Chairman’s Message – Patrick Stephenson

Once again the dominating factor around the world affecting agriculture is the weather; be it rainfall in Brazil, drought in Australia, or early snow in America and Canada. In this world of rapid communication the grim reapers of doom are quick to prophesise the impact on global commodity prices. The access to the GAIAC Whats app group has been invaluable in separating fact from fiction. I can speak of one client of mine who had been told to sell his wheat as the reports from Ukraine and Russia were for huge crops. I told him of the big variation in the Russian and Ukraine crops and the drought issues in Australia, Kansas and Oklahoma, in one week he made $7500 dollars through listening to the information gathered from our members. If you add to this, the information that has been discussed on nitrogen for soya beans, soil sampling machinery, soil erosion, planting progress, new crop agronomy and precision farming; you can very soon see the value of a global network where information is shared freely. At the very least you would get Din Dins back catalogue of Brazilian creatures that can kill you.

My thanks to Al Alveritt, Din Din, Dan Moser, Brent Wright, Ian Macleod, Steve Hoffman who have all hosted me in recent years. Every visit I have learnt more to benefit my own business. In every country it is evident that there is an enthusiasm for our industry and a huge desire for Independent advice and research. I have also made some life-long friends and loved every minute of it. I see that it is not about “what can GAIAC do for me?” but more “what I can do for GAIAC?” We hold our hands out to encourage more members to join in our goal to spread the word and share information, ask questions to explore opportunities and help our businesses grow. I know Din Din would love to set up a student or worker exchange program, so sign up and join in.

Meet one of our Sustaining Members:

FMC Corporation is a specialty chemical company serving agricultural markets globally for more than a century with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. As a global leader utilizing advanced technologies and customer-focused research and development, FMC provides innovative and cost-effective solutions to enhance crop yield and quality by controlling a broad spectrum of insects, weeds and diseases.  Contact: Michael Harper 

CONTACT GAIAC to learn more about becoming a Sustaining Member.

2018 Season Summaries

Growing Season Reports From Around The World


It is impossible to describe the turmoil that surrounds our withdrawal from Europe. We were able to evacuate the beaches of Dunkirk and rescue 338,000 men in 7 days! In two years we can’t agree on anything! Farmers are now planting crops with no idea what the market will be. If there is no deal we will be straight on to WTO terms with tariffs set around 11%. As we are only 50-60% self-sufficient in food that will mean tremendous pressure on food prices which no political party will like! Alas all we can deal with is the here and now.

In general terms the UK had a very dry summer which has led to lower canola, wheat and spring crop yields. Yields were very variable depending on how the summer rainfall fell ranging from 200 to 100 bushels/acre (15-7 tonnes/ac) overall wheat will be down approximately 7%, Canola 10%, Spring barley 20%. Quality was surprisingly good even with lower yields. Prices for cereals are very good and growers on the whole are happy.

Autumn plantings are nearly complete and conditions have been good. The wheat are will be slightly higher this coming season probably 5% canola will be down possibly 10%. Canola is a real problem for us now with no neo-nic seed dressing and widespread pest resistance to pyretheroids we are weapon less to flea beetle damage as there are no other products registered.

Fodder is a major issue for our stock farmers as grass growth has been non-existent for the last three months.  Winter stocks are low money is tight and animals are being sold to fund fodder purchases not a good position.  By Patrick Stephenson


Brazilian agricultural production is concentrated in terms of production volume and planted area in the cultivation of sugarcane, coffee and grains, especially soy, corn and cotton. These total crops represent 81.9% of the country’s cultivated area, which still maintains more than 66% of its territory totally preserved.


(Produção = Growth Área Plantada = Acreage Produtividade = Yield)

The Brazilian coffee harvest is expected to reach close to 60 million bags, with growth of 33.2% in a total area of 2.16 million hectares. Sugarcane production for the 2018/19 crop may reach approximately 635 million tons, an increase of 0.4% over the previous harvest and a reduction of 0.8% of the area is expected harvested to 8.66 million hectares in the 2017/18 harvest.

Grain production reached 228.3 million tons in the 17/18 harvest on 61.7 million hectares of crops. This is equivalent to a reduction of production of 3.9% compared to the previous crop and a growth of 1.4% in planted area

The Brazilian regions with greater expression in the grain production have the capacity to cultivate, in the same area, soybean as summer crop and maize in the 2nd harvest. To use this succession of crops the climatic conditions should be favorable to take advantage of the rains that concentrates between September and June. In the 17/18 season, climatic conditions were impacted by the La Niña phenomenon, altering the agricultural planning of about 4.6% of these areas, especially located in the central region of Brazil.

