslandes group in Toulouse. Researchers hope the discovery could lead to bioengineering new receptors carrying decoys to perceive and trigger a defence to virtually any pathogen. The International Bremia Evaluation Board has officially designated a new race of downy mildew in lettuce Bl32. This isolate was already known but has now become much more widespread in Europe according to research by the IBEB into the bremia isolates identified in 2014 and earlier. Most outbreaks of bremia caused by these new isolates have only local consequences. In recent years however Bl32 has been identi f ied i n Fra nce Ger ma ny T he Netherlands the United Kingdom Austria Switzerland and Belgium and it has recently also spread to Portugal and northern Spain. A veterinarian-turned-law yer shared insights about communicating science and technological advancements with the general public during the Breeders Committee meeting at the International Seed Federations 2015 World Seed Congress in Krakw Poland. Seed breeding provokes a conflict in values and faces romanticism said Jan Staman who serves as managing director for the Rathenau Instituut in The Netherlands. The Rathenau Instituut promotes the formation of political and public opinion on science and technology. As part of his presentation he encouraged the seed industry to check how disconnected it is from society. Staman also noted that many new technologies have the ability to make more of a positive impact which outweighs the possible risks posed. From his perspective the industry has done a good job of talking about the benefits of new technologies however it has failed to talk about how these new technologies will totally change society. While in Poland for the International Seed Federations 2015 World Seed Congress Pablo Civetta chair of the National Organising Committee for the Uruguayan Seed Association announced that the 2016 Congress will be held in Punta del Este Uruguay from 15 to 18 May 2016. The theme of the 2016 World Seed Congress will be The Natural Way Forward in Business Life. Civetta explained that the geography of Uruguay makes it well suited to agriculture. Known for its agribusiness about 90 per cent of the land is used for the production of grains beef milk wool wood and citrus. As such agriculture represents more than 8 per cent of Uruguays gross domestic product and 75 per cent of its total exports. In addition to the International Seed Federation the 2016 congress will be co-hosted by the Uruguayan Seed Chamber and the Uruguayan Breeders Association. European researchers and companies concer ned w it h t he pot ato d i sea se phytophthora will work more closely with parties in other parts of the world. The first move was made during the biennial meeting of the European network EuroBlight held in Romania in May. Colleagues from North America South America and Asia were also invited. They are very interested in our approach the way we analyse the genetic variation in the field for example says Huub Schepers phytophthora specialist at Wa gen i n gen Un iver sit y i n T he Netherlands and one of the driving forces behind EuroBlight. Conversely we can learn a lot from them. The more we know about this pathogen the more we can do to devise a comprehensive strategy. International Seed Federation secretary general Michael Keller called for change during his first speech to the delegates of the 2015 World Seed Congress in Krakw Poland on May 25. ISF is changing and we changed a lot this year Keller said. Young and new people arrived but weve also kept the expertise and thats important. He emphasised that its important to be proud of the work done by predecessors throughout the federations 90 years of work. Keller asked participants if they knew what that meant. Its 90 years of life together 90 years of promoting your interests he said. Its about the movement of seed growing cleaning conditioning and marketing. Seed is moving around the world which he illustrated by showing a map that one might initially think of as a global airline flight map. This is not an airline flight map this is a map of seed movement today he explained. Welcome to the 21st century where we have more efficient breeding an increased number of tools increased political decisions as well as trade and market issues Keller said. We have a lot of challenges but the role of ISF is to turn these challenges into opportunities. Keller emphasised the need for a common vision regardless of company size geographic region or seed sector. A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States has identified a set of genes that control stem cell production in tomato. Mutations in these genes explain the origin of mammoth beefsteak tomatoes. More important the research suggests how breeders can fine- tune fruit size in potentially any fruit- bearing crop. The research appears online in Nature Genetics. In its original wild form the tomato plant produces tiny berry-sized fruits yet among the first tomatoes brought to Europe from Mexico by conquistador Hernan Cortez in the early 16th century