Roundup Lawsuit Judge Trims $200 Million from Jury Award
A California judge recently reduced damages awarded in a lawsuit linking Roundup to cancer; however, she still upheld the jury’s findings that Bayer acted with malice, Dow Jones reports. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos reduced the original punitive damages from $250 million to $39.25 million and left the $39.25 million compensatory damages unchanged.
Bayer provided the following statement to Farm Journal:
“The Court’s decision to reduce the punitive damage award by more than $200 million is a step in the right direction, but we continue to believe that the liability verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial or the law and plan to file an appeal with the California Court of Appeal. There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous registration studies required by EPA, European and other regulators, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed.”
Dow Jones reports Bayer’s shares are trading 7% lower since the ruling. Bayer still faces more than 8,700 Roundup related claims.
New Fungicide From Corteva Agriscience
Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont, announced a new novel fungicide to be named Advelt. The company anticipates launching product formulations globally with their first registrations planned for 2023 in Asia Pacific, pending regulatory review.
This is the first active ingredient from the combined R&D pipeline of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer. It’s a synthetic neopicolinamide fungicide with “favorable” regulatory, toxicological and environmental profile.
Corteva highlights these features of the product:
- Controls an assortment of pathogens, including septoria spp, powdery mildews, botrytis spp, anthracnose, alternaria, scab and monilinia
- Provides pathogen control for many crops, including cereals, vines, fruits, nuts and vegetables
- Application options span multiple growth stages
- Protects the plant to provide both yield and quality.
GMO Seed Dominates Corn, Cotton And Soy Acres
This year, farmers dedicated more than 90% of soybean, corn and cotton acres to bioengineered seeds. Most were herbicide tolerant (HT), insect resistant (Bt) or a stack of both, according to USDA.
Here are highlights from USDA’s findings (note, percentages might add up to more than 100% because of stacked trait packages):
- HT soybeans rose from 7% of soybean acres in 1996 to their plateau at 94% in 2014.
- HT cotton rose from 2% of cotton acres in 1996 to a peak of 91% in 2014.
- HT corn grew slowly from 1% of corn acres in 1996 to 82% in 2018.
- Bt corn grew from 1% of corn acres in 1996 to 82% in 2018.
- Bt cotton expanded from 15% of cotton acres in 1996 to 85% in 2018.
Discovery Puts Scientists One Step Closer to SCN Control
Iowa State University (ISU) researchers have discovered the mechanism that gives soybean cyst nematode (SCN) power over plants. This discovery doesn’t mean the pest is beaten, but it does put scientists in a better position to find long-term control methods.
For background: SCN is a sedentary parasite—it doesn’t move throughout a plant. Instead, it stays put and attacks the plant by feeding off the cells that surround it for the lifespan of the nematode and the plant. To do this, the nematode reprograms infected cells into a feeding structure that provides them with nourishment while still keeping the plant alive. If the plant dies, so do the nematodes, so this reprogramming is essential for their survival.
Since 2006, about 97% of all soybeans with SCN resistance used the PI 88788 mechanism—and it’s starting to fail. In addition, fewer companies are selling resistant varieties, so research into new solutions is critical.
Farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio need to be especially mindful of resistance, as SCN has been a long-standing pest in those states.
Bayer and Pivot Bio Collaborate
Pivot Bio and Bayer recently announced a collaboration that focuses on developing a new soybean inoculant. The new technology will use Bradyrhizobium strains with enhanced nitrogen production to improve soybean yield and quality.
Field testing the first microbes could begin as early as 2021.
FMC Introduces Ethos 3D System
FMC announced it will launch Ethos 3D insecticide/fungicide formulated for 3RIVE 3D, an in-furrow application system that uses low-volume applications.
Ethos 3D provides seedling insect and disease control for corn, soybeans, dry beans and peas. A combination of bifenthrin insecticide with a biofungicide can protect against damping off diseases such as pythium, phytophthora, fusarium and rhizoctonia. It also controls wireworms, grubs, seedcorn maggots and corn rootworms.
Ag Tech Firm Inari Plans to Introduce Seed Faster
After its launch in July, ag tech firm Inari has a vision to develop seeds in one-third of the standard time and at 10% of the current cost.
The Massachusetts-based company will be opening its next strategic location at Purdue Research Park and launching what they are calling the world’s first seed foundry—providing a shorter, lower-cost and more precise product development cycle.
The company says the seed foundry provides a product development process that brings back the genetic diversity that will allow the crops to be more resilient to climate change and more respectful to the environment. Inari specializes in using technologies to greatly compress development time.
U.S. Farmers Add 460 Certified Organic Farms
Organic production jumped by 2% to about 6.5 million harvested acres in 2018. In addition, the number of organic farms increased 3% to a total of 17,648 in the U.S., according to research from Mercaris, a data service company.