Agriculture news from week 27

USA and Canada

Summer landscape of wheat field. Ripe cereals field. Golden spikelets of ripe wheat close up
More volatile markets to come, especially for wheat

Like almost everything, the war in Ukraine has made a major impact on the grain markets since Russia invaded.

The grain market took a sudden dip recently. According to Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University Extension crops economist and marketing specialist, the pendulum finally swung the other way after experiencing higher market prices.

“We had a risk premium that entered into the marketplace, and now some of that risk premium is being taken out. So we’re getting a little bit more information about how many acres have been planted here in the northern Plains for spring wheat and durum, as well as what’s happened in the Canadian prairie provinces,” he said. “We’re also starting to take some of the risk premium out because we’re starting to look at alternative flows of grain.”

Read More…

cropping
USDA Crop Progress report shows spring wheat improving; slight declines in corn, soybean conditions

WASHINGTON — The weekly U.S. Crop Progress report showed an improved spring wheat crop and small declines for corn and soybeans.

The Crop Progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service was released Tuesday, July 5, for the week ending July 3, delayed a day from its normal Monday release because of the Fourth of July holiday.

In the six spring wheat states, 59% of the crop is good, up 6% from previous week, and 7% is rated excellent, up 1% from previous week.

While the crop is behind the five-year average in heading, it is in much better shape than last year, when 50% of the crop was rated poor or very poor.

The overall corn crop declined a bit in condition with 11% of the crop rated excellent and 53% rated good; both down slightly from the previous week.

Read More

dry weather
Drier weather in southwestern Ontario may impact farmers’ crops

Dry, hot weather in southwestern Ontario may have an impact on farmers’ crops, cutting into profits this season. 

According to data collected by Environment Canada, after 9.2 mm of rain fell on June 20, only 6.1 mm fell from June 21 to July 4. During that span, three heat warnings were issued by the weather authority, with temperatures reaching the low to mid-thirties. 

Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the heat is “definitely more concentrated in extreme southwestern Ontario.”

 Read more…

Global and European grain and wheat crisis after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia world's largest exporters of grain
Canadian Wheat Plantings At Highest Level In A Decade

Canadian farmers have planted the most wheat in a decade, according to new data from
Statistics Canada.
The federal statistics agency said that wheat acres will rise 8.7% to 25.4 million acres nationally,
the highest level in a decade. High prices for wheat and heavy rainfall in parts of the prairies this
spring have led to the increase in wheat plantings, said Statistics Canada.
Canada is one of the world’s top wheat exporters and more output on the Canadian prairies
comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is creating uncertainty about grain shipments from that
region of eastern Europe.
At the same time, Statistics Canada said the amount of canola planted in Canada is expected to
fall 4.7% this year to 21.4 million acres as farmers move away from oilseeds.
Canada is the world’s top grower and exporter of canola.

Read More

zink-sorghum
How Conservation Farming in Southwest Nebraska makes Sunny Heights Farm Viable

New Zealand

dairy
Dairy prices fall as buyers resist higher prices

July is typically a quiet time of year for dairy markets with the Southern Hemisphere in the depths of winter.

  • GDT price index fell 4.1%

  • Butter index dropped 9.1%

  • Buyers not willing to pay as much

Dairy prices fell, marking the seventh decline of the past eight global auctions, as buyers shun higher prices. The Global Dairy Trade price index slid 4.1% to 1287 at the latest fortnightly auction. Dairy prices have surged to record levels this year, underpinned by tight supply and strong demand, and the index is sitting at the highest level for this time in the season in nine years. However the market is facing some headwinds as Covid-19 lockdowns in China, an economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the Russia-Ukraine conflict weigh on demand.

Read More here...

food security

 Diversified Businesses

As we quickly started shipping food all over the country and doing zooms regionally and nationally we also were developing products to be sold online or in stores. These businesses are very different to manage and require different skill sets than serving you brunch at Commander’s Palace. So re-organizing businesses in our industry with an eye toward talent with different skills will be a need.

  • Diversification helps to maximize the use of potentially underutilized resources
  • Certain industries may fall down for a specific time frame owing to economic factors. Diversification provides movement away from activities which may be declining.
  • As the economy changes, the spending patterns of the people change. Diversification into a number of industries or product line can help create a balance for the entity during these ups and downs.