were the huge beefsteaks. Producing fruits that often weigh in at over a pound this variety has long been understood to be a freak of nature but only now do we know how it came to be. A new study from North Carolina State University and Clemson University finds that the toxin in a widely used genetically modified GM crop is having little impact on the crop pest called corn earworm Helicoverpa zea which is consistent with predictions made almost 20 years ago. The study may be a signal to pay closer attention to warning signs about the development of resistance in agricultural pests to GM crops. At issue is genetically engineered corn that produces a Bacillus thuringiensis Bt protein which in turn produces a toxin called Cry1Ab. This GM corn was originally designed to address a pest called the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis and went on the market in 1996. Ragweed is an invasive plant from North America with highly allergenic pollen that is spreading northwards from Central Europe. Currently instances when ragweed pollen loads across the United Kingdom are high enough to result in hay fever symptoms are rare. But can we expect these events to become more frequent and severe in the future in response to climate change Rothamsted Research scientists worked with a large team across Europe as part of project funded by the European Union ATOPICA to predict how the extent and magnitude of the ragweed pollen cloud may change by the middle of the century. Even without climate change a small increased risk from higher pollen loads in Northern Europe was predicted as the plant continues to fill available habitats. The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 45 Scientists from IBM Research in partnership with Australian researchers have moved a step closer to identifying the nanostructure of cellulose the basic structural component of plant cell walls. Tapping into the IBM Blue GeneQ supercomputer at the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative VLSCI researchers have been able to model the structure and dynamics of cellulose at the molecular level. The insights could pave the way for more disease-resistant varieties of crops and increase the sustainability of the pulp paper and fibre industry one of the main users of cellulose. The work which was described in a recent scientific paper published in Plant Physiology represents a significant step towards our understanding of cellulose biosynthesis and how plant cell walls assemble and function. The research is part of a longer-term program to develop a 3D computer-simulated model of the entire plant wall. PEOPLE NEWS Douwe Zijp chief executive officer for Incotec Group has been elected to the board of directors of the International Seed Federation ISF by the general assembly which took place during the federations annual seed congress on 25 to 27 May in Krakw Poland. The International Seed Federation represents the seed industry at a global level and participates in several intergovernmental organisations. Its aim is to facilitate the international movement of seed and defend the general interest of the seed industry. In his role as board member Zijp will actively participate in the effort to achieve these goals. Zijp has been working in the agricultural industry for more than 25 years including his present positon as CEO of Incotec Group market leader in seed enhancement technology and his previous position as CEO of seed producer Nunhems. PRODUCT NEWS Wageningen University Greenhouse Horticulture in The Netherlands has developed a new model to quickly measure the flavour level of galia melons. The model was developed in cooperation with a consortium of breeders Enza Zaden Seminis Sakata Bayer CropScience and importer HillFresh. Based certain parameters the model quickly predicts the flavour of galia melons as perceived by consumers. T h e U n i t e d K i n g d o ms 2 015 2 016 Recommended Grass and Clover Lists RGCL have been updated with 10 new ryegrass varieties. Only grasses and clovers that have undergone at least four years of independent testing are included in the lists. They offer grassland farmers an invaluable resource enabling them to select varieties that will perform well in a particular system. For a variety to make the RGCL they have been rigorously tested for factors such as yield feed quality disease and persistence said EBLEX livestock scientist Liz Genever. The full lists for merchants will be available to download at and www.britishgrassland.comrgcl. Ceres Inc. an agricultural biotechnology company announces that the company has licensed its Persephone bioinformatics software to global seed potato developer HZPC Holland BV. The software license agreement provides a non-exclusive license europeanseed VISIT US ONLINE With tailored seed-focused content European Seed will offer specialised media that will provide unparalleled value to the industry our readers and our advertisers. Our content is comprised of far more than just articles its a total package that fuses current issues with compelling analysis in addition to an array of digital offerings that take our audience to the heart of the stories that matter. Both the seed industry and world of communications are changing at a rapid pace and thats why European Seed is committed to being a multifaceted media platform web magazine mobile and video provide multiple channels through which to consume practical information ideas and solutions that matter to your business. