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What is Ecocide? - 16 October 2012

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The Crop Site

Tuesday 16th October 2012.

Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor

Editorial: What is Ecocide?

Greetings from a soggy, but very colorful Midwest, USA. It rained a good part of the weekend in the central Midwest, and we even had a brief burst of hail in the Chicago area.

Two topics on tap for today - a new term that I learned and an overview of market reaction to last week's USDA reports.

One of my colleagues in the UK forwarded me an email about Ecocide. I hadn't heard the term before and didn't really know what it meant. I could gather "eco" = environment and anything with "ocide" never has a happy ending. So I Googled it to learn more.

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.

In March 2010, lawyer/barrister Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that Ecocide be made the fifth Crime Against Peace. Ecocide is already an international crime during wartime - it is a crime to "intentionally launch an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause…widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment…"

So what is it really? Ecocide is ecosystem damage and destruction. A few examples:

  • Large-scale land use change that causes the direct destruction of habitats - as is the case with deforestation in most tropical rainforests
  • Significant pollution whether deliberate or incidental - such as oil dumping and spills
  • Open cast mining where entire landscapes are removed - as is the case with oil sands and some coal and gold mining

For more information on Ecocide, check out There's a video of Ms. Higgins speaking, and I'd encourage you to take a look. It offers her perspective on the topic and what is needed to make a global change.

On to last week's market reports…

The reports indicated that the corn crop did not drop as much as expected and exports were decreased too. However, US ending stocks dropped overall and are barely pipeline requirements. Further, global coarse grain stocks decreased significantly more than expected, sending corn futures up, up, up.

USDA raised soybean acreage and yield from previous reports. However, estimated usage was also increased more than expected, which evened out the jump in supply for just a slight gain ending stocks.

Wheat stocks were neutral globally but above expectations for the US. Big initial gains tied to the surge in corn futures early in the week fizzled out by end of the week.

Cotton futures were pounded lower when USDA raised projected ending stocks by 300,000 bales. This was just the opposite of the 300,000 bale decrease that trade expected.

Also, according to Doane Advisory Services, attention is building on ominous weather forecasts for the 2013 crop outlook in the US Northern Plains and Canada where it's becoming quite dry and a warmer-than-normal and drier-than-normal winter may limit critical spring snowmelt soil moisture recharging.

Have a great week!

Crop World Global 2012 - 6 & 7 November 2012

Fall Soil Sampling for SCN Can Pay Big Dividends in 2013
Now that harvest of this year’s crops is nearly complete in Iowa, it’s time to begin planning for the next growing season, writes Greg Tylka, nematologist with Iowa State University.

Scout Fields Prior to Fall-applied Herbicide Application
URBANA – Post-harvest herbicide application provides an additional opportunity to manage problematic weed species including winter annuals, biennials, and perennials, said University of Illinois associate professor of weed science Aaron Hager.

Plant Pathologist: Wheat Planted in Corn Stubble at Risk for Head Scab
More corn acres brought on by high corn prices in recent years could tempt winter wheat growers to plant the crop into corn stubble, but a Purdue Extension pathologist says the practice puts wheat at risk for head scab development.

DNA Sequencing Create Rice with Greater Health Benefits
DNA techniques are being used to analyse genes in rice in pioneering research which aims to develop a new variety of the grain with greater health benefits.

Surveillance of Salmonella Prevalence in Animal Feeds
Twelve per cent of more than 2,000 samples of feeds, feed ingredients and pet products tested by USDA between 2002 and 2009 were positive for Salmonella, with Senftenberg and Montevideo being the most common serotypes.


Markets Signal Rationing; Focus on South America


Southern Hemisphere Becoming Drier
Australian Growers Encouraged to Check Wheat for Virus
Australia Sugar Production Revised Down
'Bee' Alert and Report Asian Honey Bee Sightings

   United Kingdom

New Director General Joins National Farmers Union
Recognise Farmers for Their Vital Role in Food Security, NFU Tells MPs
Bad Weather Impacts on 2012 Harvest, Need for Urgent Supply Chain Action
Alleged Oilseed Rape Contamination
Cost Calculator Works Out Biogas Costs, Returns
Fairness Needed on Farm Business Tenancy Rent Reviews - NFU
Rodent Risk for Grain Stores
Poor Weather Hits Scotlands Harvest
Declines in Ground Beetle Biodiversity Found in UK

   United States

Paseo Biofuels Begins Expansion
Corn Stocks Lower than Expected, Soybean Stocks Higher
University to Lead $1.6 Million Grant on National Crop Pollination
FAPRI Report: Corn Prices Fall Less Than One Per Cent With Full RFS Waiver
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Monday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Unchanged Tuesday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Slightly Lower Wednesday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Higher Thursday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Friday
Allendale Inc. Pre-Report Supply & Demand Estimates
Weekly Roberts Market Report
US Grains Council Releases Third Edition of DDGS Handbook
Cargill Revenue Down but Earnings Up
CME: WASDE Report Holds Little Relief for Producres
Grain Hedge: Latest Round of USDA Reports Lead to Rally
GeoGrain: Harvest Low Short-Lived in Cash Grain Market
USDA Review: Grains Ended Higher Off USDA Reports
How Bad Was the 2012 US Corn, Soybean Growing Season?
Beyond the October Production Forecasts for Corn and Soybeans


Helping Barley Industry Tap New Markets
Trans-Pacific Partnership Entry Good News for Canola


Indian Rice Exports Eased Global Prices, Stabilised Supplies
Indian Minister: Taking Advantage of Moisture to Maximise Production
India Rice Sown in 367.65 Lakh Hectares


Malaysia Palm Oil Production Drops


Restoring Confidence after Discredited GM Report


Chinese Premier Seeks Growth in Agriculture


Irish Farmers Send Message to EU

   European Union

Copa-Cogeca Warn Against New EU Biofuel Plans
EU Feed Federation to Contribute on Energy Directive Revision


Brazil's Planting Intentions Report Says Soybean Production Up
Brazil to Become Main Soy Exporter


Latin America 'Should Embrace Renewables'
US Rice Exports to China Appear in Sight
World Food Day Raises Concerns Over High Food Prices


Government Further Strengthens Agri-Fishery Education


Corn Area Hits New Record in the Iberian Peninsula


Indonesia to Become World's Biggest Sugar Importer

   South Africa

Boost for Women Farmers in South Africa


Support for Farmers Through More Consumption of Local Produce

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