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PotashCorp profit jumps:

Saskatoon-based PotashCorp reported a fourth-quarter profit that more than doubled to $788 million last Thursday and its shares surged even though it issued weaker-than-expected forecasts for 2009. The world’s biggest fertilizer company said it sees 2009 potash shipments flat with 2008 or slightly lower even though it expects increased global demand in the second quarter. Morningstar analyst Ben Johnson said PotashCorp’s outlook suggests confidence that high potash prices will hold through the course of the 2009 growing season.

Durum up in January PROs:

The Canadian Wheat Board’s January 2008-09 pool return outlook is unchanged for most wheats and all barleys. Most grades of durum are up $5 per tonne over the December PRO; No. 1 CWAD 13.0 sits at $360 per tonne. “Lower-priced competition” has pressured PROs for some minor classes of wheat: No. 1 Soft White Spring (CWSWS) is down $6 from December, at $227 per tonne, while No. 1 Red Winter (CWRW) is down $5 at $248. No. 1 CWRW (Select 11.5) is up $1 at $268 per tonne. Low ocean freight rates have offset volatile world currency relationships, the CWB said. Cellulosic ethanol work funded: Ottawa has pledged $19.9 million to connect researchers across the country in developing cost-effective cellulosic ethanol, made from farm or forestry biomass. The funding, flowing through the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP), will go to the Cellulosic Biofuels Network (CBN), which includes researchers from the Universities of Saskatchewan, Alberta and others. An energy-efficient and commercially cost-effective process to make ethanol from inedible plant wastes rather than food or feed crops is seen by many as the brass ring in ethanol research. B. C. agriculture minister dies: Memorial services were to be held Jan. 24 in Courtenay, B. C. for that province’s minister of agriculture and lands. Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen died suddenly in Victoria on Jan. 20, reportedly of a heart attack. Hagen, 68, had served as minister in 10 different provincial departments in Bill Vander Zalm’s Social Credit and Gordon Campbell’s Liberal governments and began a second stint as agriculture minister in June 2008. Public Safety Minister John van Dongen will serve as the province’s interim agriculture minister.

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