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In Brief… – for Jul. 14, 2011

La Nińa – the sequel:

The La Nińa weather anomaly blamed for one of the worst droughts in the southern United States could revive this autumn, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center forecast July 7. The CPC said wind circulation consistent with La Nińa was persisting in the central Pacific Ocean where the anomaly is usually born.

“Combined with the … lingering La Nińa state of the atmosphere, the possibility of a return to La Nińa during the Northern Hemisphere fall (of) 2011 has increased over the past month,” the CPC stated.

Canada Food Day:

July 30 is Canada Food Day, a day to celebrate this country’s food bounty by eating an all-Canadian meal. Restaurants across the country will be offering special menus but those who prefer to celebrate at home or the cottage can cook a scrumptious Canadian meal using time-tested family recipes or by trying something new from the website. All celebrations will pay tribute to the Canadian farmers and food systems that deliver top-quality, safe foods to our tables.

– Staff


The cutline for the front page photo in the July 7 issue wrongly identified the flooded highway in the scene as being near Hartney. In fact, the photo was taken off Highway 3 near Melita. – Staff

The flood that never ends:

Thousands of Manitobans remain evacuated from their homes as the province continues to deal with record widespread flooding this spring. The province’s 93rd daily bulletin issued July 8 said there are 2,995 evacuees on record, but that does not include people who have self-evacuated. The flooding has also been hard on the provincial and municipal roads. There are 479 road closures still in place. Flood waters in western Manitoba damaged provincial highway bridges near Melita and Coulter, forcing local residents to travel long detours to reach livestock and property.

– Staff Hail claims lower:Insurance

claims jumped after last weekend’s hailstorms pummelled some crops across the Canadian Prairies, but claims for the year are just average to light, the Canadian Crop Hail Association said July 8. As of mid-week, the association, made up of insurance companies, reported year-to-date totals of nearly 1,000 claims in Saskatchewan, more than 300 claims in Manitoba and nearly 200 claims in Alberta.

Hail damage to crops would be greater but Saskatchewan and Manitoba farmers left millions of acres unplanted this spring due to floods.

Heat wave hits corn belt:

Hotter and drier weather was forecast to nose into the southwestern U.S. corn belt over the next two weeks as the bulk of the corn crop pollinates, raising worries about yields, forecasters said July 8. A high-pressure ridge, now centred in the southern Plains, was expected to nudge into southern Iowa, southern Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. That would raise daytime highs to near 100 F late this week through the end of the 11-to 15-day forecast period. That would affect about one-third of the U.S. corn crop. Big spenders:South Korea, the world’s fourth-largest grain importer, will invest some 10 trillion won ($9.5 billion) between 2012 and 2020 to boost grain supply, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement July 11. South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, aims to increase the country’s grain self-sufficiency rate to 55 per cent in 2015 and 65 per cent in 2020 from 27.1 per cent last year, the statement added.

South Korea, struggling to recover from its worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, is battling to tame inflation like regional peers. Toothless rules:Canada is considering a request by the Canadian Wheat Board for regulated access to private grain handlers once the board loses its monopoly, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said July 8, but he added that such access may not be enforceable.

“We’re looking at all avenues moving forward. Certainly that is on the table,” Ritz said. “But these are private-sector companies that offer services. I’m not sure that regulation could be enforceable but we’ll take a look at all ideas that come forward.”

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