Currently, soybeans correspond to about 57% of the total area planted with grains in the country. The production of this oilseed reached a record 119.3 million tons, 4.6% higher than the previous harvest and had a significant increase of 1.23 million hectares reaching 35.14 million hectares.

Total corn production reached 81.36 million tons. Only one third of this amount was planted in the summer and two thirds after soybeans. The delay in the early planting of the oilseed shortened the ideal sowing window of the cereal, causing a reduction in productivity or replaced by other crops, such as sorghum. This caused a reduction of the area planted in the second harvest (5%) and a reduction of 17% in the total production of this grain. This is the country’s second largest crop by volume.

Brazilian cotton production in the 2017/18 harvest was estimated at 5,012.9 thousand tons, 31% higher than in the previous crop. The expressive increase in area (25.1%), and the increase in productivity of 4.7%, results in a production of 2 million tons of feather.  By Fernando (Din Din) Martins


If an apocalypse happened where all the oceans, lakes and rivers in the world dried up, the Midsouth would still flood. The early planting season started well-for about two to three weeks. And then constant rains interrupted Midsouth growers planting cotton, soybeans, rice and even corn. After several weeks, and in between showers, planting resumed. So the region farmed essentially two maturity crops in 2018.

Still, with high temperatures and sunny days, most crops caught up to their normal maturity date. Additionally, it was one of the lightest disease years in a long time. Corn and rice harvest later began, and a few beans were cut, and then remnants of tropical storm Gordon dumped rain on most of the region-good for late beans, but bad for most of the other crops. Cotton defoliation stopped, and then picked back up about a week later. By the end of September, most corn and rice were out of the field, and growers were going wide open cutting beans and picking cotton. In between rains.

Sugarcane planting in Louisiana is winding down and harvest is getting underway with some areas in the state experiencing increases in a acreage.

Many Midsouth growers are considering increasing cotton acreage on their good ground-if they can purchase more round bale pickers; square basket pickers are old equipment that constantly needs maintenance. With commodity prices right now, corn acreage is forecast to be flat, soybean acreage will drop, and rice, cotton and peanut acreage will increase. In 2019, the Midsouth will have plenty of planted crops. And water.  By Patrick Shepard

Renew your membership with GAIAC!

Membership dues are paid annually and dues paid by the end of the year will secure your membership for all of 2019.  Using the form below will allow you to pay your membership dues with a credit card through our PayPal account.

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Join GAIAC at the NAICC Meeting in Savannah.

During the 2019 NAICC meeting, GAIAC will be sponsoring a half-day seminar on 

The Commercial Growing of Hemp and Minor Crops.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

7:30   Registration and Continental Breakfast

7:55    Introduction – Focus and Objectives
Jim Steffel, LABServcies, PA, USA

8:00   Introduction to Hemp
Dr. Phil Wilson, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Science,
Raleigh, NC USA

8:25   The Legal and Political Situation of Growing Hemp
Emily Febles, North Carolina State University

8:50   First Hand Experience as a Hemp Grower and Consultant
Al Averitt, Protect Advisory Services, Lumber Bridge, NC, USA

9:10   Growing Poppy’s in Tasmania: Production and the Regulatory Maze Associated with a Narcotic Crop.
Ian Macleod, Peracto, Devonport, Tasmania, AU

9:30   How Sustainable is the Hemp Industry? (Speaker TBA)

10:10   Production and International Commerce of Hemp Seed and Other Oil and Medicinal Crops.
Dan Moser, Centrol Crop Consulting, ND, USA

10:30   Registration of Pesticides for Minor Crops – A Global Perspective
Dr. Jerry Baron, Director, IR-4, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

10:55   Registration of Pest Management Products for Minor Crops in Europe
Yves Coconnier, Staphyt, Inchy-en-Artois – France, France

11:15   Availability of Pest Management Tools for Minor Crops in Brazil
Fernando R. A. Martins, AgroExata, Campo Grande, Brazil

11:35   MRL’s and other Regulatory Hurtles Impacting International Movement of Minor Crops (Speaker TBD)

11:55   Discussion


Ag Institute National Conference:
Brave New World – Ag to 2030

28-30 November 2018
Rydges World Square, Sydney.
More details can be found at the conference website here: