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Patent to keep hives bumblebee-friendly

By Staff | Apr 23, 2015

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands (KBS) – Koppert Biological Systems was awarded a patent for its Natupol Booster on the Dutch market at the beginning of November 2014.

By using a different material, the company has succeeded in preventing damage resulting from gnawing by bumblebees.

The new design also uses 85 percent less environmentally damaging plastic than previous versions.

This makes Natupol Booster, a product that Koppert has invested years of research into, environmentally friendly and reduces the waste stream.

The new hive ensures natural, safe and extremely effective pollination. It has rapidly become a success in many countries.

Koppert designed the Natupol Booster especially for the cultivation of short flowering crops, those with a maximum flowering period of one month.

The existing hives for outdoor crops last much longer. Koppert believes its Natupol Booster offers the ideal mix of practicality, efficiency and cost cost.

In line with Koppert’s new vision which was launched in 2014, Koppert has invested years of research into an alternative to the conventional plastic hives, able to withstand bumblebees’ jaws. For the Natupol Booster, many years were spent searching for a new construction material.

Tests conducted with materials such as cardboard, natural and synthetic fibres, plastic, bioplastics, and polystyrene produced inadequate results.

The first breakthrough came at the start of 2011 with an innovation that has been optimized and tested in the years that have followed.

Much less plastic

Based on paper fibres, Koppert has now developed a specially treated material that can withstand bumblebees’ jaws.

This new material and the production procedure form the basis for the Dutch patent granted in November 2014. A European patent, patents for the United States of America and a number of other countries outside Europe are expected to be issued in 2015.

Thanks to the newly found construction and packaging material, Koppert can produce Natupol Booster using 85 percent less plastic. This makes the product very environmentally friendly and reduces the waste stream. On the basis of the new hive and Koppert’s mission to be “Partners with Nature”, the company is continuing to work on more sustainable and effective packaging solutions.

Major sales success

Koppert introduced the Natupol Booster at the SIVAL trade fair in Angers, France, at the beginning of 2014. The hive rapidly became a major international sales success. Natupol Booster holds multiple specially prepared bumblebee colonies that boost pollination. In the current, dynamic market, efficient pollination and a reliable supply of high-quality pollinators are becoming more and more important. Efficient, stable pollination is the basis for high-quality production, particularly in difficult growing seasons when market prices are rising. Furthermore, the new hive is well insulated, but with additional ventilation it is also suited to areas with warmer climates. This allows the bumblebee population to perform for longer.

The product can also be used in combination with Natupol and Tripol in order to boost pollination in crops that flower for longer during peak periods. The Natupol Booster is used in crops such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, sweet cherries, sour cherries, watermelons, avocados, kiwis, pumpkins, apple varieties, pear varieties, seed-producing crops, and fodder crops such as clover and alfalfa.

Can corn carryout reach 2 billion bushels?

Economist: Almost certainly

URBANA, Ill. (University of Illinois) – The last time the United States ended a marketing year with more than 2 billion bushels of corn was 2004-05.

Then, the old-era marketing-year average corn price was $2.06 per bushel.

According to John Newton, a University of Illinois agricultural economist, while new-era corn prices have experienced record highs, those high prices have been reduced on the back of record corn production in 2014.

Now, followed by weaker-than-anticipated, first-half implied feed and residual use of corn, some expect the 2014-15 marketing-year ending stocks of corn to be within reach of 2 billion bushels.

Recent trade guesses for 2014-15 marketing year, corn-ending stocks averaged 1.85 billion bushels, and ranged from 1.75 to 1.99 bb.

“On the bright side, with respect to both old- and new-crop grain prices, the consumption levels needed to reach a 2-billion-bushel carryout result in a stocks-to-use ratio of only 14.8 percent,” Newton said.

“Based on a recent price and stocks-to-use analysis, the implied corn price associated with a 2-billion-bushel carryout may be consistent with the current marketing-year projection of $3.70 per bushel.

“The cause for concern is the price implications associated with a potentially big crop in 2015 given anticipations for a large carryout in 2014-15,” Newton said. “March intentions revealed expectations for 89.2 million acres of corn planted in 2015.

“If stocks come in above current projections, a larger-than-projected corn yield with marginally lower corn consumption would combine to push corn prices in 2015-16 to prices below those currently experienced.”

Based on the March 31 Grain Stocks report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, feed and residual use for the first half of the marketing year was 3.64 bb.

This total represents 69 percent of the USDA’s marketing-year projection of 5.25 bb.

