Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dr. John Walton dead at 67

Dr. John Walton who organized teams from the University of Guelph to compete at the annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge competitions, has died of lymphoma. He was 67.

He earned his doctorate from the University of Reading in England, immigrated in 1979 to join the faculty of animal and poultry science at the University of Guelph, was promoted from assistant to associate professor in 1985 and served as full professor from 1990 to 2009.

He specialized in sheep and animals' reproductive performance, shifting to focus on dairy.

He developed a small flock of Charolais sheep on his farm near Guelph.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Valerie, and two children, Tom and Jen, and their spouses and children.

In lieu of a formal service, he asked for a party which will be Sept. 23 at the Puslinch Community Centre. Donations are welcomed for the University of Guelph Dairy Challenge Initiative.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ray Baynton to retire from CKNX

Farm broadcaster Ray Baynton is retiring from CKNX in Wingham.

He has been a farm reporter there for 43 years and since 1976 has been the station’s news director.

He says over the years, there were a number of changes that kept him focused.

Baynton says he would not change anything because every situation was a learning experience.

Four deaths linked to Dole salads

The United States Centres for Disease Control says four people died and 33 people were sickened, many requiring hospital treatment, after eating Dole salads.

It was the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that identified Dole’s processing centre at Springfield, Ill., as the source of Listeria monocytogenes.

The CFIA picked up 55 samples of 12 different Dole salads from retail stores in January and found the same strain of Listeria that had sickened 19 people in the United States and 14 in Canada. At that point one person had died.

The CFIA issued a recall of all Dole salads from the Springfield plant on Jan. 22.

The earliest case of Listeria of the same strain involved in the recall was July 15, 2015, in the United States.

There have been reports that Dole’s own testing identified Listeria in the processing plant as early as March, 2015.

The issues are likely to get a full airing during a class-action lawsuit.

Smithfield investor takes a loss

A Chinese investment group is taking a loss on shares of WH Group Ltd. it bought when the company was taking over Smithfield Foods of Virginia, the world’s largest hog producer and pork packer.

CDH Investments plans to sell about one-third of its holdings in the company for a potential $1.19 billion, below the shares’ initial public offering price, the Financial Times reported from Hong Kong.

WH Group bought Smithfield in 2013.

CDH is one of the longest-running Chinese private equity funds, formed in 2002, and the difficulties in launching the WH Group listing were considered an embarrassment for Hong Kong’s investment banking community, the Financial Times reported.

CDH said it plans to sell a 10.61 percent stake in WH Group at a share price of HK$5.95 a share, below the HK$6.20 price at the IPO, for a loss of $50 million, according to the article.

The $7 billion purchase of Smithfield by WH Group, formerly Shuanghui International, is the largest Chinese purchase of an American company.

Tractor fire ignites Floradale barn

A short in a tractor started a fire that spread to a shed and barn, threatening 41 calves inside.

Four died; the others were rescued.

Fifty Woolwich Township firemen brought the blaze under control. The loss estimate is $225,000.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aged malathion a health risk

Malathion that is more than a year old, especially if it has been exposed to temperatures above 20 Celsius, poses a health risk because it can convert to a toxic compound called isomalathion.

The government and the companies are urging farmers to return any malathion that is more than a year old, especially if it has been exposed to temperatures above 20.

It also poses a risk if it has been stored near other pesticides, seeds and fertilizers, according to the advisory from Health Canada.