Green line - july/aug 2004

Took place as president of the International Seed Testing Association, dr. Pieterr Oosterveld from the Netherlands. Also makes part as officials dr. Katalin Ertsey from Hungary, as 1st vice-president, and dr. Silmar Peske, from Brazil, as 2nd vice- president. It is worth reminding that the vice-president will be the president in the next turn.

A special substract for the seed germination was identified. It is called compound that presents better results than the paper and the sand. This substract was presented in 28th Congress of ISTA. The reason for its superior performance seems to be in its capacity of retaining water without harming the seeds.

According to the German Plant Breeder Association, the return of a breeding program is 17%/year. This value is above of what is obtained with most of the other investments. This situation is where the piracy is under control, that is, it is minimized. For situation with piracy without control, the result is negative, for sure, leading the companies to give up the business and not putting in the market superior materials. And with this, everybody looses.

The organization has an executive committee that, besides the presidency, has eight members-at-large selected among the 74 countries. They are Joseph Ahenda from Kenya, José Chaves-Mexico, John Hampton-New Zealand, Steve Jones-England, Joel Léchappé-France, Susan Maxon-United States, Grethe Tarp- Denmark and Rita Zecchinelli-Italy, respectively.

American scientists are analyzing kernels of food-grade sorghum in hopes of bringing into the mainstream new products made from the grain, such as breads and waffles. Some varieties of sorghum represent a surprising new source of cancer-fighting compounds and, besides that sorghum brans are also high in dietary fiber. Because it lacks gluten-certain proteins present in wheat and others closely related cereals-sorghum is considered safe for the people with gluten intolerance. The aim of the study is to find cultivars that will lead to a good-tasting, finely-textured sorghum bread.

Developed country known by its top technology, also raises attention by its agriculture, with almost seven millions hectares under cultivation, mainly with wheat, barley, corn and triticale, in this order. To supply this market with high quality seeds from improved varieties, the country has 31 companies working with plant breeding in corn and other 32 for wheat, barley and triticale. The seed business, as we observe by the numbers, is big and not easy noticed.

This year the congress of the International Seed Federation, carried out in Berlin, was a success in public, business and decision making terms. It was registered more than 1.400 participants, from 58 different countries. Most of the of the business were with vegetable, flower and forages seeds, while plant protection and seed sanity were the ones that had more discussions.(details in the website

Analysis of seeds
The harmonization of seed analysis rules is essential for the international seed trade. In this sense, the ISF is gesticulating to improve the harmonization procedures between ISTA and AOSA (United States and Canada), also considering the Brazilian, as great grain producer, and China, great importing country.

As one of the countries that exports seeds a lot, Chile will host the next ISF congress. dr. Victor Pinto Lopez, from the National Seed Producers Association (Anpros), from Chile, did a beautiful presentation of his country and of the excellent conditions to produce seeds, using several microclimates that the country possesses. The Anpros was the only association of seed producers that possessed a publicity stand in the event. It is essential to invest in order to have a return.

Africa will have a seed center, probably in Tanzania. This center will have training activities covering mainly aspects of production, testing and post-harvest technology. Funding for the project seems to come from Denmark. As there is an old saying, for a good project there is, always, sufficient money.

According to Dr. Zoltán Syposs, from Hungary, which recently entered in the European community of nations, one of the greatest advantages of his country is to be able to export seeds to member countries without the need of a double certification. Other commercial blocks are heading for the same procedure.

The new cotton seed-count packaging introduced by Delta and Pine Land Company (D&PL) this year has simplified seed-ordering calculations and put more efficiencies into inventory and input-cost management. D&PL sold Upland cotton varieties for the first time this year in bags that contained a minimum of 250,000 seeds and Boll Boxes (tm) that contained a minimum of 8 million seeds. Many of the producers have gotten away from planting pounds of seed per acre and have begun to plant seeds per row-foot with new precision-type planters, fitting the seed-count packaging right into that practice. The new D&PL seed-count packaging has eliminated questions raised by producers about bags of the same variety containing different number of seeds, resulting in differences in cost of seed per acre.

At the ISF Congress in Berlin, Germany, it was seen a lot of business going on, as usual, involving many seed companies located through the world, mainly forage and horticultural seeds companies. This event has the tradition of allowing this kind of activities. Time is money. So to meet all possible partners in one place, it is really useful.

A chronology of corn's migration from Mexico's Aztec civilization to the Silk Road to China is now available on the Web at introduction.shtml. The website details a timeline for corn's worldly travels, starting with the crop's only known center of domestication in "Mesoamerica," a region comprising south-central Mexico and adjacent areas of Central America.
The authors cite some interesting sources, including Christopher Columbus, the first known European to encounter corn, Zea mays.

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