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In Brief… – for Sep. 3, 2009

White mould spotted in soybeans:

White mould (sclerotinia) is showing up in some Manitoba soybean fields. There are no registered fungicides for control. The disease doesn’t usually reduce soybean yields by that much, according to John McGregor, a farm production adviser with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. However, he adds, fields with a severe infection should not be planted to soybeans or other susceptible crops (canola, sunflowers) again for four years. With tighter rotations there’s a good risk the disease will reappear. Argentine farmers walk the line: Argentina’s farmers began a strike on Friday and threatened to extend the protest, reviving a dispute over government policy that hit local financial markets last year. Farmers will refuse to sell livestock and grains during the eight-day strike, which some growers are already demanding be prolonged for another four days. The latest protest was triggered by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s veto of part of a drought-aid law that would have exempted farmers from export levies in some of the worst-affected regions. Funding delivered for Husky: A federal biofuels incentive fund that pledged support in February for Husky Energy’s expanded ethanol plant at Minnedosa has committed to $72.8 million for the facility. Federal Treasury Board president and Provencher MP Vic Toews announced the funding Aug. 24. Calgary-based Husky, one of Canada’s largest energy firms, will get the funds by way of the $1.5 billion, nine-year federal ecoEnergy for Biofuels program. Husky in 2007 expanded the Minnedosa facility’s nameplate production capacity to 130 million litres of ethanol per year, up from 10 million.

BASF invests in Brazil:

The Brazilian unit of BASF said Monday it will invest 50.1 million euros (about C$78.4 million) to build new plants and expand the company’s existing agrochemicals units in Guaratingueta, which should boost the complex’s capacity by 50 per cent. BASF said investments started in 2008 and will continue into 2010. Brazil, which has the world’s largest reserve of arable land, is expected by many to replace the U. S. as the biggest market for agricultural products and to become the world’s main source of agricultural supply.

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