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In Brief… – for Apr. 23, 2009

Group seeks provincial grass: A grassroots committee is running an online poll of Manitobans to find a nominee for Manitoba’s provincial grass emblem. “Let’s celebrate Manitoba’s native prairie grasslands by declaring a provincial grass emblem for Manitoba,” the Manitoba Provincial Grass Campaign Committee says on its website at www.manitobagrass.ca. As of April 18, big bluestem was in the lead with 16 votes. The three other candidates proposed on the site are little bluestem, sideoats grama and blue grama. Saskatchewan’s provincial grass is needle-and-thread grass; Alberta’s is rough fescue.

Foodgrains Bank yields new record: Thanks in part to higher grain prices and yields, donations to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in 2008-09 beat the charitable organization’s previous annual record by $4 million. The CFGB said its cash donations were also up by about 15 per cent over the previous year. In all, donations for the charity’s 2008-09 fiscal year totalled $12.4 million. It notes it has also received more in transfer funds from its 15 member agencies, plus a $5 million increase in its annual contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency, to $25 million.

Truckers wary of biodiesel mandate: Ottawa’s proposed minimum two per cent biodiesel content in diesel fuel doesn’t consider possible harm to engines, the Canadian Trucking Alliance warns, because engine makers “have not and cannot provide assurances” that use of biodiesel blends won’t lead to engine problems, higher costs or even the voiding of engine warranties. Proposed “averaging” provisions mean truckers could wind up with blends of B5 or higher, and it’s not known how that will affect pre-2002 engines or those from 2010 or later, built to new smog emission specs, the CTA said.

Viterra launches own Liquid Achieve: Viterra has added another Group 1 product to its new roster of company-branded herbicides, this time for Prairie spring and winter wheat, barley and rye producers. The product, dubbed Marengo, is a tralkoxydim herbicide, using the same active ingredient and rate as Dow AgroSciences’ product Liquid Achieve. The exact origin of the new brand name wasn’t specified, but Viterra’s heritage company, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, previously owned a grain elevator at Marengo, Sask., west of Kindersley.

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