 Political Advocacy

2021 will see independent restaurant chefs and operators settle into a more long-term form of political advocacy that isn’t just reactive to the pandemic. More than ever before, 2020 presented opportunities to shape conversations on things like economic and tax policies, public health, and food insecurity.

1- Increase education about good, clean, fair food for all

2- Encourage the use of a curriculum that embraces the history, sustainability, and respect for quality food systems.

3- Encourage the flourishing of small and medium local producers to enrich the community around food.

 

Restaurant Industry Overhaul

Restaurants are unstable and unsustainable. This truth has been being realized for years and reached its current zenith in 2020. What has emerged from the trauma and turmoil of our collective stresses have been restaurants pivoting into models that are more hybrid, take out, and curated grocery. This change is quite possibly permanent. We have seen a refocus on community and combating food access. There has been a recentering; food is human.

1-Focus on Community

2-Combate Food Access

3- Remove barriers to the enjoyment of sustainable, locally grown foods.

 

 Diversified Businesses

As we quickly started shipping food all over the country and doing zooms regionally and nationally we also were developing products to be sold online or in stores. These businesses are very different to manage and require different skill sets than serving you brunch at Commander’s Palace. So re-organizing businesses in our industry with an eye toward talent with different skills will be a need.

  • Diversification helps to maximize the use of potentially underutilized resources
  • Certain industries may fall down for a specific time frame owing to economic factors. Diversification provides movement away from activities which may be declining.
  • As the economy changes, the spending patterns of the people change. Diversification into a number of industries or product line can help create a balance for the entity during these ups and downs.

 Political Advocacy

2021 will see independent restaurant chefs and operators settle into a more long-term form of political advocacy that isn’t just reactive to the pandemic. More than ever before, 2020 presented opportunities to shape conversations on things like economic and tax policies, public health, and food insecurity.

1- Increase education about good, clean, fair food for all

2- Encourage the use of a curriculum that embraces the history, sustainability, and respect for quality food systems.

3- Encourage the flourishing of small and medium local producers to enrich the community around food.

 

Restaurant Industry Overhaul

Restaurants are unstable and unsustainable. This truth has been being realized for years and reached its current zenith in 2020. What has emerged from the trauma and turmoil of our collective stresses have been restaurants pivoting into models that are more hybrid, take out, and curated grocery. This change is quite possibly permanent. We have seen a refocus on community and combating food access. There has been a recentering; food is human.

1-Focus on Community

2-Combate Food Access

3- Remove barriers to the enjoyment of sustainable, locally grown foods.

 

 Diversified Businesses

As we quickly started shipping food all over the country and doing zooms regionally and nationally we also were developing products to be sold online or in stores. These businesses are very different to manage and require different skill sets than serving you brunch at Commander’s Palace. So re-organizing businesses in our industry with an eye toward talent with different skills will be a need.

  • Diversification helps to maximize the use of potentially underutilized resources
  • Certain industries may fall down for a specific time frame owing to economic factors. Diversification provides movement away from activities which may be declining.
  • As the economy changes, the spending patterns of the people change. Diversification into a number of industries or product line can help create a balance for the entity during these ups and downs.

 Political Advocacy

2021 will see independent restaurant chefs and operators settle into a more long-term form of political advocacy that isn’t just reactive to the pandemic. More than ever before, 2020 presented opportunities to shape conversations on things like economic and tax policies, public health, and food insecurity.

1- Increase education about good, clean, fair food for all

2- Encourage the use of a curriculum that embraces the history, sustainability, and respect for quality food systems.

3- Encourage the flourishing of small and medium local producers to enrich the community around food.

 

Restaurant Industry Overhaul

Restaurants are unstable and unsustainable. This truth has been being realized for years and reached its current zenith in 2020. What has emerged from the trauma and turmoil of our collective stresses have been restaurants pivoting into models that are more hybrid, take out, and curated grocery. This change is quite possibly permanent. We have seen a refocus on community and combating food access. There has been a recentering; food is human.

1-Focus on Community

2-Combate Food Access

3- Remove barriers to the enjoyment of sustainable, locally grown foods.

 

Are food exports pushing up the cost of living in New Zealand?

