Country 105

 

     
Country 105

Country 105


Agriculture Report

Farmers Want Better Weather

By

Dry, cold weather is impacting cattle feed and crops.


Length:

There is a connection between the slumping automobile industry and the tight margins in the beef packing business.

There are 4 major uses for cow hides -- shoes, clothing, furniture and automobiles.

A spokesperson for X-L Foods -- the largest Canadian owned beef packer -- says cow hide values have dropped 80 per cent since September.

Brian Nilsson says hides are a major revenue stream for packers, which help to cover operating costs.

They now fetch about 8 to 10 dollars each.

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Cattle feed could be in short supply this summer as drought and cooler than normal temperatures has hit a big swatch of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Bill McMurtry, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says a huge area has received only about 40 per cent of the normal rain and snow fall and the temperatures have been colder than normal as well.

An Agriculture Canada official says some ranchers are still having to feed their cattle as if it were winter.

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Cold weather is hammering crops on the Prairies.

The Canadian Wheat Board says production of wheat, durum and barley is expected to drop by almost 27 per cent from last year.

The Board's Bruce Burnett says yields will be down as well, to 33.4 bushels per acre.

The only consolation is that production in other countries -- particularly the U-S and Argentina -- is down as well.

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The National Farmers Union says fertilizer and chemical companies are taking far too much income from farmers pockets.

The N-F-U says the share of the wealth from an acre of farmland going to farm input and service corporations is 266 times larger than the share producers receive.

The group is urging the government to halt agribusiness mergers, ban captive supply, and roll back seed patenting and use restrictions.

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A new survey says fertilizer costs are continuing to skyrocket.

The report from Keystone Agriculture Producers says the price of potash, which is used to make fertilizer, has increased 300 per cent over the last three years.

KAP president Ian Wishart calls the price increase totally unacceptable.

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Crop prices could rise this year because of dwindling supplies of U-S corn and soybeans.

The news is raising fears of grain shortages and higher food costs for consumers.

The U-S Agriculture Department says reserve grain supplies from last year's harvest are low -- with soybeans at their shallowest level in more than 25 years.

And this year's crop isn't expected to replenish grain bins.

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Blood tests have ruled out that a herd of pigs in Alberta was infected with swine flu by a carpenter who worked for half a day on the farm before heading home with flu-like illness.

Alberta Health spokesman Howard May says they are starting to believe they may never find out how the virus made its way into the herd, the only pigs anywhere in the world to have tested positive for the new virus to this point.

 


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