• RESEARCHERS at North Carolina State University may have found a new way to protect crops from pests. New Scientist reports that electric shocks given to single tomato leaves triggered the production of natural insecticides throughout the plants.
• THE National Malting Barley Competition for England and Wales has been won by a sample of Cooper grown by A Garton & Sons of Tarbock, near Liverpool.
The general quality of more than 100 entries was said to be just moderate, reflecting the poor season.
• TERRA Industries of Sioux City, Iowa, is buying ICIs UK-based fertiliser business for £200m. The deal includes ICIs ammonia, nitric acid, sodium nitrate and liquid carbon dioxide assets in Billingham on Teesside and Severnside near Bristol. The UK business will be renamed Terra Nitrogen UK.
The ICI purchase is Terras first expansion outside the US. The $2.3bn turnover company specialises in fertiliser, crop protection products and seeds.
• REGISTRATION has been granted to two new products – the cereal fungicide, Unix and cereal seed treatment Evict.
Unix contains new chemistry – cyprodinil – and provides broad spectrum disease control in wheat and barley, says Novartis.
Evict, from Zeneca, is based on the active ingredient in Force – tefluthrin – and gives control of wheat bulb fly and wireworm.
• GERMANYS Social Democratic party, which recently dropped its opposition to genetics in agriculture, has advised the Green party to follow suit. This, reports European Chemical News, is as a prerequisite for a potential coalition government following 1998 parliamentary elections.
• THE HGCA has moved – to Caledonia House, 223 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NG. Tel 0171 520 3920.
Next year sees its listening panel initiative, intended to gauge what information levy payers need and how theyd like to receive it. Copies of the 1996/97 Annual Report, which reports individual department activities for the first time, are available from the new address.
• YET another acquisition by one of the Big Four. This time Deere & Company has reached an agreement to acquire Dutch sprayer manufacturer Douven.
• THE HGCAs annual grain haulage survey shows that the basic haulage rate in Great Britain has risen by about 3% over 1996. The average is £4.12 for a 25 mile journey, or £5.87/t for 75 miles.
• CONGRATULATIONS to Philip Croucher of Allied Mills at Ely, who earns the 1997 Transport and Distribution Manager of the Year title against strong competition from professionals from all walks of the transport business.
• GROWERS who can demonstrate attention to detail are invited to enter the Nitram Award for best fertiliser practice, which aims to reward the most efficient and profitable use of fertilisers on arable crops. Presented by ICI Fertilizers, in conjunction with the NFU, FWAG and Farmers Weekly, a national winner will receive £3,000, to be spent on an environmental project. Call Judith Robinson on 01642 437754 for an entry form.
• THE BAA, together with LEAF, FWAG, the RSPB, and the Game Conservancy Trust, has produced a practical 90 page book, Arable Wildlife: Protecting Non-target Species. Information is presented from three standpoints – different habitats on the farm, different crops using a crop calendar of the seasons and by individual species or groups of species. It costs £7.50, including p&p, from the BAA.
• THE Advisory Committee on Pesticides reports that the number of deliberate, illegal attempts to poison animals in 1996 increased by 20% over the previous year, to 114 incidents. Suspected incidents of poisoning of animals by pesticides should by reported on a free phone number 0800 321600.
• RHONE-Poulenc has filed a lawsuit in the US against Monsanto and DeKalb which seeks to establish its ownership of their Roundup Ready maize seed technology.
• THE IPU UK Task Force – the group established by three major agrochemical companies to promote the responsible use of pesticides – has published a waterproof poster highlighting guidelines to keep pesticides out of watercourses. Available from agrochemical suppliers, the poster is intended to be displayed in farm chemical stores.