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM europeanseed europeanseed europeanseed europeanseed europeanseed europeanseed to HZPC as well as professional support ser v ices. H ZPC i s t he most recent multinational life sciences company to adopt Persephone as its primary genome browser. Originally developed for in-house use by Ceres the Persephone software allows researchers to store access and explore DNA databases in much the same way online mapping programs allow users to explore geographic regions and locations. WEB AND APP NEWS The Danish product catalogue for cut flowers often known internationally as the Dutch flower catalogue will soon be available in a digital version. Smartphone- equ ipped f lorists can dow n load the catalogue as an app. The aim of the cut flower catalogue is to support and facilitate the international trade and sale of ornamental flower and plant products. The Flower Council of Holland stopped producing the product catalogues for cut flowers pot plants and outdoor plants in 2013 as a result of a policy change following a re-organisation. TO SUBMIT YOUR INDUSTRY NEWS SEND YOUR PRESS RELEASES TO NEWSISSUESINK.COM 46 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EXTRAS GET INVOLVED IN EUROPEAN BIOTECH WEEK 2015 European Biotech Week is an opportunity for all supporters of biotechnology to develop events activities and initiatives that improve dialogue on and increase understanding of this amazing technology and the benefits it offers society. The third annual event will take place from 12 October to 18 October 2015 across European countries. For inspiration about activities to run in 2015 please find out more about what happened during the previous editions browsing the interactive map of Europe available on EuropaBio and its member national associations and companies encourage all biotech supporters to organise initiatives and events both large and small right across Europe throughout the week. National associations companies academic and government institutions science museums and the media as well as other biotech stakeholders can promote their activities on by contacting and all will be featured in a post-week magazine distributed both online and on paper. PLANT BREEDERS WITHOUT BORDERS PILOT PROJECT Plant Breeders Without Borders is the concept of Anthony Leddin an Australian plant breeder who has a keen interest in aid development. Ive been so fortunate and lucky to become a plant breeder Leddin says. Now it is time to help in regions of the world that are not as fortunate. Leddin is very proud that Plant Breeders Without Borders debuted its first pilot project in Ethiopia in February 2015. In partner- ship with the International Livestock Research Institute in Addis Abba the project focuses on improving forages for small livestock holders. Plant breeders have been very positive toward Plant Breeders Without Borders and want to volunteer Leddin says. There is great interest from breeders who have been exposed to regions with poor agricultural areas they know what it is like to see hunger. Today Leddin is looking for champions in different regions of the world. These champions will help promote the importance of plant breeding and further the reach of the program. I have four universities in Australia that are interested in the undergraduate mentoring program Leddin says noting that the uni- versities are willing to provide funding to get the students on site. He also has government and non-government organisations interested in funding travel costs for plant breeders who sign up to work on Plant Breeders Without Borders projects. Additionally Crops for the Future which is dedicated to the development of neglected and under-utilised plant species has agreed to help Leddin determine and identify locations and plant species where a Plant Breeders Without Borders project can yield meaningful results. Other organisations Leddin hopes to bring on board include the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Australia Business Volunteers The Crawford Fund and The Noble Foundation.Leddin and participants from PBWoB pilot project in Ethiopia. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 47 CALENDAR OF EVENTS 11 October to 13 October 2015 European Seed Association Annual Meeting Vienna Austria EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 47 UPCOMING EVENTS CONFERENCES AND TRADE SHOWS IN YOUR REGION AND AROUND THE WORLD. SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME. EMAIL US AT NEWSISSUESINK.COM. 24 August to 27 August 2015 International Plant Protection Congress 2015 Berlin Germany 1 May 2015 to 31 October 2015 World Expo 2015 Feeding the Planet Energy for Life Milan Italy 9 November to 12 November 2015 23 November to 26 November 2015 ISTA Workshop on Seed Sampling and Quality Assurance in Seed Sampling Johannesburg South Africa 12 October to 18 October 2015 European Biotech Week 21 September to 23 September 2015 International Conference on Plant Biology San Antonio Texas United States 9 September to 10 September 2015 Seed Congress of the Americas Cancun Mexico 48 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM GIANT VIEWS THE VULGAR ACT OF VILIFYING FARMERS BY THE RISK MONGER The Risk-Monger left in his early risk management days. hile out driving in the Belgian countryside recently I was stuck in traffic behind a large tractor whose driver was manoeuvring his vehicle on narrow roads during planting season. While I marvelled at the equipment growing up on a farm I learned to drive a Massey Ferguson at the age of 11 my friend who was with me was cursing the farmer. Where did this hatred come from More and more environmental activists by and large cosmopolitan zealots have turned the focus of their confrontational communication strategies away from industry and onto those who grow the food we eat. Conventional farmers who use seed technology synthetic fertilisers and pesticides have been brandished by some as industrial agriculture portrayed as an evil profession that pollutes the planet for profit and does not care about our well-being. In this simplistic black and white view of the world these farmers apparently stand in contrast to the romantic vision of the organic farmer men and women who love the land and care for consumer health communally living off the land and bringing their products to local markets. This fits the environmental activists stance against agri-sciences solutions to meet the food needs of a growing and increasingly affluent global population. In this view the solution is that we can all farm out of our urban window boxes and roof gardens and put an end to conventional industrial farmers who are choking the planet and poisoning the land not to mention blocking traffic. Some examples of these perceptions are Activist documentaries like Food Inc. or Dirt The Movie present an image that vilifies farming as a profit-driven weapon of industrialisation that has saturated the planet mistreated animals and destroyed human health. Neo-Malthusian groups like Friends of the Earth present a portrait of conventional industrial agriculture as a diseased patient whose prospects are bleak unless we perform radical surgery. Activist scientists like Dave Goulson portray farmers as stupid and misinformed arguing that they use pesticides without thinking unaware that they do not work. In this view farmers are systematically killing all of the bees and hence shortly all of humanity therefore farmers need educating Californians criticise agriculture for sucking the states water table dry during the present drought leaving them with little to water their lawns and golf courses. Boycotts of almonds have even been arranged to try to stop farmers. In this view these farms also apparently encourage the inflow of illegal immigrants. In the European Union it is widely perceived that farmers do not actually have to grow anything and they live merely on subsidies. In this view the EU Common Agricultural Policy pays these farmers to represent a heritage. The romanticisation of the organic farmer as some rustic saint from an eco-religion that pines for the good ole days has grown with the viral power of social media repeated regularly within like- minded thought silos. While sickeningly naive and potentially catastrophic to conditions for food security with a growing population we need to be aware that the growing pressure on farmers to adapt 18th century farming practices runs the risk of either destroying the farming profession or public trust. What does a farmer need to turn a seed into sustenance First a reliable seed technology is necessary. Water is essential as is warmth. The land needs nutrients which the plant extracts and passes to the consumer. The farmer also needs tools to protect the crop from pests and other natural obstacles. Most importantly farming is a labour of love. The environmental activists are trying to block seed technology limit irrigation restrict fertilisers and ban the most effective pesticides. While they may think that farmers can feed the world on the basis of love alone this is just unrealistic. The vulgarity of vilifying farmers is that the social media communications success of these naive idealists is hurting the means of putting food on our plates. Editors Note David Zaruk is the Risk Monger. He is an EU risk and science communications specialist and assistant professor adjunct at the Facults Universitaires Saint-Louis. You can read more of his thoughts online at www.facebook.comriskmonger and W We need to be aware that the growing pressure on farmers to adapt 18th century farming practices runs the risk of either destroying the farming profession or public trust.