Monday, December 22, 2008

DJ CBOT Corn Review: Up Slightly Amid Pre-Holiday Positioning

CHICAGO, Dec 22, 2008 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) --

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures inched slightly higher Monday in light, pre-holiday trade, with weak demand limiting any bullish sentiment, analysts said.
March corn ended up 1 cent to $3.81 3/4, May corn was up 1 cent to $34.92 and July corn settled up 1 1/2 cents to $4.02 1/2 per bushel.

Prices had been a couple cents lower for most of the day before mounting a mild rally late. The market tends to gain in the days leading up to Christmas and the day after, and some traders "will try to pick up on some of these statistical tendencies to try and pick up a few pennies here and there," said Arlan Suderman, analyst for Farm Futures.

Some analysts said China's reported purchase of 20 million metric tons of corn was likely supportive, although not a clear factor in Monday's trade. Analysts questioned its long-term impact.

"It seems like the higher Chinese market is what gave it its support on the open," said Chad Henderson, analyst for Prime Ag Consultants. "But when the dust settles on it all, it just looks like they're trying to support their domestic prices. It does nothing to alleviate the glut of grain on the world market."

After climbing $1 from its recent low, lingering weak demand has kept corn from climbing any higher, analysts added. Demand in exports, ethanol and feed is all weak, they said.

You have the corn farmers saying 'man, I don't want to give my corn away at $3.50 cash,' and you've got the hog farmers saying 'look, I'm losing money on $3.50 corn,'" Henderson said.

Volume is expected to be light all week because of the Christmas holiday.
The trade continues to eye weather in South America, which some analysts say is supportive because of dry crops. Others say the region appears to be getting enough rain.

CBOT oats futures ended flat. March oats closed at $2.19 per bushel and May oats closed at $2.28.

Ethanol futures were lower. January ethanol ended down $0.011 to $1.559 per gallon and March ethanol ended down $0.010 to $1.570.

-By Ian Berry, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-341-5778;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
12-22-08 1545ET
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Avipel Corn Seed Treatment to Repel Birds Gets EPA Approval in Minnesota

NEW CASTLE, Del., Dec 18, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Arkion Life Sciences has received US EPA approval to market Avipel(R) Corn Seed Treatment in Minnesota for the 2009 planting season. The Section 18 application filed by the State of Minnesota is effective December 5, 2008, through July 30, 2009. Arkion's proprietary bird repellent Avipel(R), formerly known as Avitec, protects both field and sweet corn seed against foraging cranes.

According to Ken Ballinger, Arkion Life Sciences has been a pioneer in the development and commercialization of several formulations of bird repellent and bird management technologies. Arkion's patented formulations of anthraquinone have been effectively repelling geese with FlightControl(R) Plus and repelling birds from structures through the Airepel Humane Bird Management business.

This is the fourth year Minnesota has been approved for this Section 18 and allows Minnesota farmers to treat up to 625,000 acres of corn seed during the season. Avipel(R) Corn Seed Treatment is non-lethal to birds but highly effective in repelling them. Various organizations have supported Arkion's development of bird repellents including The International Crane Foundation (ICF), The United States Humane Society and the Audubon Society. ICF spearheaded the cause to find a solution to the growing conflict between farmers and the cranes eating their planted seed. "We have been working since 2000 to find a way to support the growing crane population and, at the same time, save our farmers' crops and Avipel(R) is the solution," said Jeb Barzen, ICF spokesperson in Baraboo, WI.

Arkion(R) has three major businesses: Bio-Technical Resources (Manitowoc, WI) develops and improves processes and products based on fermentation technology for contract customers as well as internal needs; hyperimmune eggs with markets in human and animal nutrition; and bird repellent applications for crop, structure and turf protection.

SOURCE Arkion Life Sciences
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Evogene and Biogemma Show Increased Corn Yield in Field Trials

Corn Containing Evogene-Discovered Genes Show Significant Yield Increases Under Both Normal and Drought Conditions

REHOVOT, ISRAEL and PARIS, Dec 09, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) and Biogemma SAS today announced results of field trials for corn hybrids containing a number of genes predicted by Evogene to increase yield and drought tolerance. The field trials, conducted in several sites in the United States and in Israel, demonstrate that corn hybrids containing certain of these genes displayed significant yield increases under both normal and drought conditions compared to control corn hybrids under the same conditions. Evogene and Biogemma intend to expand their efforts to further evaluate the best performing of these genes in corn through additional field trials during 2009, aimed at selection of the most suitable candidates for the next phase of development towards commercialization.