New Zealand’s food security could be in jeopardy because vegetable growers cannot afford to pay the same for wages and land that growers of high-value export fruit can, says a large-scale fresh produce grower.

Richard Burke, chief executive of Leaderbrand, said vegetable growers had little opportunity to expand their operations by buying land to grow more produce on, because growers of export crops, such as apples or kiwifruit, were making large profits and could pay more for land.

That artificially pushed up land prices, Burke said.

Vegetable growers could also not compete on wages with export growers, he said.

Coupled with high prices for transport, fertiliser, fuel and high inflation, there were now huge risks involved in growing vegetables, Burke said.

Read More here…

meat industry NZ
Allan Barber reports that very high demand for red meat has processors scrambling for skilled workers. The new procurement wars may not be waged over livestock, but people

The last two years have locked in a shortage of skilled workers which meat processors are attempting to overcome in a range of different ways at a time when demand for red meat has led to unprecedented profitability. This profit would be even higher if companies had enough staff to produce a full range of high value products, but they are finding themselves forced to focus on making the quickest and most efficient use of the available workforce. In some instances, this means plants being unable to put on a second shift.

Ironically this situation has also led to a flatter seasonal kill profile, reducing the autumn peak and extending the season, which appears to favour the processors in another way – it alleviates the need to pay the traditional level of premiums to obtain supply. The emphasis is now on matching livestock supply to the plant capacity that produces optimum efficiency and profit, rather than maximising market share.

Read More here…  

cannabis
Weather hits hort crop hard

Some growers around the country have lost whole crops that were inundated during recent flooding.

Leaderbrand is one of the country’s major horticultural producers and has its main base in Gisborne. The company also has growing sites in Pukekohe, Matamata and Canterbury.  Chief executive Richard Burke says in the case of Gisborne, the normal rainfall is about 1100mm a year, but it has already had more than 800mm so far this year.

He says there is nothing unusual about getting rain, but the weather patterns are just sticking around longer and that affects the ability to supply produce.

“The big thing in Gisborne is that we have had rain consistently – so if you look at the number of rain days, it’s been extremely high,” Burke told Rural News. “When Gisborne gets wet it takes very little to top up that wetness.”

Read More…

Australia

australian wheat
Australian wheat exports drop 7pc in May to 2.4Mt

AUSTRALIA exported tonnes 2,411,765 tonnes of wheat and durum in May, down 7 per cent  from 2,593,273t shipped in April, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Containerised wheat and durum exports totalled 221,491t in May, up 14 per cent from the April total, but bulk shipments at 2,190,274t, were down 9pc from the 2,399,270t exported in April.

While the volume of bulk wheat shipped to China in May was almost half the totaled exported in April of 757,415t, China was still the biggest bulk customer by far for Australia’s bulk wheat with 398,228t.

Indonesia on 280,080t was Australia’s next-biggest bulk customer in May, followed by Sudan on 246,759t.

Australia shipped 72,600t to Sudan in May 2021, and the sharp reflects the nation’s increased demand from other origins created by the lack of availability of Ukraine wheat due to Russia’s blockade of its Black Sea ports.

Read more here

prices of grain
Rabo sees above-average prices at end of slide

AUSTRALIAN grains and oilseeds are expected to continue to trade at above-average prices,
despite a recent softening in values for global agri commodities, Rabobank said in its monthly outlook released on Thursday.

In its July Australian Agribusiness Monthly, Rabobank said the S&P GSCI Agriculture Index, a key benchmark of global agricultural commodity market performance, lost more than 15 per cent during June.

That included a 20pc month-on-month price decline in Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat, and further substantial declines have been recorded into early July.

The drop in global agri commodity prices came as other asset classes also fell, triggered by interest-rate hikes, inflation concerns and “hawkish” commentary from central banks.

Read mpore here…

australian crop
WA crop area revised down to 8.89Mha: GIWA

WESTERN Australia’s winter-crop area is forecast at 8.893million hectares (Mha), down 70,000ha from the 8.963Mha forecast in June, according to the latest Grains Industry of WA (GIWA) crop report released today.

The unprecedented warm conditions in June have pushed crops along to be at growth stages well ahead of where they would normally be at this time of the year.

