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More Crops Briefs, Jan. 26

Viterra shares stumble after disappointing Q4

Reuters / Shares of Viterra fell sharply after the grain handler reported disappointing quarterly results.

The company reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings of three cents a share, although revenue of $3.1 billion topped expectations. CEO Mayo Schmidt said the results were “definitely disappointing.”

However, for the year, Viterra’s profit jumped 83 per cent to $265 million and the company also boosted its semi-annual dividend by 50 per cent.

Viterra said on Wednesday that global grain supply and demand fundamentals look strong for 2012 and that the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly this year will add to its bottom line.

Drought hits Ukrainian crops

Kiev / Reuters / About a third of Ukraine’s winter grain crops are in poor condition as of mid-January due to a severe drought that hit the country during sowing, according to analyst UkrAgroConsult.

Some 83.3 per cent of the sown area had sprouted, down from more than 90 per cent at the same date a year earlier. One-third of the crops are in poor condition.

“No sprouts have come up on an area of 1.402 million hectares and, specialists believe, this area is subject to reseeding, because all viable seeds germinated in the soil and sprouted during the warm December period,” the consultancy said.

France upholds ban on Monsanto GM maize

Paris / Reuters / The French government will continue a ban on a strain of genetically modified maize developed by U.S. biotech firm Monsanto, even though France’s highest court overturned the moratorium last year.

In November, France’s highest court overturned the 2008 ban on MON810, an insect-resistant strain of maize sold in several European countries. The court ruled the government had not produced enough evidence to prove it posed a significant risk to health or the environment.

However, President Nicolas Sarkozy, facing a tough battle for re-election in April, had responded by saying that the government would study ways of extending the ban, invoking the need to defend farmers’ health.



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