The field trials for which results are now being reported were conducted as part of a collaboration initiated in 2006 between Evogene and Biogemma to develop corn with improved yield and tolerance to drought conditions. This collaboration is financially supported by the Eureka, a pan-European network for market-oriented industrial R&D.

Included in the field trials were Evo133 and Evo137, two genes predicted by Evogene in 2003 to improve yield and drought through the use of its computational technology platform, the 'ATHLETE,' and subsequently validated in model plants. These genes were introduced and expressed in corn utilizing Biogemma's technologies. These positive results in corn follow Evogene's announcement of December 2007 of field trial results for Evo133 demonstrating significant yield improvements in tomato plants under both normal and drought conditions.

Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO, stated, "We are extremely pleased by these successful results from this first field trial of Evogene-discovered genes in one of the most important crops worldwide for both food and alternative energy uses. Also, in addition to the potential value represented by these genes for corn and other crops, this is a significant milestone for our company in the validation of the ability of our unique in silico discovery platform -- the 'ATHLETE' -- to accurately predict and select genes associated with important traits of interest in agbio. Therefore, we enthusiastically look forward to continuing our joint efforts with Biogemma in corn and with our other partners, as we move forward with both further gene discovery and the validation of Evogene discovered genes in important target crops."

Pascual Perez, CEO for Biogemma, stated, "We are very happy with these first year field trials showing important preliminary results for yield improvement under normal and drought conditions. Next year's experiments which will be done in more geographic locations are looked with high interest. Our corn genetic transformation pipeline and its specific proprietary technologies has allowed Biogemma to quickly and properly assess Evogene's leads in different hybrid backgrounds within two years of the initiation of our fruitful collaboration. When the collaboration was initiated in 2006, combining Biogemma's and Evogene's expertise seemed extremely promising and we see today that the good complementary skills, the two companies' know how and IP portfolio open the way to develop commercial improved corn for our shareholders. Biogemma will continue to rely on its efficient transgenic platforms for corn and wheat, to give value to the genes discovered on our genomic platforms or developed in partnerships."

About Evogene

Evogene is a world leading developer of improved plant traits. The company's proprietary product development platform combines state of the art computational gene discovery technology (The 'ATHLETE'), plant and field validation capabilities and unique selection systems. Evogene's current programs focus on the improvement of key plant traits, such as yield and stress tolerance, and the improvement of plants specifically for biofuel uses. Evogene has collaboration and licensing agreements with world leading companies in the agro-biotech and alternative energy industries. Evogene's headquarters are in Rehovot, Israel, and its stock is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: EVGN). For additional information, please visit Evogene's website at

About Biogemma

Biogemma is a leading biotech company in Europe involved in Genomics applied to Field crops. Result of the merger of the biotech activity of three major seed business companies, Vilmorin Company (Limagrain Group), Euralis and RAGT and with the help of two financial institutions Sofiproteol and Unigrain with the support of the technical agency Arvalis , the company is developing R&D programs with its partners, in field crops (Corn, Wheat, Sunflower and Rapeseed), focused on yield improvement, biotic and abiotic stresses and specialty grain compounds.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements." These statements include words like "may," "expects," "believes," "scheduled," "potentially" and "intends," and they describe opinions about future events. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Evogene Ltd. to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Contact Information
Liat Cinamon
PR & IR Executive
E-mail: Email Contact
Tel: +972-8-931-1933

Pascual Perez
Chief Executive Officer
E-mail : Email Contact
Tel: +33 1 55 34 94 00

Thursday, December 4, 2008

South Korea Replacing Some Corn Imports with other Grains

South Korea, which is the third-largest importer of corn, said it'll probably cut corn imports and replace them with less expensive grains like wheat.

As a result, this year's corn imports from the U.S. could fall by up to 1 million tons from last year's levels.

"Overall corn imports for feed use in 2009 will be similar to this year's level at best and are more likely to fall below the level as feed makers switch to cheaper wheat products," Min Byong-ryol, who represents South Korea for the U.S. Grains Council.
In 2007, South Korea imported 6.7 million tons of corn for feed over the first 10 months of the year. So far in 2008 they've acquired 6.5 million tons of feed corn in the first 10 months.

Min added feed corn purchases should be around 8 million tons overall, with the U.S. accounting for 7.5 million by the end of the year.

Corn used for food will also drop significantly, as less expensive sweeteners like sugar are used by food processors. Corn used for food is under 20 percent of South Korea's total corn imports.

So far this year corn imports for food are down by 19 percent over the first 10 months of the year, coming in at 1.25 million tons.

With fertilizer costs more than doubling from four years ago, it's projected that next year corn acreage planting should drop from 94 million to 86 million. Much of that will be planted in soybeans, which require far less fertilizer input than corn.