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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Not So Good News...

In a year when global harvests need to be excellent to ease the threat of pervasive food shortages, evidence is mounting that they will be average at best. Some farmers are starting to fear disaster. American corn and soybean farmers are suffering from too much rain, while Australian wheat farmers have been plagued by drought. At a moment when the country’s corn should be flourishing, one plant in 10 has not even emerged from the ground, the Agriculture Department said Monday. Because corn planted late is more sensitive to heat damage in high summer, every day’s delay practically guarantees a lower yield at harvest. United States soybean plantings are running 16 percent behind last year. The world wheat harvest is forecast to rise more than 8 percent this year, because of better weather and more acreage under cultivation. But even this bright spot is tentative. Australia was expected to emerge from a two-year drought, but that prediction is looking somewhat doubtful. As a result, the harvest is likely to be below average: 5 million to 15 million tons of wheat available for export, compared with 17 million or 18 million tons in an average year. China also faces trouble: the agriculture ministry issued an urgent notice to wheat and rice farmers in southern China on Sunday, telling them to harvest as much of their crop as possible immediately in the face of unseasonable torrential rains expected to rake the region for the next 10 days. More gloom and doom here.

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 12:22 AM

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