Biggest Ever Stockpiles Of U.S. Corn And Soya Confound Climate Alarm

GWPF | 11 Jan 2016

Global Food Prices Down By 19 Percent Due To Abundant Supplies

Money managers are holding their most-bearish bets on grain prices since the government started tracking the data in 2006. It’s easy to see why. Stockpiles of corn and soybeans in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, probably were the biggest ever on Dec. 1, and wheat inventories were the highest in five years, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Domestic stockpiles have been swelling as U.S. exports falter, fueled by a strong dollar and rising production by other suppliers. –Megan Durisin, Bloomberg, 10 January 2016

International food prices dipped by 19 per cent in the last year, the fourth consecutive annual fall, due to substantial decline in dairy, sugar and veg oil prices according to the United Nations food agency. Abundant supplies in the face of a timid world demand and an appreciating US dollar are the main reasons for the general weakness that has dominated food prices in 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in its monthly food price index. —Press Trust of India, 11 January 2016

1) Biggest Ever Stockpiles Of U.S. Corn And Soya Confound Climate Alarm – Bloomberg, 10 January 2016

2) Global Food Prices Down By 19 Percent Due To Abundant Supplies, Says FAO – Press Trust of India, 11 January 2016

3) Reminder: IPCC Links Rising Food Prices To Climate Change – The Guardian 31 March 2014

4) Forget Extreme Weather: India’s Horticulture Production At Record High – The Times of India, 1 January 2016

5) Matt Ridley: Feed The World? Bumper Harvest Shows We Can – The Times, 21 September 2015

6) As Predicted: Climate Scientists Denounce Paris Agreement As Fatally Flawed – The Independent, 8 January 2016

Climate change has already cut into the global food supply and is fuelling wars and natural disasters, but governments are unprepared to protect those most at risk, according to a report from the UN’s climate science panel. The scientists said there was enough evidence to say for certain that climate change is affecting food production on land and sea. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could lead to food price rises of between 3% and 84% by 2050. The report also connected climate change to rising food prices and political instability, for instance the riots in Asia and Africa after food price shocks in 2008. –Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian 31 March 2014

Bumper crops elsewhere are the main reason for low prices. Globally, the cereal harvest this year will be very close to last year’s huge record. This was not supposed to happen. The eco-gloomsters who had talked for decades about a coming food crisis, even while famines faded, thought their day had come at last. The world cereal harvest grew by 20 per cent in the past ten years (cereals provide 65 per cent of our calories). It needs to grow by another 70 per cent in the next 35 years to feed 2050’s nine billion people, probably with more affluent tastes. It is on track to do so and to release a huge area from growing food at the same time. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 21 September 2015

India’s horticulture output has outpaced the production of foodgrains third year in a row in 2014-15 despite deficit monsoon, unseasonal rains and hailstorms. Horticultural crops comprise of fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, flowers, spices and aromatics, while the foodgrains basket contains wheat, rice, coarse cereals, oil seeds and pulses. India has witnessed voluminous increase in horticulture production over the last few years. Data show that fruits and vegetables account for nearly 90% of the total horticulture production in India which is, at present, the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. –Vishwa Mohan, The Times of India, 1 January 2016

The Paris Agreement to tackle global warming has actually dealt a major setback to the fight against climate change, leading academics will warn. The deal may have been trumpeted by world leaders but is far too weak to do help prevent devastating harm to the Earth, it is claimed. In a joint letter to The Independent, some of the world’s top climate scientists launch a blistering attack on the deal, warning that it offers “false hope” that could ultimately prove to be counterproductive in the battle to curb global warming. –Tom Bawden, The Independent, 8 January 2016

1) Biggest Ever Stockpiles Of U.S. Corn And Soya Confound Climate Alarm
Bloomberg, 10 January 2016

Megan Durisin

US stockpiles of corn and soyabeans are the biggest ever as prices tumble

Piles of unwanted grain on farms near Doug Schmitz’s storage bins in southern Minnesota are a stark reminder of just how bearish the outlook is for U.S. crop prices.

