Country 105

Country 105


Agriculture Report

Debt Warning for Farmers

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Economist predicts rates could rise, same with loonie.


Length:

An economist says Canadian farmers should brace for higher interest rates.

Sal Guatieri of the Bank of Montreal says rates could rise by about 4 percentage points over the next 2 and a half years.

He says the rising rates could pose a problem for debt-leveraged farmers.

Guatieri says they expect the Canadian dollar will climb a few cents above parity with the U-S dollar in the second half of the year, and remain there for at least a year.

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Canada has secured an extension that will allow canola producers to export their 2010 canola crops to China.

Last fall, China imposed restrictions on exports of Canadian canola seed because of concerns over blackleg.

Agriculture Canada negotiated similar measures for the 2009 crop year.

Canola is one of Canada's most valuable exports to China.

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The annual Canadian Wheat Board producer survey suggests wheat farmers are divided on whether they want to end the board's marketing monopoly.

The wheat survey shows 52 per cent of respondents support either marketing choice or an open market and 48 per cent continue to support the monopoly.

On barley, 58 per cent of respondents support marketing choice or an open market and 34 per cent support a monopoly.

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Farm groups say Prairie producers are paying more than their fair share for shipping their crops by rail.

They cite a new study that suggests the overpayments amount to 200 million dollars per year.

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Premiers in Western Canada want the federal government to help producers who can't seed their fields because of wet conditions.

Heavy rains earlier this month have kept about 30 per cent of cropland unseeded in Saskatchewan.

In Manitoba the number is closer to 15 per cent and parts of Alberta are too wet as well.

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Wet weather across the Prairies could have a big impact on how much canola is planted this year.

One market analyst says less than half the crop has been seeded.

Farmers intended to plant about 17 million acres of canola this spring but now it looks like that total could be as low as 12 million.

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And the fungal disease 'late blight' has been discovered on tomato seedlings in Manitoba.

This fungus is a serious disease for vegetables in the nightshade family that includes tomatoes and potatoes.

The retail outlets involved have stopped selling the tomato plants -- and there is concern in the potato industry.


 

 


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