In Brief… – for Nov. 4, 2010

Russian drought:Extreme drought that ravaged Russia’s grain crop this summer could also impact production during the winter season, the Financial Timesreported Oct. 28, quoting the country’s agriculture minister. Russian farmers were expected to plant about 15.5 million ha of winter grain crop this year, down from earlier forecast of 18 million hectares, Elena Skyrnnik was quoted as saying. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Russia had extended its grain export embargo until July but said the country has enough grain to meet its own needs. Not on the list:China has rejected a cargo of U. S. corn after finding it contained an unsanctioned genetically modified strain, sources said Oct. 29. “China only allows 11 varieties of GM corn to be imported to the country, and the cargo was found with GM material outside the 11 varieties,” said the source. He said it was supplied by a Japanese trading house.

If confirmed, this would be China’s first-ever rejection of a U. S. corn cargo, and it could deepen a trade spat with the United States and a bigger diplomatic row with Japan. Get moving:The presidents of Wild Rose Agricultural Producers of Alberta (WRAP), the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) and Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba (KAP) appealed to governments last week to stop waiting and get moving on assistance for struggling cattle producers. “Beef producers will be forced to exit the industry if no solutions present themselves soon,” said Rob Brunel, KAP president. “We definitely don’t want to see a ‘2010 version’ of the downsizing in the hog sector like the one we recently experienced.”– Staff Good to go:The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted restrictions against imports of Canadian canola meal from a Bunge Ltd. plant in Altona, easing a situation that has sharply cut Canadian exports to the United States over health concerns. The FDA has removed the plant from its online list of plants that are on import-alert status due to concerns about salmonella bacteria in animal feeds, Bunge spokeswoman Deb Seidel confirmed to Reuters Oct. 29. The restrictions allowed U. S. inspectors to detain shipments without physically examining them. –Reuters Correction:Under BASF’s Clearfield Commitment when refunds are made they work out to around $3 an acre, depending on the canolaseeding rate. Incorrect information appeared in the Oct. 28 issue of the Manitoba Co-operator.Staff PROs rise again:Riding a “significant agricultural commodity rally” spurred by drastic cuts to the U. S. corn yield outlook, Prairie wheat values continue to rise in the Canadian Wheat Board’s latest pool return outlook (PRO).

The October PRO values for milling wheats are mostly up $8 per tonne over Sept. Durum values in the October PRO are up $15-$16 per tonne. The October PRO value for No. 1 CW feed barley, Pool A, is up $5 per tonne at $232 ($5.05/bu.). PRO values for designated barley remained flat at $260 per tonne ($5.66/bu.).– Staff

Code of practice update:

The code of practice for the care and handling of beef cattle will be updated through the National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) Code of Practice development process, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says. CCA spokesman Ryder Lee said the code renewal process allows for the latest scientific advancements to be incorporated. “Focusing on positive outcomes for animals should lead to a code that is well used by producers, and assure stakeholders that beef cattle are well cared for by Canadian ranchers and farmers,” he said. – Staff Retire the farmer, not the plate:Saskatchewan’s Crown auto insurer has set up public meetings to discuss allowing retired farmers, farmers’ dependants, farm corporation owners and others the use of “F” (farm) licence plates on their vehicles. Because farm vehicles travel fewer kilometres and run on roads where there’s less traffic and fewer collisions, Saskatchewan’s F-class plates provide lower registration fees and SGI premiums for most farm trucks, trailers and large vans (larger than the “one-ton” models). They can also qualify for a fuel tax exemption.– Staff

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