Signs of global crop failures or just normal fluctuations


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Monday Morning Wake Up Call | August 17, 2020
Posted on 08/17/2020 8:59 AM / 03:14 Podcast
Pro Farmer | By Davis Michaelsen under News & Analysis

Karen Braun
Aug 17, 2020
USDA announces the sale of 130,000 tonnes of U.S. hard red winter #wheat to unknown destinations for 2020/21.

Karen Braun
Aug 17, 2020
#Corn and #soybeans in North Dakota and Nebraska are in urgent need of rain. Slightly above average yields expected in Nebraska but average would be the best case in ND.

Hmm... No mention of China's huge food imports. Imagine that.

Aug. 7, 2020 Video / 2020 NBC UNIVERSAL
Shoppers are stuck paying elevated prices at the supermarket even though the supply restrictions that drove them up have dissipated, exclusive Nielsen data shows.

This “up like a rocket, down like a feather” grocery pricing phenomenon is slamming American families’ budgets at the same time they’re battling historic joblessness and the disappearances of federal unemployment benefits.

When coronavirus shutdowns hit, Nick DeKryger, a second-generation pig farmer in Demotte, Indiana, suddenly had too many hogs on his hands. Meatpacking plants shut down for weeks, or reduced production. The pigs could not get to market.

“How long is this going to last and what can we do so we don't have to euthanize animals?” he recalled thinking. “That’s option Z. No one wants to implement measures they don't have to,” he said. “It’s a toll.”

It’s Economics 101. Hog slaughters plummeted in April and May, restricting supply at the same time demand increased from households stocking up. So the retail price went up, too. For instance, the national average retail price for a pound of bacon rose from $4.73 in January to $4.98 in May, according to Nielsen data.

Then something more complex happened.

In June, hog slaughters recovered to near pre-pandemic levels, increasing supply, a trend DeKryger thinks will have continued for July. But instead of going down, the retail price of bacon kept rising, to $5.51 in June, a more than 16 percent increase from the beginning of the year.

And it’s not just bacon.

In July, the average price of fresh ground beef was down by over 9 percent, compared to June, but shoppers are still paying nearly 13 percent more than they did in January, even though cattle slaughters have completely rebounded.

Shoppers paid 4 percent less for eggs in July than June, the second consecutive month of lower egg prices. While decreased consumption is typical during warmer months, consumers still paid 2 percent more than in January.

“Americans paid the most for their groceries in May, looking at the prices for a common basket of goods each month in 2020,” Phil Tedesco, director of retail analytics for Niesen, told NBC News. “On a weekly basis in July, prices are softening slightly or staying flat, but are still above pre-COVID-19 levels.”

Prices have spiked even more in certain metro areas. In July, the Los Angeles metro area paid nearly 10 percent more for a dozen eggs. Residents in the Atlanta area paid nearly 27 percent more for a pound of bacon than in January. And the former meatpacking capital of Chicago paid 30 percent more for a pound of fresh ground beef.

A spokesperson for the Food Industry Association, a trade organization that represents supermarkets, referred a request for comment to an online FAQ. It highlighted the grocery industry’s razor thin margins and said food price increases were driven by “a complex algorithm” that included increased labor costs and manufacturers’ restrictions such as reduced production due to social distancing measures and lower access to critical inputs.

But that doesn’t escape the fact that the wholesale supply restrictions that drove up the prices have largely dissipated, while prices for consumers, though easing slightly in recent months, remain well above their pre-pandemic levels.

Cattle slaughter for July was actually up 10 percent over last year, which itself was a record year, said Gary Morrison, a beef analyst at Urner Barry, a leading agricultural price reporting agency. Plants are currently working through a backlog of cattle and hogs.

Eggs, which some supermarkets rationed earlier in the pandemic, are actually being overproduced now. Growers are increasing their cage-free flock of chickens to meet industry goals, but are not taking out as many animals as they put in. The industry is, however, also dealing with some reduced availability of egg cartons.

“Retailers are slower to adjust prices lower as wholesale prices drop. There’s no way they were making money. Now prices are more normalized,” said Morrison, “and they’ve increased margins,” hoping to also recover from some of the pandemic economic impacts.

