Country 105

 

     
Country 105

Country 105


Agriculture Report

U of G Looks for Truly Biodegradable Plastic

By Liny Lamberink

Guelph Ridgetown Campus is growing vegetables through strips of plastic film.


Length: 1:04

Rabobank says the global dairy pie is shrinking.
    
Strategist Kevin Bellamy reports the top 20 dairies in the world had combined sales of 194 billion dollars U-S in 2015, down 13 per cent from 2014.
    
This year's Rabobank Global Dairy Top 20 list has Nestle, Lactalis and Danone as the top three -- unchanged from a year ago.
    
Two Canadian-based dairies made the list -- Saputo and Agropur.

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Some test plots at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus in Ontario are growing peppers and other vegetables through strips of plastic film.
   
Research professor John Zandstra says the experiment is not just looking at the crops -- it is trying to find a truly biodegradable plastic.
   
He says plastic films are used to retain heat in the spring, conserve moisture and suppress weeds, but there is a significant cost to picking them up and disposing of them when the growing season is over.
   
Plastic manufacturers are looking for something that truly breaks down instead of simply breaking down into smaller pieces like first attempts a number of years ago. 

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Agrium Incorporated will acquire 18 retail locations throughout the U.S. Midwest in several states bordering Canada.
    
The seller is Cargill AgHorizons, part of one of North America's largest grain and agricultural products businesses.
    
The transaction doesn't involve Cargill's Canadian retail business.
    
Calgary-based Agrium says the agricultural retail outlets generate about 150 million dollars per year in revenue but it didn't announce what it will pay for them. 

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A study finds that a commonly used insecticide kills much of the sperm created by male drone honey bees, one reason why the bees are dwindling.
   
The study says the class of insecticide called neonicotinoids didn't kill the drones.
   
But bees that ate treated pollen produced 39 per cent less live sperm than those that didn't, according to a controlled experiment by Swiss researchers published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
   
It essentially acted as an accidental contraceptive on the drones, whose main job is to mate with the queen -- but not one that prevented complete reproduction, just making it tougher, said Lars Straub, lead author of the study at the University of Bern.
   
Drones, which are the product of unfertilized eggs, don't gather nectar or pollen and don't sting; they die after mating. 

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Nominations are now open for the 2016 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award.
    
Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett says the award is a chance to recognize some of the innovative and long-term solutions Canadian farmers are implementing to support the conservation of our pollinator species.
    
He suggests it also encourages discussion about the vital impact pollinators have on our ecosystem.
    
Nominations are open until August 12th. 

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The US government is spending more than 4 million dollars to complete a plan to help Maine's blueberry industry by buying surplus crop.
   
The Department of Agriculture said in April it would buy up to 13 million dollars in wild blueberries to help with falling prices and over-supply.

Wild blueberries are one of Maine's signature exports, and recent years of large harvests have left the industry with excess berries.
   
The U-S-D-A has bought 8-point-6 million dollars in blueberries, the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine said. 


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