Briefs March 8, 2012

La Niña lingers on

sydney / reuters / La Niña, a weather phenomenon linked to heavy rains in the Asia-Pacific region and South America and drought in Africa, continues to decline, but still hasn’t lost its punch, says Australia’s weather bureau.

“While La Niña is clearly on the wane, waters around Australia remain warmer than normal, maintaining the potential for increased rainfall over the continent,” the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.

The influence of La Niña is expected to drive higher yields and production in Australia’s agricultural belts — although some eastern Australian farms have been inundated with flood rains for a second year running, with at least two more months of the summer wet season to go.

Wheat board will soon be just CWB

winnipeg / reuters The Canadian Wheat Board will shorten its name, one of the most storied and well known in global grain trading, to simply “CWB” as it starts to compete in an open market.

“It’s going to be (known as) CWB,” said Ken Motiuk, one of five government-appointed directors of the board.

“You have to differentiate yourself from the past” while maintaining some continuity, he said.

The board will lose its 69-year-old wheat-marketing monopoly on Aug. 1, but is expected to shortly start buying 2012 crops on forward contracts.

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