There may also be something more subtle at play. According to research by Timothy Richards, an agribusiness professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, shoppers pay close attention to prices as they go up but tune out as prices fall.

“We used to think this was due to retailers’ market power — they do it because they can get away with it,” said Richards. "But now we know it is more likely due to search dynamics — people just don’t search as much when prices are falling, so retailers don’t need to reduce them as fast,” said Richards.

Retailers could lower the prices, but then a pandemic surge could tighten supply again, requiring another price increase. Why reduce a price today if you have to raise it tomorrow, and confuse customers?

The overall uncertainty has farmers squinting at the horizon.

“I don't know what the future holds. I know what we’re facing today. And what we’re facing today is we have too many pigs,” said DeKryger.

The SRPD is biased based publication! Anti Trump!

Santa Rosa PressDemocrat
3 days ago Snip:
Prices at local grocery stores skyrocket, are expected to ’continue to go up’
Grocery store shelves are more fully stocked than they were during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic when residents engaged in panic buying and hoarding.

But prices for a range of staples and many other food products have been steadily rising, forcing struggling Sonoma County residents to face difficult decisions about how to feed their families.

Increased consumer demand for groceries by people spending more time at home, coupled with a food supply chain upended by the pandemic, have caused many items including meat, dairy and fresh produce to get more expensive.

And retail and supply chain experts say residents should brace for further food price inflation.

Sierra Friar, a 35-year-old Santa Rosa mother of two young children, was recently laid off and is feeling the strain of higher grocery prices on her family’s budget.

“Meat has definitely gone up, and milk — kind of all the essentials,” she said while shopping at a Lucky supermarket in Santa Rosa.

The mounting food costs fall hardest on the nearly 30,000 county residents like Friar — roughly one in 10 local workers — who have lost jobs during the ongoing pandemic. Thousands more people have had their work hours slashed since much of the local economy went into a forced lockdown in mid-March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. And with the $600-a-week enhanced federal unemployment payments that many of those residents relied on now expired, there is concern that the region’s virus-induced food insecurity crisis will only worsen.


And, another great article on the benefits of beef, and BCAA

Aug 17 2020
Stanford University issued a press release to announce the results of a study comparing physiological effects of eating plant-based meat alternatives (Beyond Meat) to eating foods of animal origin.
A diet that includes an average of two servings of plant-based meat alternatives lowers some cardiovascular risk factors compared with a diet that instead includes the same amount of animal meat, Stanford Medicine scientists found.
The study: A randomized crossover trial on the effect of plant-based compared with animal-based meat on trimethylamine-N-oxide and cardiovascular disease risk factors in generally healthy adults: Study With Appetizing Plantfood—Meat Eating Alternative Trial (SWAP-MEAT). Crimarco A, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 11, 2020. randomized crossover trial on the effect of plant-based compared with animal-based meat on trimethylamine-N-oxide and cardiovascular disease risk factors in generally healthy adults: Study With Appetizing Plantfood—Meat Eating Alternative Trial (SWAP-MEAT)

Overall conclusion: “This study found several beneficial effects and no adverse effects from the consumption of plant-based meats.”

The sponsor: “Supported by a research gift from Beyond Meat Inc. (to CDG)…Funding for this study was provided by Beyond Meat. In an effort to reduce any influences on the outcomes of this study, a statistical analysis plan was submitted to The main analysis was conducted by a third-party individual who had no involvement with the study design or collection of data, and was blinded to all study participants.


Ordinarily, I would simply present this study as a classic example of how industry-funded studies predictably produce results that favor the commercial interests of their sponsors, a topic to which I devoted my book, Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat.

But CDG is Christopher Gardner, the study’s lead scientist, whose impressive track record of managing complicated clinical trials of diet and health I greatly admire.

Gardner describes himself as a vegan (meaning that he eats no animal products).