After record yields during the harvest a few months ago, growers in the area still have 80 percent of their corn crop left to sell and 70 percent of soybeans, said Schmitz, who operates four grain elevators and markets to processors and exporters. Normally, half the supply would be unloaded by now, he said. While Schmitz Grain Inc. is under contract to collect 2 million bushels from local farmers, the outlook is so dim that most of that inventory hasn’t been priced yet, he said.

Money managers are holding their most-bearish bets on grain prices since the government started tracking the data in 2006. It’s easy to see why. Stockpiles of corn and soybeans in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, probably were the biggest ever on Dec. 1, and wheat inventories were the highest in five years, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. The government will issue its estimate Tuesday.

“It’s the slowest sales pace in the 25 years I’ve been in the grain business,” said Schmitz, who’s based in Currie, Minnesota. “It’s amazing how well farmers were able to put away those bushels and wait for a recovery in prices that has failed to come.”

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Hedge funds held a combined net-short position of 337,678 futures and options in corn, soybeans and wheat as of Jan. 5, 19 percent more than the previous week and more than twice what it was a month ago, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released three days later. The bearish holdings were twice the short hedges held by commercial end-users, signaling farmers may be withholding crops that elevators would normally have already bought and hedged.

All three commodities posted a third straight year of losses on the Chicago Board of Trade in 2015.

Domestic stockpiles have been swelling as U.S. exports falter, fueled by a strong dollar and rising production by other suppliers. Schmitz said he has yet to load a single rail car this season with corn or soybeans destined for West Coast export terminals. A year earlier, he shipped 1 million bushels.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts wheat exports in the current season will be the lowest in four decades. Corn and soybeans sold for delivery by Aug. 31 are down a combined 17 percent as of Dec. 31, surpassing the USDA’s estimates for a 6.6 percent annual decline. At the same time, corn shipments from Brazil were the highest ever in each of the past four months.Argentina’s exports have become more profitable after new president Mauricio Macri eliminated most crop taxes and lifted four years of currency controls.

“It is a nearly unprecedented retention of crop inventory this year,” said Roger Fray, executive vice president for Ralston, Iowa-based West Central Cooperative, which can store about 78 million bushels of grain. “The producer has shoved corn and soybeans into places he has never used. It is very possible there will be some forced sales of grain this spring, when farmers need cash to plant crops.”

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2) Global Food Prices Down By 19 Percent Due To Abundant Supplies, Says FAO
Press Trust of India, 11 January 2016

ROME: International food prices dipped by 19 per cent in the last year, the fourth consecutive annual fall, due to substantial decline in dairy, sugar and veg oil prices according to the United Nations food agency.

The maximum fall was witnessed in dairy prices, which fell by 28.5 per cent compared to 2014, marking its lowest since 2009. It was followed by sugar prices, which were down by 21 from 2014 levels, as per the FAO price index.

Similarly vegetable oil prices also came down last year by 19 per cent in comparison to 2014 prices, while cereal prices fell by 15.4 per cent in 2015. The meat prices also came down by 15.1 per cent in the last year.

Abundant supplies in the face of a timid world demand and an appreciating US dollar are the main reasons for the general weakness that has dominated food prices in 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in its monthly food price index.

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3) Reminder: IPCC Links Rising Food Prices To Climate Change
The Guardian 31 March 2014

Suzanne Goldenberg

Climate change has already cut into the global food supply and is fuelling wars and natural disasters, but governments are unprepared to protect those most at risk, according to a report from the UN’s climate science panel…

The scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found evidence of climate change far beyond thawing Arctic permafrost and crumbling coral reefs – “on all continents and across the  oceans”.

But it was the finding that climate change could threaten global food security that caught the attention of government officials from 115 countries who reviewed the report. “All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change,” the report said.

The scientists said there was enough evidence to say for certain that climate change is affecting food production on land and sea.

The rate of increase in crop yields is slowing – especially in wheat – raising doubts as to whether food production will keep up with the demand of a growing population. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could lead to food price rises of between 3% and 84% by 2050…

The report also connected climate change to rising food prices and political instability, for instance the riots in Asia and Africa after food price shocks in 2008.

