OTA levels in wheat would be too high under proposed standard

Chinese crops slow

BEIJING, China (Reuters) – Adverse weather has hit China’s wheat and rapeseed crops and slowed plantings of corn and soybeans in some areas, although these problems are so far seen as having only a small impact.

Lower-than-normal temperatures this spring have hurt China’s winter wheat crop in the north while heavy mid-April snows could delay planting of corn and soybean in the largest growing area in the northeast, government bodies said.

Weather problems and reduced acreage could reduce the rapeseed harvest by 1-1.5 million tonnes from last year.

Analyst Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consulting Co. Ltd. estimated China’s winter wheat output could fall by less than one percent from 106 million tonnes last year, adding the winter crop in the largest area of Henan was growing well.

Saudi alters wheat expectations

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has modified its wheat import quality specifications that will allow imports from Australia, the Western Australian state government said.

The changes, to allow lower protein levels and a small tolerance for ergot fungus mean that wheat from Western Australia, the country’s top grain exporting state, can take part in tenders issued by Saudi Arabia’s Grains Silos and Flour Mills Organization.

Livestock sales halted

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) – Argentine ranchers are expected to stop livestock sales for two days later this week in support of a protest by meat packing workers over government policy in the beef market, farm leaders said.

The protest, slated for April 29-30 after deadlines for this issue, will not affect the country’s key grains shipments. But it could fuel tensions between the government and farmers, who are angry over beef export controls imposed in recent months to tame soaring steak prices.

Argentine farmers staged a wave of commercial strikes during 2008 and 2009, paralyzing the nation’s grains and livestock trade for weeks at a time and rattling local financial markets.

Fight against hunger

BRUSSELS, Belgium (Reuters) – The European Union and other major aid donors must increase support for small-scale farms operated by women in developing countries if they are to meet the goal of halving hunger by 2015, said ActionAid an international anti-poverty agency.

Small farmers, the majority of whom are women, produce about half the world’s food supply and 90 percent of all food grown in Africa.

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