NEWS BITES THAT MATTER
New Canadian Wheat Alliance
The Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan have announced the creation of a new Canadian Wheat Alliance (CWA). This initiative will coordinate research and development projects to improve the yield of Canadian wheat by reducing losses under extreme weather conditions such as drought, heat, cold and diseases.
The Canadian Wheat Alliance will invest approximately $97 million over the first five years of this initiative to support research to improve the profitability of the Canadian wheat industry, advance the development of Canada’s wheat crops, and help ensure the global competitiveness of Canadian farmers. The Alliance will also study ways to more efficiently use chemical fertilizers to help improve the environmental sustainability of Canadian wheat. •
Local control for renewable energy development
Ontario is increasing local control over future renewable energy projects to support municipalities and secure the province’s clean energy future.
Working with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and municipalities, the province will develop a competitive procurement process for renewable projects over 500 kilowatts (kW). The new process will replace the existing large project stream of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program and better meet the needs of communities. It will require energy planners and developers to work directly with municipalities to identify appropriate locations and site requirements for any future large renewable energy project.
To further strengthen municipal participation and support communities, Ontario will:
- Revise the Small FIT program rules for projects between 10 and 500 kW to give priority to projects partnered or led by municipalities.
- Work with municipalities to determine a property tax rate increase for wind turbine towers.
- Provide funding to help small and medium-sized municipalities develop Municipal Energy Plans – which will focus on increasing conservation and helping to identify the best energy infrastructure options for a community.
Ontario is also renewing its commitment to small renewable energy projects by making 900 megawatts (MW) of new capacity available, between now and 2018, for the Small FIT and microFIT programs. This fall, the OPA will open a new procurement window for both programs, and starting in 2014, annual procurement targets will be set at 150 MW for Small FIT and 50 MW for microFIT. These measures are expected to create 6,400 jobs and produce enough electricity each year for more than 125,000 homes. •
Bayer CropScience announces intention to construct a state-of-the-art facility for glufosinate-ammonium herbicide
In keeping with its global commitment to sustainable agriculture, Bayer CropScience announced in mid-May its intention to pursue plans to construct a world-scale glufosinate-ammonium herbicide production plant in the United States near Mobile, Alabama. The new facility will contribute significantly to the company’s target of more than doubling global production capacity for this important active ingredient. The start-up of the new plant is anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2015, in time for the 2016 growing season. Discussions with the local authorities in Alabama are progressing well, and Bayer CropScience is confident that it will be able to initiate the next planning steps for the new facility soon.
“In planning this facility, we are responding to urgent calls by farmers and agronomists for an alternative weed control technology to help combat the increasing problem of weed resistance to glyphosate-based products,” said Liam Condon, Bayer CropScience CEO. “The use of glufosinate-ammonium, marketed as Liberty™ herbicide and used with LibertyLink™ seed, continues to grow as farmers experience the powerful performance benefits of this unique system for nonselective control of grass and broadleaf weeds. The rotation of crops, herbicide tolerant traits and herbicidal modes of action are important elements of a sustainable cropping approach,” he emphasized.
Bayer CropScience currently manufactures Liberty™ herbicide at production plants in Frankfurt, Germany, and Muskegon, Michigan, but the projected demand by farmers for the product is expected to outpace the existing production capacity. •