Crops generally look better than last year in many of the southern regions due to the advanced development.

They are in very good shape in the southern regions although the northern regions are getting desperate for a drink and rainfall in the next week will be crucial in maintaining current grain yield potential.

The wheat estimate accounts for most of change in estimated crop area with the total 4.89Mha for June revised down by 80,000ha to 4.81Mha.

Read more here

canola
Australian canola exports drop 15pc in May

AUSTRALIA exported 578,885 tonnes of canola in May, down 15 per cent from the April total of 675,600t, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Germany was the biggest importer of Australian canola for May, with 295,278t, which is 140 per cent more than their April total of 124,097t.

The next largest customers were France with 92,784t, Bangladesh at 65,555t and Belgium with 63,470t.

April’s leading customer of canola, Japan, significantly dropped back it’s shipment from last month’s total of 156,621t to only 1,755t in May.

Germany was the leading importer of canola in May last year, but their 2021 total of 163,249t is about half this year’s figure.

Read more here...

South America

Argentina and Paraguay, wheat and soybean crops victims of ongoing drought

Drought is causing havoc in Argentina and Paraguay. Argentina’s wheat crop for the 2022/23 season is the most delayed in a decade, as a period of lack of rainfall and early frosts is forcing farmers to delay planting the winter crop.

Grains truck traffic to Argentina’s major ports rose strongly on Friday after a haulage protest over diesel costs and shortages was resolved, a boost to exports from the world’s top shipper of processed soy and the No. 2 of corn.

Truck numbers entering ports rose back above 3,000 on Friday, according to data from Agroentregas, which monitors trucking activity. That was up from a low of 650 on Tuesday.

Read More here

Brazil soybean
Brazil grains crop estimate, 272.5 million tons helped by corn and wheat despite a slide in soybeans

Given more optimistic prospects for the supply of corn and wheat, Brazil’s National Supply Company, Conab, increased, slightly, the estimate for the 2021/22 market year grain harvest. Overall this has meant that Brazil is expected to have a crop of 272.5 million tons of grains in the current season, 6.7% greater than the previous season.

The total area planted with grains should grow 5.8%, to 73.8 million hectares, while the average productivity of crops should increase 0.9%, to 3,693 kilograms per hectare.

With the second corn crop harvest in progress, Conab raised its production estimate by almost 500,000 tons compared to a month ago, and now forecasts 88.4 million tons. This volume represents an increase of 45.6% in production compared to the previous market year, driven by the improvement in productivity and the increase in planted area in the state of Paraná, Brazil’s Center-West region.

Read More

brazilian beef
Brazilian beef exports booming with an even brighter second half expected

Brazilian exports of beef during the second half of the year should keep their bullish pace anticipates a report from Netherlands Rabobank, given the strong demand from China, United States, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, reflected in an estimated 10% tonnage increase over 2021.

The Chinese market remains the largest destination for Brazilian beef, increasing its share to 49% of the total shipped, with 437,000 tons purchased by end of May. The increase is 38% compared to the previous year’s period, Rabobank points out.
The United States comes in second, representing a total of 8% of the total exported and totaling 71 thousand tons in the same period, up 110% year-on-year.

As a result, in terms of volume, exports totaled 887 thousand tons valued at US$ 5 billion, a 25% and 56% increase respectively, in the half year annual comparison.

Read more here

chillian cherry
2021/22 Chilean Cherry Season Overview

Chile’s exports of fresh cherries hit a new record of 356,385 metric tons (+1.11% year on year) and saw increasing diversification of export markets during the 2021/22 season despite the considerable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Chilean Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

Statistics and a summary of the season were presented in an exclusive session for Produce Report readers by Charif Christian Carvajal, ASOEX’s marketing director for Europe and Asia.

Of the total Chilean fresh cherry export volume, 313,251 metric tons, or 88%, was sent to China — a slight drop in volume from last season. While China remains the key market, Chilean cherry exporters diversified their export markets this season within a challenging international trade environment: Chile’s fresh cherry exports to the United States and Canada increased by 177% year on year to 13,876 metric tons, exports to Latin America increased by 21% YOY to 6,504 metric tons, and exports to Europe increased by 29% YOY to 6,254 metric tons.

