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In Brief… – for Jun. 17, 2010


Several errors regarding the Cover Crop Protection Program (CCPP) appeared in a story about excess rain in the June 3 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator. The CCPP was introduced for 2005 and 2006 to assist farmers with flooded cropland, not 2004 and 2005 as reported. It paid farmers $15 an acre, not $30. And it was funded by the federal government alone and was not cost shared with the Manitoba government.

Back in the market:

Panama has reopened market access for Canadian breeding cattle and expanded access for bovine genetics, Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said June 8. Canada and Panama signed a free trade agreement on May 14. Panama removed its ban on Canadian beef in August 2009, six years after the discovery of mad cow disease in a western Canadian herd.

In 2009, the value of Canadian agriculture and food exports to Panama was $23.5 million. – Reuters

Profit falls 30 per cent:

Viterra Inc.’s quarterly profit fell 30 per cent, pulled down by lower world grain prices, Canada’s biggest grain handler said June 9, but earnings per share narrowly beat expectations. Canadian farmers moved lower volumes of their crops, reflecting a smaller harvest, which dampened Viterra’s grain-handling revenues, but that reduction was somewhat offset by better sales of agri-products such as seed and fertilizer.

Locking in supply:

Warburtons, Britain’s largest bakery brand, announced June 9 a five-year extension to its wheat supply contract with farmer co-operative Openfield. It said this was partly in response to high-quality wheat varieties facing competition for acreage from lower-grade varieties used as biofuel feedstocks. “The five-year extension in the contract will ensure (supply) continuity despite what might be happening elsewhere with the dash for biofuels,” said Bob Beard, purchasing director at privately owned Warburtons.

COWS on guard: Hundreds of Kingston, Ontario citizens have signed up to prevent, by civil disobedience if necessary, the government’s plan to sell the dairy herd at the Frontenac Institution prison farm.

The Save Our Prison Farms campaign established Citizens On Watch Stations (COWS) around the Frontenac Institution starting June 14 to monitor the heritage dairy herd there. The government has announced it plans to sell the 300-head herd, including 130 milking cows, in the next couple of weeks.

– NFU release

CLA fighting “globesity”:

A new study led by University of Alberta researchers is looking into the promise of natural conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to fight obesity and related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

“The knowledge from this study will give us a clearer picture not only of the benefits of natural CLA and related VA but also the mechanisms that underlie those benefits,” says Dr. Spencer Proctor, director of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at the Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition (AIHN). – Meristem release Ethanol eats corn: The rebounding U. S. fuel ethanol industry will use an additional 250 million bushels of corn through the next 15 months, the government said June 10. Despite its forecasts of record-setting crops two years in a row, the U. S. Agriculture Department estimated a corn stockpile of 1.603 billion bushels when this marketing year ends on Aug. 31, below trade forecasts of 1.714 billion bushels.

USDA forecast 2010-11 corn ending stocks of 1.573 billion bushels, or 245 million bushels – 13 per cent – less than it forecast in May. – Reuters

Global warming cost:

Increased melting of glaciers and snow in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau threatens the food security of millions of people in Asia, a study shows. A team of Dutch scientists studied the impacts of climate change on five major Asian rivers on which about 1.4 billion people, roughly a fifth of humanity, depend for water to drink and to irrigate crops.

The team conducted a detailed analysis looking at the importance of meltwater, observed changes to glaciers and the effects of global warming on the water supply.

Seeding incomplete:

Planting is just over two-thirds complete in Saskatchewan at a time when it’s traditionally almost done, the provincial government said June 10. Most of the province has very wet soil, with many areas seeing little seeding in the past three weeks.

Since April 1, many areas have precipitation totals over seven inches, with some over 11 inches. Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated 56 per cent surplus, 44 per cent adequate. Crop damage has occurred mostly due to flooding and frost.



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