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In Brief… – for Sep. 15, 2011

Dryness dims Argentine wheat outlook:Much of Argentina s wheat belt is getting dry, with frosts hampering the healthy development of 2011-12 crops in some northern areas, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said last week. Without moisture on surface soils, the outlook for wheat yields is gradually deteriorating in the western crop belt, the exchange said in its weekly crop progress report. Most forecasts do not point to rain, except for a few millimetres of isolated showers in northern areas, it added.

VCMI comes to a close:

The Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council (MRAC) has officially wound up its Value Chain Manitoba Initiative. Four value chains were successfully created under the program, including the organic dairy value chain, a produce value chain linking growers with buyers, an organic sunflower value chain linking growers with organic bakeries, and the Manitoba lamb value chain linking producers with fresh lamb buyers. All four projects have now wrapped up under VCMI, but some of the value chain participants continue to work together.

Corn rootworm resistance:

Monsanto is working with a handful of farmers to rein in problems with corn pests that appear to be growing resistant to the company s popular corn seed product that is genetically engineered to protect against insect damage. Recent news reports of resistance problems in top corn-producing states of Iowa and Illinois have fuelled investor concerns. But Brett Begemann, Monsanto executive vice-president, said last week that the resistance problems were not new, were not spreading, and were being addressed by the company. Tragic accident near Darlingford:A seven-year-old boy from Winkler died Sept. 9 following an accident with his family s combine. Crystal City RCMP as well as local Emergency Services attended the accident in the RM of Pembina near Darlingford. They said the boy had been riding on a combine with family members. The boy exited the combine and was run over by the machine. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the deceased will not be released.

Kid s lunches a health hazard:A study by a doctoral student at the University of Texas says tests of more than 700 preschoolers packed lunches found that fewer than two per cent of the meats, vegetables and dairy products were cool enough to be safe. It was a shock when we discovered that more than 90 per cent of the perishable items in these packed lunches were kept at unsafe temperatures, the author said. The U.S. Center for Disease Control says that perishable foods kept between 4 to 60 C for more than two hours are no longer safe to eat.

CFIA horse anemia strategy

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to launch a review of its nationwide control program against equine infectious anemia, a potentially fatal viral disease affecting horses, donkeys and mules. Most infected horses show no clinical signs of disease but remain carriers for life. As there is no effective treatment for EIA and no vaccine to prevent it, the disease can be successfully controlled by testing and the elimination of reactors including unapparent ones, the CFIA said in a release.

USDA trims U.S. corn yield

The USDA on Monday pegged U.S. corn yield this year at 148.1 bushels per acre, compared with trade estimates for 149.1 bushels and its August estimate of 153. It forecast corn production at 12.497 billion bushels, compared with trade estimates for 12.519 billion and its August view of 12.914 billion. It pegged soybean yield at 41.8 bushels, compared with trade estimates for 41.039 and its August estimate of 41.4. Soybean production was pegged at 3.085 billion bushels, compared with trade estimates for 3.032 billion bushels and its August estimate of 3.056 billion. Ag input sales boost Viterra:Favourable weather on the Prairies during Viterra s third fiscal quarter helped spur a substantial rise in farmers spending with the grain giant on fertilizer and other ag inputs. The Calgary-based grain handler last week reported a profit of $123.25 million on $3.554 billion in sales and other revenues for its third quarter ending July 31, almost double the $65.54 million profit on its $2.493 billion gross in the year-earlier period. Grain handling and marketing margins were also up in the company s North American business

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