Read more here

Food Updates

research
Dementia and diet: A new way of doing research

Anyone searching the internet for brain healthy foods will find plenty of advice on which foods to eat and which to avoid – often contradicting each other in the process. Some of those stories point to observational studies that have suggested a link between the lower or greater intake of certain foods and the risk of dementia, but clinical research attempting to connect specific nutrients or diets to cognitive function has not found convincing evidence.

“Many trials have not found that making people eat healthy or exercise is translating into benefits in the ways that is expected from the epidemiological research,” said Hussein Yassine, MD, associate professor of medicine and neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California (USC) and the Kenneth and Bette Volk Chair of Neurology of USC.

“That means either there is no causal connection or that these studies have not been properly designed.”

Read more here

danone
Danone launches plant-based infant formula blend

Danone has announced the launch of what it claims is the first ever Dairy and Plants Blend baby formula, in response to parents’ desire for vegetarian and flexitarian options for their baby. Plant-based consumption is growing substantially, with more than one-third (37 percent) of EU consumers choosing a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet, and almost 70 percent of parents now preferring their children eat more plant-based foods (according to a survey conducted for Danone).

Drawing on more than 50 years of advanced breastmilk research and experience in developing plant-based products, Danone has developed the new Dairy & Plants Blend baby formula – a “nutritionally complete” formulation that combines the best of both dairy and plants. The new baby formula is reportedly the first specifically created for a vegetarian diet, and is the first blended formula for healthy babies in which more than half the required protein is derived from soy.

In the Dairy & Plants Blend baby formula, 60 percent of the protein is sourced from high-quality, non-GMO soy, and 40 percent comes from the dairy ingredients, casein and whey protein. The new formula also contains the key dairy ingredient lactose – an important source of carbohydrates for babies, and an essential nutrient found in breastmilk.

Read more here

drink
Are sugary drink taxes economically beneficial for lower-income communities?

Sugar-sweetened beverages are a known contributor to several health issues, including poor diet quality, weight gain and diabetes. While several studies have shown that taxing sweetened beverages significantly reduces purchasing, questions have been raised about whether the taxes place a greater economic burden on lower-income households.

New research from the University of Washington has examined the economic equity impacts of sweetened beverage taxes in three cities: Seattle, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the new tobacco,” said James Krieger, senior author and clinical professor of health systems and population health in the UW School of Public Health.

“Public health researchers and others have been working for some time to reduce sales of these beverages. Taxes worked well to reduce tobacco purchases, and they’ve been applied and appear to work equally well in sugary drinks.”

Read more here

tilling
Tilling methods will lead to big decreases in crop yields, claims research

Ploughing and tilling on hilly slopes is causing farm soils to thin and threatens future crop yields, a new study published in Nature Food claims.

Scientists behind the study, from Lancaster (UK) and Augsburg (Germany) Universities, argue that unless farmers stop tilling hill slopes, over the long-term the soils on hillsides could thin to the point where growth of food crops is severely threatened.

For centuries, farmers have tilled the soil in their fields to provide seed beds in order to produce crops. Once undertaken using traditional animal-drawn ploughs, as farming has mechanised within the last century the tilling process has shifted to heavier and faster tractors.

Tilling soils, which includes ploughing, can move significant amounts of soil down slopes, the researchers claim, and adds to erosion caused by weather. On sloping land, tillage causes soils to move down off the concave parts of hills, and is deposited in valley bottoms.

Read more here
pepper
Making green chile roasting…greener

The green chile pepper is an important part of New Mexico cuisine, but the preparation process to turn this plant into an important ingredient is not always particularly climate-friendly. But scientists at Sandia National Laboratories of Albuquerque, New Mexico, are looking to change that.

This staple of regional cuisine is green in colour, but roasting the chile pepper to deepen the flavour and make the inedible skin easier to remove is hardly environmentally friendly. In New Mexico alone, the researchers claim that burning propane to roast the peppers leads to a seasonal emission of approximately 7,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide — the equivalent of driving 1,700 cars for a year.

Sandia National Laboratories engineer Kenneth Armijo, who grew up on a chile farm in Sabinal, located between Albuquerque and Socorro, New Mexico, thought there was a “greener” way to roast green chile using the sun.