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THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2012 VOL. 90 | NO. 1 | $3.75 BAGGING IT UP | SERVING WESTERN CANADIAN FARM FAMILIES SINCE 1923 | THE GRAIN BIN ALTERNATIVE P28 WWW.PRODUCER.COM RESEARCH | PLANT BREEDING TOP 10 WEATHER EVENTS FOR 2011 Breeders aim to ramp up plants’ ability to fight stress • Historic flooding in the West • Fire in Slave Lake, Alta. • Flooding on Quebec’s Richelieu River • Doom to boom on the farm • Tornado in Goderich, Ont. • Hurricanes and tropical storms Irene, Katia and Ophelia in Atlantic Canada Great summer in Eastern Canada, • bad summer on coasts • Record low Arctic sea ice • Groundhog Day blizzard in Eastern Canada • Wicked winds in southern Alberta BY DAN YATES SASKATOON NEWSROOM Cutline: adipiscing elit sed headline goes dolo Os auguerilit iriustiscin ex eros ero odignibh exero dood ea | PHOTO CREDIT AFTER BAR Storm clouds were a common sight in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, making flooding the top weather event in Canada in 2011. | FILE PHOTO WEATHER | 2011 IN REVIEW A recent discovery at the University of California, Riverside, could help researchers develop new droughttolerant crops. The work coming out of Sean Cutler’s laboratory is still new, but it may provide the agriculture industry with a blueprint for further innovations that allow farmers worldwide to get the most out of crops growing under less-than-ideal conditions. A plant that encounters drought tries to cope with the stress by ceasing growth and reducing water loss and consumption. In short, it has a defence mechanism to help it survive the stress. Cutler’s team has discovered how to heighten that response. “If we want to feed the 10 billion people that we’re going to have in the near future, we need to be actively making discoveries like this that create new options down the line,” said Cutler, an associate professor of plant cell biology at the university. access=subscriber section=news,none,none Rain, tornadoes, wind | Manitoba’s ‘flood that wouldn’t end’ tops the weather event list BY BARB GLEN LETHBRIDGE BUREAU It will come as no surprise to Manitoba and Saskatchewan farmers that last year’s floods ranked as the number one weather event of 2011. In his 16th annual listing of Canada’s top 10 weather events, Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said he could have compiled 10 top weather stories from this event alone. “It was like the flood that wouldn’t end,” he said. “It was the winter flood that became the spring flood that became the summer flood.” Phillips said water levels on Manitoba’s Assiniboine River reached one in 330 year levels, and the high water on Lake Manitoba was a one in 2,100 year event. A record number of acres were flooded and various levels of government spent nearly $1 billion fighting spreading waters and compensating victims. That was part of the cost that made 2011 the second most expensive year ever recorded in terms of insurance payouts and damage. The most expensive was 1998, when Eastern Canada was hit with an ice storm. Number two on the 2011 weather list, the fire that devastated Slave Lake, Alta., accounted for $700 million in payouts and another $400 in uninsured losses. “The insurance industry actually says that this is probably the largest number of private homes lost from a single event in Canadian history,” Phillips said. “And what we do know is that this is the second most expensive disaster in Canadian history from an insurance point of view.” Arson is indicated as the cause of the disaster, but Phillips said dry conditions and strong winds contributed to its scope. The May 15 fire was followed several weeks later by 17 consecutive days of rain. The 200 millimetres that fell were followed three weeks after that by another 100 mm. “They thought it was biblical. I mean, fires and floods and where were the locusts? That’s what the thinking was.” Agriculture was the primary beneficiary of the number four event on the list : the cool and wet prairie spring that transformed into a hot summer and long, warm harvest season. Phillips referred to it as “doom to boom.” SEE MOTHER NATURE, PAGE 2 » SHOW US YOUR TANDEM TRUCK. AND YOU CAN WIN ONE. HURRY! Contest closes January 31, 2012. Enter at Trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. The Western Producer 11/12-17287-3 TM TM SEE BREEDERS, PAGE 2 » u|xhHEEJBy00001pzYv!:, JANUARY 5, 2012 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Box 2500, Saskatoon, SK. S7K 2C4 The Western Producer is published in Saskatoon by Western Producer Publications, which is owned by GVIC Communications Inc. Publisher, Larry Hertz Publications Mail Agreement No. 40069240; Registration No. 10676 Mother Nature goes wild in 2011

January 5, 2012 - The Western Producer

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