In Brief… – for Aug. 4, 2011

CWB lowers new-crop PROs:The Canadian Wheat Board has lowered new-crop wheat, durum and barley values for the upcoming crop year beginning August 1.

In setting its latest PROs, the board cited U.S. economic uncertainty; a higher Canadian dollar; increased production in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan; higher Russian wheat sales; improving durum production outlook, and reduced weather pressure on Europe malting barley. The forecast has wheat values down $22 to $39 per tonne, durum down $22 a tonne, malting barley down $11 per tonne, and Pool A feed barley down $13 per tonne. –Reuters

No more cheap food:Grain

prices will likely remain elevated at the end of this year, a Reuters poll released July 25 showed, providing little relief to food prices while continuing to challenge policy-makers battling inflation.

Many analysts say the era of cheap food may well be over as rising crop production struggles to keep pace with soaring global demand.

But experts do not expect a repeat of the late-year grain market rallies of 2010 which ignited record food inflation that stirred popular unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

PotashCorp profit jumps:

Second-quarter profits rose by 75 per cent at PotashCorp as surging grain prices lifted demand for its crop nutrient products.

Rising demand and adverse weather helped pushed grain prices to record levels and prompted farmers to grow crops on acres once viewed as marginal, boosting fertilizer prices. “The strain on the world’s food supply is not a short-term issue,” said PotashCorp’s chief executive Bill Doyle. “Even with farmers increasing planted acres, it will take exceptional yields to meet current demand, let alone provide any surplus.” –Reuters

Canola crush soars:There’s

another flood coming from the Prairies – a river of canola oil. Thanks to its new plant in Yorkton and above-capacity production in Lethbridge, Richardson Oilseed has tripled its crush.

“This is a significant milestone in our business,” says Pat Van Osch, the company’s vice-president and general manager. “Ten years ago, we were crushing 360,000 tonnes of canola in one year and now we’ve hit the one-million- tonne mark.”

The $170-million, year-old Yorkton plant processes up to 2,400 tonnes of canola (or 1,000 tonnes of canola oil) daily. –Staff Weather woes in Midwest:

Record rains in parts of the U.S. Midwest are prompting fears of more Mississippi River flooding.

Dubuque, Iowa seemed hardest hit, with more than 10.3 inches falling in 24 hours. Officials closed the city’s flood wall along the Mississippi, which rose more than 2-1/2 feet after the storm. The storm boosted July total rainfall levels in the Chicago area to nearly 10 inches, the most in more than 120 years.

However, the rain also provided temporary relief from the extreme heat that has caused at least 64 fatalities in 15 states. –Reuters Downsizing due to the flood?:The federal government has expanded the list of municipalities and local government districts in which producers are eligible for tax deferrals for one year if they must downsize their herds due to excess moisture and flooding. An additional 22 areas are now eligible.

Included are the RMs of Albert, Archie, Arthur, Bifrost, Brenda, Cameron, Cornwallis, Edward, Gimli, Glenwood, Miniota, Morton, Oakland, Pipestone, Sifton, Wallace, Whitehead, Whitewater, Winchester, Woodworth, Armstrong and Fisher. –Staff Follow the money:Cargill Inc.’s Canadian subsidiary will receive funding of $10 million to make its beef-packing plant at High River, Alberta, more energy and cost efficient, the federal government said July 29. The beef plant, one of the largest in Canada, processes 4,500 head of cattle per day. Cargill’s two Canadian plants process more than half of the country’s beef.

The funding will go toward equipment to dispose of specified risk materials, landfill trash and compost material to produce energy in the form of steam and electricity. –Reuters

Storage programs nixed:

Due to uncertainty over its future, the Canadian Wheat Board is not offering Wheat Storage Program or Churchill Storage Program for 2012-13, which would normally begin at this time. These programs paid farmers to store grain to fulfil customers’ high-protein needs or Port of Churchill shipping requirements into the subsequent crop year.

The 2011 Port of Churchill shipping season is now underway. The first ship, the MV Pacific Bulker, is now loading approximately 27,000 tonnes of Canada Western Red Spring wheat destined for Nigeria. –CWB Bulletin

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