In Brief… – for Apr. 14, 2011

Frozen culverts:Floods from melting snow could damage highways and bridges in Saskatchewan, the provincial government said April 7. The Saskatchewan Highways Department said it has brought in steaming equipment as well as pumps and water tanks to thaw out frozen culverts to help drainage.

Last year, big sections of

Saskatchewan’s highway network were flooded, including a stretch of Canada’s main national highway near Alberta. Parched:The U.S. Plains wheat belt is continuing warm and dry, adding more stress to a crop that is struggling from a lack of moisture, a forecaster said April 6.

“It’s a terrible situation and it continues to worsen. We are looking at another surge in hot weather by the end of the week,” said Mike Palmerino of Telvent DTN weather service. The biggest U.S. wheat crop, hard red winter, has been suffering from drought since autumn. USDA this week rated 32 per cent of the winter wheat crop poor to very poor, a lot worse than six per cent a year ago.

Going to 10 digits:The next

time you program a Manitoba number into your cellphone or any automated dialling device, add the 204 area code. And you might as well start adding it to your existing contacts as well. Because starting July 29, 2012, all calling in Manitoba will move to 10 digits, the Telecommunications Alliance, which represents companies offering telecommunications services in Manitoba says in a release. The switch comes in advance of launching 431, the province’s second area code in November 2012, for all new services. – Staff

Leask bids adieu:After almost

28 years at the helm of the Canadian Seed Trade Association, William (Bill) Leask will retire as its executive vice-president May 31. “His contribution, based on his tremendous knowledge of plant breeding, seed technology and trade and of the seed industry itself, has led to the development of policies, structures and strategies that have benefited all stakeholders in the seed sector, in Canada and abroad,” said CSTA president Wayne Unger in a letter to members.

– Staff New Hall of Famers:Two

Manitobans will be inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame later this year. The late Vernon W. McIntyre, a pedigreed seed grower from Elphinstone who was active in industry and community organizations and Robert Keith Smith, the retired principal of the Agricultural Extension Centre in Brandon who was also active in industry organizations and overseas development projects will be honoured at induction ceremonies in July. – Staff

No “fowl” play:A vacant

chicken barn five miles east of Morris was razed by an explosion April 8. RCMP and emergency crews found the unused building completely destroyed upon their arrival on the scene. The building was reported to be propane heated, and had electrical service. The building’s value was rated at less than $20,000. Investigators say there is no evidence that the cause of the explosion was suspicious. – Staff Opposed:The Western Canadian Wheat Growers says it is opposed to a proposal to give farmers the option of marketing canola through the Canadian Wheat Board. “The threat of trade action is simply too great,” said president Kevin Bender in a release. “Placing canola under the CWB, even on a voluntary basis, would jeopardize the phenomenal growth and success we’ve seen in the canola industry.” The Manitoba Canola Growers Association is currently surveying farmers to determine their level of interest in the scheme. – Staff Ozone depletion

unprecedented:Record loss of the ozone, the protective atmosphere layer that shields life from the sun’s harmful rays, has recently been observed over the Arctic in recent months, the World Meteorological Organization reported.

“Depletion of the ozone… has reached an unprecedented level over the Arctic this spring because of the continuing presence of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere and a very cold winter in the stratosphere,” the United Nations agency said in a statement. Flood death:A 61-year-old man from the Niverville area drowned April 8 after he attempted to drive across a flooded section of the road in the RM of De Salaberry in eastern Manitoba. RCMP say his car left the roadway and became submerged. The RCMP underwater recovery team found his body the following day after he was reported missing.

– Staff

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