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4) Forget Extreme Weather: India’s Horticulture Production At Record High
The Times of India, 1 January 2016

Vishwa Mohan

NEW DELHI: India’s horticulture output has outpaced the production of foodgrains third year in a row in 2014-15 despite deficit monsoon, unseasonal rains and hailstorms.


Besides, horticulture production also showed continuous increase unlike foodgrain output which reported a decline in 2014-15 as compared to 2013-14.

The figures are part of the horticultural statistics, released by the agriculture ministry on Thursday. The report – Horticultural Statistics at a Glance 2015 – shows that while Maharashtra tops the list of states in terms of leading fruit-producing states, West Bengal is at top in terms of vegetable production in 2013-14.

Similarly, Tamil Nadu is the top flower producing state while Gujarat is the leading spices producing state. Tamil Nadu is also at the top in the list of plantation-producing states in the same year.

Horticultural crops comprise of fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, flowers, spices and aromatics, while the foodgrains basket contains wheat, rice, coarse cereals, oil seeds and pulses.

Noting the consumption pattern, the publication said that the nutritional intake from fruits and vegetables is higher among urban population than that of rural population.

Releasing the first issue of such detailed compilation, comprising district-wise statistics of horticultural output in the country, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “The data would help policy planners, farmers and other stakeholders”.

The publication notes that India has witnessed voluminous increase in horticulture production over the last few years. “Significant progress has been made in area expansion resulting in higher production”, it says.

Data show that fruits and vegetables account for nearly 90% of the total horticulture production in India which is, at present, the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. The country is, in fact, the leader in several horticultural crops including mango, banana, papaya, cashew nut, areca nut, potato and lady’s finger.

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5) Matt Ridley: Feed The World? Bumper Harvest Shows We Can
The Times, 21 September 2015

The eco-gloomsters who warned of a Malthusian disaster were wrong. A global food glut is more likely than famine

This week’s autumn equinox is traditionally the time for the harvest festival. I have just taken a ride on the combine harvester cutting wheat on my farm. It is such a sophisticated threshing machine that long gone are the days when I could be trusted to take the controls during the lunch break. A screen showed how the GPS was steering it, inch-perfect and hands-free, along the edge of the unharvested crop; another screen gave an instant readout of the yield. It was averaging over five tonnes per acre (or 12 tonnes per hectare) — a record.

My farm is not alone in this. Everywhere in Britain this autumn, at least where the August downpours did not flatten and rot the crops, yields have broken records.

In the Lincolnshire Wolds, Tim Lamyman smashed the world record for wheat yield per acre, held for the past five years by a New Zealander. He also set a new world record for oilseed rape yield — he did this last year too, but lost it over the winter to a New Zealander. (Britain and New Zealand have the right combination of day length and soil moisture that breeds big wheat and rape crops.)

Unfortunately for farmers, this extraordinary harvest cannot make up for the steep fall in prices, and farm incomes will be down, not up. Bumper crops elsewhere are the main reason for those low prices. Globally, the cereal harvest this year will be very close to last year’s huge record. The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s food price index is now well below where it was throughout the 1960s and 1970s: that is to say, it’s proving cheaper and easier to feed seven billion today than it was to feed three billion in 1960.

This was not supposed to happen. Food prices rose in 2008 and again sharply in 2011, encouraging those who foresaw a Malthusian breaking point, where population would outstrip food supply. The eco-gloomsters who had talked for decades about a coming food crisis, even while famines faded, thought their day had come at last.

Yet the 2008-13 hump in food prices, which hurt poor people but helped farmers, was largely caused by Europe’s and America’s barmy decision, at the behest of the eco-gloomsters, to feed 5 per cent of the world’s grain crop to motor cars instead of people, in the mistaken belief that this was somehow good for the environment. We are still doing that, but at least we’ve stopped increasing the amount, so each year’s harvest increase can now go into food.

