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