In Brief… – for Oct. 7, 2010

Deer ticks now across province:The deer ticks known to harbour the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can now be found throughout Manitoba, including their “well-established” population in the southeast, according to U of M entomologist Terry Galloway. Until this season’s fieldwork is done, it’s not known if deer tick populations have also “established” themselves in other parts of the province, or if it’s just that some ticks have been detected. About 10 per cent of deer ticks tested are found to have the bacteria, Galloway said. The species is most active in the fall until after freeze-up. Ritz issues holiday challenge:Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Turkey Farmers of Canada chair Mark Davies last week announced a donation of Canadian turkeys to Food Banks Canada, the national body representing the food bank community. “As Canadians we have much to be thankful for, particularly the hard work of farmers and producers, like those with Turkey Farmers of Canada, who deliver high-quality food to our grocery stores, said Ritz. “Today, I challenge everyone to fill up an extra plate this holiday season by donating some great Canadian agriculture to their local food bank.” WHS urges sow-stall

phase-out:The Winnipeg Humane Society used World Farm Animals Day, held Oct. 2, as the occasion to call for a province-wide, government-backed phase-out of sow stalls in Manitoba hog barns. “There is definitely a role for the government… to play in getting rid of sow stalls,” WHS board member John Youngman said. “Like Europe, the (province) could implement a reasonable phase-out period for sow stalls. They could also offer incentives to breeders who voluntarily choose to replace cages with free-run systems.” Plant scientist honoured in Alberta:The late Ian Morrison, a former department head of plant science at the University of Manitoba and former dean of agriculture, forestry and home economics at the University of Alberta, was named posthumously to the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame in Edmonton on Oct. 1. Organizers cited Morrison, who died in January 2006 at age 58, as “a tireless steward of the land, whose work (against) herbicide-resistant weeds resulted in considerable savings in herbicide and application costs.”

Contest seeks perfect pasta pics:The Canadian Wheat Board has launched the Picture Perfect Pasta photo contest, in which Canadians are asked to submit photos of themselves and their favourite pasta. “Funny, cute, even ‘saucy’ photos are encouraged,” the CWB said in a release. Details on how to enter the contest, which runs until World Pasta Day on Oct. 25, are available online at prairiewheat.ca. The contest, meant to promote the expertise of the Prairies’ “spaghetti farmers,” is also being promoted at The Old Spaghetti Factory’s 13 restaurants from Vancouver to Toronto.

Australia clears AWB sale:

Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has granted clearance to Canadian fertilizer and farm retail firm Agrium to buy AWB Ltd., the former Australian Wheat Board. Agrium reports FIRB has “no objections” to Agrium’s proposal in terms of the Australian government’s foreign investment policy. Other regulatory, shareholder and court approvals are still pending, the Calgary company said Monday. Correction:The European Union’s tolerance for traces of CDC Triffid in shipments of Canadian flax is 0.01 per cent. Incorrect information appeared in the story headlined “Know what you grow” in the Sept. 16Co-operator. Quality issues dog Manitoba spuds:Wet conditions that hit Manitoba last month will have a large impact on the quality of its potato crop, according to provincial potato specialist Brian Wilson. “The potatoes that have been harvested haven’t been the ones to see wet conditions,” he said. “We’re well into harvest, but producers are busy digging, and there will be a wide range of where we are at in terms of quality.” When or if severe frost hits, it will also affects quality in terms of fried colour and restorability, he said. Also, crops seeded earlier will end up having better yields.– RNI Advance payment deadline stayed:Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on Monday announced a stay of default on the repayment of advances until Jan. 31, 2011 for crop producers in Manitoba, B. C., Saskatchewan and Alberta who got a 2009 advance through the Canadian Canola Growers Association. The stay came into effect as of Oct. 1, 2010, and farmers of over 25 crops, including canola, oats, flax, rye, mustard, buckwheat, and canary seed are eligible. Crop farmers who received a 2009 APP advance from the CCGA and are “adversely affected by the ongoing wet conditions” are eligible for the stay.

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