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In Brief… – for Jun. 11, 2009

Frosty June: Frost has damaged newly emerged canola on the western Prairies, adding to a long list of spring weather woes.

The only factor mitigating damage from frost June 2 is that crops have been slow to emerge due to cool weather, said Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board. But that points to a grave reality resulting from a combination of flooding, dryness, cool weather and now frost scattered across the Prairies. “Delayed (crop) development is becoming a very large issue now,” Burnett said. Royal rustlers: Cattle rustlers stole 19 prized cows and bulls from an English country estate of Queen Elizabeth that were being fattened up for the royal dining table. Tony Barratt, a tenant livestock producer on the British Queen’s Sandringham estate in southeastern England, told Reuters June 3 that police were investigating the disappearance but said they had probably been illegally slaughtered by now. “It makes me so angry because this is beef which is enjoyed by the Queen herself,” Barratt said. Federal slaughter funds coming: The federal government’s three-year, $50 million Slaughter Improvement Program will be accepting applications by the end of June, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said June 5.

The program offers repayable contributions to investments made by the private sector and other levels of government in sound business plans aimed at reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving operations of meat-packing and processing operations in Canada. El Nińo developing: The El Nińo weather pattern could develop within weeks, the Climate Prediction Center in the United States said. El Nińo is driven by an abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific and the forecaster said conditions were favour-able for a switch to El Nińo conditions during June to August 2009. The forecast is the latest warning after months of rising ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific. El Nińo can also bring wetter weather to parts of the United States and can affect the monsoon in India.

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