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Markets

Ukraine lifts wheat export limits

KIEV, Ukraine (Reuters) — Ukraine’s government has lifted restrictions on wheat exports introduced last year after a sharp drop in the harvest, the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation lobby group said after a meeting last week between traders and officials.

“We have agreed to remove restrictions on wheat exports from today,” said UAC director Serhiy Stoyanov.

“But (additional export) volumes will not exceed 200,000 tonnes out of which 80,000 are already in ports. Millers’ prices are higher than those of exporters.”

Last September, the ministry and traders’ unions agreed to cap 2012-13 export volumes after a drought and a spike in foreign demand threatened to leave Ukraine without enough grain for domestic consumption.

Agbusiness

Meat company sells side business

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (Reuters) — Dutch meat producer Vion plans to sell its ingredients division, which derives products such as gelatin from the main meat processing business in a fresh attempt to cut its debt.

Owned by ZLTO, a Dutch agricultural and horticultural association, Vion made an operating profit of $117 million in 2011, the most recent year for which financial results have been published.

Vion Food, the main meat business, has 14,000 employees while Vion Ingredients has 6,000 staff.

Separate financial details for the two businesses are not disclosed.

Markets

Forecaster ups corn, soybean outlook

CHICAGO, April 24 (Reuters) — Crop forecaster Lanworth said last week that it raised its outlook for 2013-14 U.S. corn and soybean production due to recent rains that boosted yield expectations.

Lanworth said it expects the U.S. corn harvest to be 13.93 billion bushels, up from its previous outlook of 13.72 billion issued two weeks ago.

It upped its soybean production view to 3.42 billion bu. from 3.38 billion.

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Recent rains across the U.S. corn belt also caused Lanworth to cut expectations for corn acreage in places like North Dakota, Kansas and South Dakota, but the better soil moisture was expected to more than make up for the reduced seedings.

Corn yields were seen at 158.1 bu. per acre, up from 155.8 bu. per acre, with the biggest gains coming in Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

U.S. wheat production for the 2013-14 crop year was seen at 2.007 billion bu., slightly lower than its previous estimate of 2.02 billion.

Lanworth also set its forecast for 2013-14 Australian wheat production at 25 million tonnes, a 13 percent jump from a year ago.

Soil moisture at or above normal in New South Wales, Western Australia, and Queensland keyed the increase.

In South America, Lanworth raised its estimate of 2012-13 corn production in Brazil to 77.1 million tonnes from 76.1 million due to satellite imagery that showed a rapid increase in crop vegetation density.

It also slightly increased its forecast of 2013-14 China corn production to 217 million tonnes from 216 million and 2013-14 Russian wheat production to 50.8 million tonnes from 50.4 million.

Seed

Farmers provided with free seed, fertilizer

DHAKA, Bangladesh (Reuters) — Bangladesh will give its farmers free fertilizer and seeds to boost cultivation of rice watered by rain and so protect the environment.

Bangladesh, the world’s fourth biggest rice producer, consumes almost all its production at home. In January, amid soaring rice prices, it backtracked on a plan to scrap a four-year old ban on rice exports.

The stimulus package, worth nearly $5.6 million, would cover more than 300,000 farmers to help produce an additional 111,000 tonnes of a variety called Aus grown during the May to August season.

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Bangladesh’s main rice variety, Boro, whose output last year was 18.76 million tonnes, needs extensive irrigation, which causes water levels to drop.

Bangladesh aims to produce more than 35 million tonnes of rice, including 2.5 million tonnes of Aus, in the current year, up from nearly 34 million in the previous year.

Market insiders blame hoarding by millers and traders for a rise in domestic prices in recent months, despite good crops and stocks.

The south Asian country produces enough rice to feed its population of 160 million, but often needs imports to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities such as floods or droughts.

Markets

Brazil works to speed deliveries

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) — Emergency measures to better organize the arrival of trucks at Brazil’s main Santos port have been announced after months of intense congestion crippled the export of corn and soybeans.

The port’s terminals have been assigned specific unloading schedules, the country’s port authority said. Terminals that fail to respect their time slots will be fined, it added.

The measures were approved during an emergency meeting with customs, traffic police and terminal operators last week on a day when the main highway leading to Santos port had a 14 kilometre long line of trucks.

Brazil’s grain exports have been delayed for months following record harvests of corn and soybeans.

The country’s old and overburdened infrastructure, already strained after a normal harvest, have been unable to handle the volumes of freight rushing to port.

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