[Ok-sus] Global grain consumption continues to exceed production

Robert Waldrop bwaldrop1952 at att.net
Thu Jan 31 13:37:45 UTC 2013

Another dot to connect. . . 

Bob Waldrop, OKC


Global grain stocks drop dangerously low as 2012 consumption exceeded production
by Janet Larsen, originally published by Earth Policy Institute  | Jan 30, 2013

The world produced 2,241 million tons of grain in 2012, down  75 million tons or 
3 percent from the 2011 record harvest. The drop was  largely because of 
droughts that devastated several major crops—namely  corn in the United States 
(the world’s largest crop) and wheat in  Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and 
Australia. Each of these countries also  is an important exporter. Global grain 
consumption fell significantly  for the first time since 1995, as high prices 
dampened use for ethanol  production and livestock feed. Still, overall 
consumption did exceed  production. With drought persisting in key producing 
regions, there is  concern that farmers in 2013 will again be unable to produce 
the  surpluses necessary to rebuild lowered global grain reserves. 

Corn, wheat, and rice account for most of the world’s grain harvest.  Whereas 
rice and most wheat are consumed directly as food, corn is  largely used for 
livestock and poultry feed and for industrial purposes.  Climbing demand for 
corn-intensive meat, milk, and eggs plus the recent  increased production of 
corn-based ethanol have made corn the world’s  leading grain since 1998. In 
2012, the global corn harvest came in at  852 million tons, while 654 million 
tons of wheat and 466 million tons  of rice were produced. Wheat takes up the 
most land because corn yields  are typically much higher, averaging close to 5 
tons per hectare  globally compared with about 3 tons per hectare for wheat and 
rice. (One  hectare = 2.47 acres.) In the United States, corn yields in the  
top-producing areas exceed 10 tons per hectare when conditions are  favorable.

Nearly half the world’s grain is produced in just three countries:  China, the 
United States, and India. China produced an estimated 479  million tons of grain 
in 2012—its largest harvest ever—compared with 354  million tons in the United 
States. India harvested 230 million tons.  The countries in the European Union 
together produced 274 million tons. (See data.)

The 2012 U.S. grain harvest was 8 percent smaller than the year  before. The 
heat and drought that gripped nearly two thirds of the  contiguous United States 
during the summer was particularly severe  throughout the midwestern Corn Belt. 
As temperatures soared, so did corn prices,  hitting an all-time high of $8.39 a 
bushel on August 21st. Yields in  Iowa, the top corn-producing state, were down 
20 percent from 2011. In  Illinois, typically the number two producer, yields 
dropped by 33  percent, ending up at the lowest level since the historic 1988 
drought.  As of January 2013, each state’s farmers have collected more than $1  
billion in crop insurance payments.

much more at the link
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