Knowing of my concerns about industry-funded research, he wrote me some months ago to say that this study was in the works and to point out that he has done at least six industry-funded studies with null findings (he sent me a PowerPoint slide deck to prove it). In his correspondence, he said:
  • “I believe this is the FIRST industry funded study I’ve run that had a significant positive health finding.”
  • “Beyond Meat was not involved in design or analysis, and to this day still doesn’t know the study outcome.”
  • “I’m preparing myself for being called out as a vegan industry shill….hoping I’ve established a reputation for objectivity to withstand this ”
  • “PS – Hope you enjoy the study acronym (Study With Alternative Plantfood – Meat Eating Alternative Trial: SWAP-MEAT)” [Indeed I do].
OK. So let’s take this study on its merits.

Gardner asked healthy non-vegetarian adults (36) to consume 2 servings a day of either Beyond Meat or regular meat (what the study calls Animal Meat). The Beyond Meat and Animal Meat were provided to participants. The rest of their diets was on their own.

For 8 weeks, they ate Beyond Meat or Animal Meat. For the next 8 weeks, they switched over to the other kind.

Results: Participants consuming Beyond Meat displayed lower levels of
  • LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • Body weight (by 1 or 2 pounds)
  • TMAO (Trimethylamine N-oxide)—but only for those who consumed Animal Meat first and Beyond Meat second (not the other way around)
Beyond Meat may be plant-based, but it is ultraprocessed. FoodNavigator produced a nice comparison


Beyond Meat would dearly love to demonstrate that its ultraprocessed composition is immaterial to its health benefits. Hence: this study.

Beyond Meat is already using it for marketing purposes: “New study finds health benefits of plant-based meats.”

As I see it, there are two issues here: (a) what else the participants were eating and (b) the significance of the TMAO measurements.

(a) The diet: This was not a controlled dietary intake trial conducted in a closed metabolic ward. Participants were free to eat whatever they liked and how much they liked. They lost a little weight during the Beyond Meat phase, which means they must have been eating fewer calories during that phase, as they reported (this graph is in the Supplementary material).


Reported daily calories were under 2000, which means that lots of calories must not have been reported. So it’s hard to know what the weight loss is actually due to.

(b) TMAO: You make TMAO after you eat foods containing choline, a compound common in animal-based foods: meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. A 2019 editorial review in JAMA discusses the association of TMAO with heart disease risk.
Now, researchers are homing in on another possible culprit: a dietary metabolite linked to red meat called trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO. Three recent meta-analyses confirmed that high blood levels of TMAO are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. One of the studies, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2017, found a more than 60% heightened risk of both major adverse cardiovascular events and death from all causes in people with elevated TMAO. Other research has associated higher TMAO levels with heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
On the other hand, an analysis by Dr. Bret Scher raises questions about whether TMAO has any real meaning for health (and I thank Stephen Zwick for sending this to me).
In my opinion, this is an example of a well-run study that, in the end, lends very little to our knowledge of human health….The main outcome from this intervention had to do with TMAO. Why is this problematic? Well, it has to do with the fact that small, short-term trials are unable to measure meaningful endpoints, such as who lives, dies, or who gets heart disease. So, instead, the authors have to choose the surrogate outcome markers that they believe relate to human health.
Dr. Scher believes that “There is no convincing evidence that these results impact someone’s health.” As Scher has discussed previously, he sees no cause-and-effect relationship between TMAO levels and health. You can read his arguments here:
The bottom line? This study suggests that two servings a day of Beyond Meat is unlikely to be harmful. Whether substituting Beyond Meat for real meat is truly useful for health in the absence of other dietary changes remains to be confirmed, hopefully by independently funded research.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Another article that runs counter to the usual doom-laden stories out there. Fresh from the growers mouths.

Bountiful year expected for most Colorado crops

The year 2020 will go in the record books as one of the toughest in memory, thanks to the COVID-19 virus, but it could turn out to be a profitable year for fresh produce in Colorado, grower-shippers say.

“It’s nice to have a year with no strange weather or market problems,” said Erik Westesen, operations manager with Olathe, Colo.-based Tuxedo Corn Co.

“I know 2020 has been a rough year on everybody, but it’s been a good year for sweet corn.”

Other shippers reported similar experiences as the new shipping season unfolded in early August.


