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In Brief… – for May. 13, 2010

April showers: Weather systems since April 28 in southern Manitoba produced more rain in one week than normally falls in April and May combined, Manitoba Water Stewardship said in a bulletin last week warning of rising river levels. Significant flooding was not expected.

Most areas of southern Manitoba received between 25 millimetres and 40 millimetres of rain, with 100 mm to 135 mm in the higher grounds of the Duck and Porcupine mountain areas. That was followed by a second storm May 4, which dumped another 15 mm to 40 mm across the province. Happy birthday: Manitoba will be celebrating its 140th birthday May 12 and Neepawa is hosting the official ceremonies. Neepawa was chosen in the “Celebrate Manitoba Day” contest last year by Manitoba Homecoming 2010.

Events start Wednesday with Manitoba’s official birthday party, comedy Thursday night, and a free social Friday night. It ends Saturday night with a performance by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration Team and World’s Largest Social featuring Kenny Shields and Streetheart, Sierra Noble and Katherine Penfold. Diploma grads: The University of Manitoba awarded 64 diplomas in agriculture to graduates from the two-year program this year. Jonah Genik of Gilbert Plains received the Governor General’s Medal at the April 30 ceremony. The award is given to the graduate with the highest standing in general proficiency in the two-year diploma program in agriculture. William Jones of Landmark was the recipient of the President’s Medal, given annually to a student who combines scholarship with outstanding qualities of leadership. Good potential: Wheat fields in central Kansas show good yield potential with no signs of disease, crop scouts on one leg of an annual field inspection tour said May 4. Scouts travelling the route through Dickinson, Marion and McPherson counties checked six fields and calculated an average yield potential of 44.1 bushels per acre (bpa). Last year, scouts travelling along the same route on the Wheat Quality Council tour calculated an average yield of 38 bushels.

Incomprehensible: Calling an Arkansas court decision “incomprehensible,” Bayer CropScience will appeal an April 15 ruling that awards $6 million to 14 rice farmers along with an additional $42 million in punitive damages.

The farmers alleged economic loss stemming from traces of an unapproved genetically modified long grain rice found in the handling system in 2005. The find resulted in some countries imposing restrictions on long grain rice imports. The company has already paid out $5.8 million in settlements with others reached out of court.

Trade talks back in play:

The European Commission is reviving stalled negotiations aimed at reaching a trade liberalization pact with the Mercosur group of countries. “The European Commission has decided to relaunch the talks,” an official of the executive arm of the 27-nation bloc said.

Talks to liberalize trade and strengthen co-operation between the European Union and South American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay began over a decade ago, but were suspended in 2004 over trade differences. – Reuters Dairy barn fire: A Steinbacharea family is vowing to rebuild after fire swept through their dairy operation May 4, killing 450 cows and causing an estimated $8.5 million in damages. Only 30 calves were saved after the blaze broke out, spreading rapidly through the ventilation system. RCMP says the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is not considered suspicious. The operation is owned by Rudolf Hausammann and his family, who immigrated from Switzerland 28 years ago. Hog barn blaze: Three hog barns and an estimated 7,500 pigs were destroyed in a $6-million blaze that swept through a hog operation owned by ProVista Agriculture near Zhoda, Man. May 7.

Fire crews were unable to save the buildings from the rapidly spreading fire, Steinbach RCMP said. The cause is still under investigation. According to its website, ProVista is owned by Arthur and Harold Rempel and operates 14 hog operations in southeastern Manitoba.

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