The April 13 USDA Feed Outlook will provide revised estimates of feed and residual use.

In previous years, the percent of first-half feed and residual use has varied from 64 percent during 1996-97 to as high as 74 percent during the most recent marketing years.

Applying these historical percentages to the implied first-half feed and residual use suggests a wide range for the 2014-15 marketing year between 4.9 and 5.7 bb.

“It is no coincidence that following the March 1 stocks report the average trade guess for corn-ending stocks fell within a 250-million bushel range,” Newton said.

He said a similar situation emerged last year following the March 1 report.

At the time, the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report projection for 2013-14 feed and residual use was 5.3 bb and first-half feed use was 3.76 bb, approximately 71 percent of the WASDE projection.

Ultimately, feed and residual use declined to 5 bb, with first-half use representing 75 percent of the marketing-year total.

“It is possible that a similar situation is emerging and feed and residual use could be revised downward as the marketing year continues,” Newton said. “However, at this point, there is no evidence to suggest an overly bearish or bullish perspective on feed and residual use.

“Recent expansion in livestock supports higher feed use than last year, and the USDA projection of 5.25 bb represents a midpoint of possible outcomes.”

With respect to exports, Newton said the April 9 WASDE projections have 2014-15 corn exports at 1.8 bb.

USDA’s April 6 Federal Grain Inspection Service report indicated that as of the week of April 2, cumulative corn exports for the 2014-15 marketing year totaled 917 million bushels.

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Trade System census data through February 2015 indicate that corn exports totaled 810 million bushels and were 65 million bushels higher than the FGIS inspection numbers through February.

Newton said that, assuming this pace continues, corn exports through February may be as high as 982 million bushels, representing approximately 55 percent of the projected WASDE total.

In addition to corn already exported, the April 9 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Export Sales Report revealed 566 million bushels of outstanding corn export sales.

Combining the outstanding sales with the implied export volume, sales remain 252 million bushels short of the WASDE projection.

“With nearly 60 percent of the marketing year in the books,” Newton said, “corn exports need to accelerate in order to reach the 1.8 bb WASDE projection.

“The current slow pace suggests that corn exports could fall marginally short of the WASDE goal.

“Combining first-quarter feed outlook estimates of corn use for ethanol with the USDA April 1 Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report suggests first-half corn use for ethanol at 2.58 bb,” Newton said. “This total represents approximately 50 percent of the WASDE projection for the 2014-15 marketing year.

“Additionally, Energy Information Administration ethanol plant production data show marketing-year total ethanol production of 8.6 billion gallons through the week ending April 3.

“This total is 5 percent above prior-year ethanol production levels. While some may point to a slowdown in corn use for ethanol in recent months based on crush data, this slowdown could be attributable to seasonal ethanol-yield variations.”

Newton said the pace of corn consumption for ethanol, exports and feed and residual use is supportive of current WASDE projections.

“A 2-billion-bushel carryout seems like a distant, and unlikely, outcome given current consumption indicators. USDA’s June 30 stocks report should provide additional clarity on the ongoing pace of corn consumption.”eric scientist and climate change evangelist will speak at 7 p.m. April 22 at Iowa State University.

Hayhoe will present “Climate Urgency and How Iowa Farmers and Businesses Can Take the Lead” in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Her talk is free and open to the public.

Hayhoe directs the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University and is founder and CEO of ATMOS Research, a climate change consultancy. Her research focuses on developing and applying high resolution climate projections to evaluate the future impacts of climate change on society and the environment.

She also is a science adviser to Showtime’s Emmy award-winning documentary series “The Years of Living Dangerously,” which featured her work in the first episode.

In 2014, Time magazine named Hayhoe one of the 100 most influential people of the year.

Writing about Hayhoe for the Time article, actor Don Cheadle (who worked with her on the documentary series) said, “As a climate change evangelist, Katharine believes her religious faith obligates her to spread the word about climate change.”

Hayhoe has authored more than 100 research publications and served as lead author on key reports for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National Academy of Sciences. With her husband Andrew Farley, a professor of applied linguistics and a pastor, she wrote “A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions.”

She is a scientific adviser to Citizen’s Climate Lobby, EcoAmerica, the Energy and Enterprise Initiative and the Evangelical Environmental Network.

Her work has also been featured on the PBS documentary “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers.” Hayhoe earned master’s and doctoral degrees in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

More information on ISU lectures is available at www.lectures.iastate.edu, or by calling (515) 294-9935.

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