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Briefs continued – for Aug. 20, 2009

More wheat: The U. S. Agriculture Department bumped up its forecast for the world wheat crop this month, thanks to strong crops in India, the United States, China, Ukraine and most of Europe, but said drought has trimmed prospects for Russia, Argentina and Canada.

World wheat production for 2009-10 was forecast at 659.29 million tonnes, up 2.8 million tonnes from last month, the USDA said. Year-end stocks were pegged at 183.56 million tonnes. Problems in Canada and Argentina should mean increased export opportunities for U. S. wheat, the USDA said.

Late start to a big season:

The Port of Churchill opened for business last week, two weeks later than normal. While it is not unusual for the northern port to load its first grain after Aug. 1, the push is on to complete a strong export program through the facility this year.

“This year, we have a large August program on the books for Churchill, which means we are predicting a program upwards of 500,000 tonnes – the second-largest since 2000 (surpassed only by the 30-year record of 621,000 we did in 2007),” said CWB spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry. Pork exports: Canada’s pork exports through June were down 3.5 per cent from the first six months of 2008 as higher demand in key markets softened the blow of H1N1 flu-inspired bans on Canadian pork. Country-of-origin labelling, which has dramatically cut Canadian exports of swine and cattle to the United States, has contributed to the United States importing more pork, said Kevin Grier, senior market analyst for the George Morris Centre. Packers avoid costs of segregating pigs in their plants when they import the meat instead. Frosty Alberta: Frost hit parts of central Alberta last weekend, Environment Canada says. Freezing temperatures were recorded at weather stations 80 to 100 km north of Edmonton. A low of -2.1C was recorded Aug. 15 morning northeast of Edmonton, where the temperature remained below freezing for about four hours. A station northwest of the city dropped to -0.9C the same morning and remained below freezing for one to two hours. The same weather station northwest of Edmonton recorded a temperature of -1.4C early Aug. 16. – Reuters



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