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In Brief… – for Jul. 7, 2011

EU drought eases:Rain in

past weeks has saved European Union wheat from the worst impact of drought this spring but the 2011 crop will still fall on the year, analysts and traders said June 28.

Much of west Europe has had regular rain in the past three weeks, relieving parched crops after the spring drought. “Everyone is less pessimistic, but let’s not delude ourselves, (the crop) this year will be quite poor and very heterogeneous,” said Gautier Le Molgat, analyst with France’s Agritel.

Monsanto earnings up:

Global agribusiness company Monsanto Co. posted a nearly 80 per cent jump in net income on June 29 due to strong sales in its core seeds and genetic traits businesses. Shares rose nearly five per cent as the market applauded the company’s sales strength in the United States and Latin America and an expanded earnings outlook for the full year. Total sales of Monsanto’s specialized corn, soybean, cotton and other seeds and traits rose 12 per cent to $2.6 billion in the quarter. Monsanto is the world’s largest seed company.

GM rules changed:Kenya’s

state-run National Safety Authority is set to approve importation of genetically modified maize into the country for the first time to mitigate a looming shortage, its head said June 29. The Kenyan government last week forecast a shortfall in the supply of maize, a staple in east Africa’s biggest economy, of 14.8 million 90-kg bags in the 2011-12 season due to drought. The maize shortage threatens to cripple the supply of flour in the country after six major millers closed their main plants, and millers said GM would curb future shortfalls.

Initial payments raised:

The CWB has raised the 2010-11 initial payments for wheat effective June 30. The increase will range from $21.30 to $42 per tonne for wheat (depending on grade and class).

A complete listing of payments for all grades in dollars per tonne and dollars per bushel is posted on www.cwb.ca under “Farmers” and “Farmer Payments.” – Staff Quarantine violation:A western Manitoba cattle producer who sold 43 beef calves while they were under quarantine has been fined $9,000 for violating the Health of Animals Act.

Nick Synchyshyn of Clanwilliam was convicted May 17 of three violations under the act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says in a release. He has been given nine months to pay.– StaffResearch boost:The Canadian Simmental Association is getting $1.7 million from the federal government to support genetic research that helps producers identify and select better cattle.

Using DNA and other genetic data, the three-year project will help cattle breeders identify, select and breed cattle that have higher fertility and mothering ability, growth and feed efficiency, and produce a more desirable beef product, a federal release says. The results will be shared through various beef sector groups including the Canadian Beef Breeds Council.– StaffHoneybee research:The federal government is contributing $244,000 to the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association to help develop new responses to declining honeybee colony populations. Over the past four years, beekeepers in Ontario have been losing high numbers of honeybee colonies due to disease, pest resistance to treatment methods, and increased demand on honeybee colonies to provide pollination services. Led by the universities of Guelph and Manitoba, the program will develop a breeding program that will result in honeybees that have the ability to resist pests and diseases.

– Staff

Bacon prices soar:Bacon

prices could be hard for U.S. shoppers to swallow this summer.

“Tight hog supply ideas, BLT season and the size and extent of this spring’s pork belly price decline makes it more conducive for bellies to rally near last year’s highs,” said Dan Vaught, analyst and owner of Vaught Futures Insights. There were 64.6 million hogs in the U.S. in 2010, down 2.2 million from 2009. September 2010 belly stocks totalled 4.8 million lbs., according to USDA data. Analysts said this is far below the average of 14 million lbs. for that month over the 2001 to 2010 period.

Biodiesel mandate in force:

Regulations requiring two per cent biofuel in Canada’s diesel and heating oil came into effect Canada Day.

The Canola Council of Canada described the biofuel mandate as “an important achievement.”

Council president JoAnne Buth said in a release it will increase the market for canola seed by about one million tonnes annually. Buth said the next step will be to convince the federal government to invest in biodiesel plant capacity in Western Canada. Currently Canadian canola is shipped to the U.S. to be made into biodiesel and shipped back to Canada.– Staff

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