Last week, my fields were yielding 60 or 70 grains (seeds) of wheat for every grain that had been planted a year before. This would astonish our ancestors. A farmer in England in the 1300s was lucky to get four grains for every grain he planted. One of those four had to be saved for next year’s planting, leaving a precarious three to feed not only his own family but the various chiefs, priests and thieves who fed off him.

The truly surprising thing about this bounty is that not only are yields going up and up, in Britain as in the rest of the world, but that the amount of land required to produce that food is going down; and so is the amount of pesticide and fertiliser. Not just in relative terms, but in absolute terms.

The acreage devoted to wheat and barley in Britain has fallen by 25 per cent since the 1980s. Pesticide usage in this country has halved since 1990. Nitrogen consumption in agriculture is now 40 per cent below the level of the 1980s, while mineral phosphorus and potassium use are down by 60 per cent — though that is partly because more sewage and chicken excrement are being treated and recycled for use on farms.

The world cereal harvest grew by 20 per cent in the past ten years (cereals provide 65 per cent of our calories). It needs to grow by another 70 per cent in the next 35 years to feed 2050’s nine billion people, probably with more affluent tastes.
It is on track to do so and to release a huge area from growing food at the same time. That means more nature reserves, more golf courses, more horsey-culture and hobby farming, more forests and wild land.

Jesse Ausubel, of Rockefeller University in New York, has run the numbers. To paraphrase his paper with British examples, if we keep lifting average yields towards the demonstrated levels of Tim Lamyman, stop feeding wheat to cars and rape to lorries, restrain our diets lightly and reduce waste, then an area the size of India could be released globally from agriculture over the next 50 years.

In the 19th century, the world increased its harvest by breaking new ground — in North America, Russia, Argentina and Australia. In the early 20th century it increased the harvest by replacing horses with tractors and releasing the land used to grow hay for horses. In the late 20th century the harvest went up because of synthetic fertiliser, which does not need land to produce it as manure does. Short-strawed wheats, better pesticides and safer storage and transport helped too.

Today, precision farming is driving the harvest up. Satellites tell farmers exactly which parts of each field should get more or fewer seeds, more or less fertiliser. Less wasteful fertilisers that do not escape into weeds or the local water course are coming. Better varieties are arriving all the time, though wheat harvests are now dwarfed, worldwide, by maize, which is benefiting from genetic modification. Pesticides, growth regulators, mineral supplements — all can now be fine-tuned to give the most benefit and do the least collateral harm.

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6) As Predicted: Climate Scientists Denounce Paris Agreement As Fatally Flawed
The Independent, 8 January 2016

Tom Bawden

The Paris Agreement to tackle global warming has actually dealt a major setback to the fight against climate change, leading academics will warn.

The deal may have been trumpeted by world leaders but is far too weak to do help prevent devastating harm to the Earth, it is claimed.

In a joint letter to The Independent, some of the world’s top climate scientists launch a blistering attack on the deal, warning that it offers “false hope” that could ultimately prove to be counterproductive in the battle to curb global warming.

The letter, which carries eleven signatures including professors Peter Wadhams and Stephen Salter, of the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, warns that the Paris Agreement is dangerously inadequate.

Because of the Paris failure, the academics say the world’s only chance of saving itself from rampant global warming is a giant push into controversial and largely untested geo-engineering technologies that seek to cool the planet by manipulating the Earth’s climate system.

The scientists, who also include University of California professor James Kennett, argues that “deadly flaws” in the deal struck in the French capital last month mean it gives the impression that global warming is now being properly addressed when in fact the measures fall woefully short of what is needed to avoid runaway climate change.

This means that the kind of extreme action that needs to be taken immediately to have any chance of avoiding devastating global warming, such as massive and swift cuts to worldwide carbon emissions – which only fell by about 1 per cent last year – will not now be taken, they say.

“The hollow cheering of success at the end of the Paris Agreement proved yet again that people will hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. What they disregarded were the deadly flaws lying just beneath its veneer of success,” the academics write in the the letter, also signed by Dr Alan Gadian of the University of Leeds and Professor Paul Beckwith of the University of Ottowa in Canada.

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