Eaton, Colo.-based Fagerberg Produce Inc. was on schedule to have red, white, yellow and sweet onions available for shipping the week of Aug. 17, said Colby Cantwell, salesman.

In large part, that’s a result of favorable weather, Cantwell said.

“The hail has been, thankfully, pretty scattered; we’ve largely been spared,” he said. “We had some early wind in Fort Morgan that knocked out about half of our crop, but in the grand scheme, it wasn’t a large portion. Overall, the weather has been OK. It was a little more humid this year and we had some really warm temperatures in June, but we were able to stay on top of the water and everything is looking good.”

Fagerberg, which has onions on about 1,500 acres, will ship onions through about March 1, Cantwell said.

The onion crop was looking good at Brighton, Colo.-based Sakata Farms, said Robert Sakata Jr., owner.

“We’re getting toward the finish line,” he said, predicting a late August or early September start to the harvest.

“We’re very fortunate, knock on wood,” Sakata said. “We’ve avoided most of the storms.”

The growing season had been mostly “hot and dry” for the company’s nearly 400 acres of onions, Sakata said.

Sakata Farms grows reds, whites and yellows, but 80% of the total crop is yellows, Sakata said.


Rocky Ford, Colo.-based melon grower-shipper Hirakata Farms started packing “light volumes” of cantaloupes about July 21, and accelerated the pace in early August, said Michael Hirakata, co-owner.

“Part of the early crop was torn up by hail about the first part of June; it tore up quite a bit of that first planting, but one field survived pretty good and the quality is excellent,” Hirakata said.

“Just by the flavor, we’re in that 15-brix range, which is great.”

Hirakata Farms’ seedless watermelon crop is “going pretty good” by early August, with sizing “mostly a 45-count and a little 60s,” Hirakata said.

“The crop looks to be pretty good; most of the watermelons missed the bad weather,” he said.

“Yield may be a problem in some blocks, but in others, yields will be phenomenal.”

A year ago, weather knocked down Hirakata Farms’ production by about 60%, Hirakata said.

“Last year, we had hailstorm after hailstorm,” he said. “We’re way better off than last year..”

Markets were looking “pretty good” by early August, Hirakata said.

“We’re very happy with what we’re getting,” he said. “Supply and demand is almost neck-and-neck. We have a good inventory, but we’re getting rid of whatever comes in right away. We’ve been pretty fortunate that we were able to pick tomorrow’s loads today, and that’s all I can ask for.”


Greeley, Colo.-based organic and conventional carrot grower-shipper Hungenberg Produce Inc. started harvest on a “really good” crop July 10, said Jordan Hungenberg, salesman.

A March ice storm hit about 100 of the company’s 1,200 acres, and three fields required replanting, but weather presented no further issues, Hungenberg said.

“All the yields are really good, and the quality is excellent,” he said.

The season runs until about the week after Thanksgiving, Hungenberg said.

Hungenberg Produce has about 250 acres of organic carrots, he said.

“We spend a lot of money weeding organics by hand, but we’re getting better,” he said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has topped the list of concerns across the industry, other hurdles persist, Hungenberg said.

“One main challenge we’ve had is labor. The minimum wage is now $12 in Colorado, and you have to try and get a little more money from your customers, which always presents a challenge to us, but they’ve been very fair with us and we’re very pleased in that manner.”


Center, Colo.-based potato grower-shipper Mountain Valley Produce expects to begin its harvest by the second week of September, said Virginia Myers, co-owner.

“The crop’s coming along well,” she said, noting that the company has yellows, russets and fingerlings. “I think we’ll have right at average yields and good quality.”

The weather has cooperated, Myers said.

“We’ve not had any real weather issues; it has been dry, which is kind of good when you have irrigation but not good for the overall environment,” she said. “We’re going to be very average, but good quality.”

Harvest should be complete by about Oct. 10, Myers said.


“It’s a great year for corn,” Tuxedo Corn Co.’s Westesen said Aug. 7. “We happen to be a little low this week, but we’re shipping corn all over the place.”

Harvest got underway July 7-9, compared to a usual start of mid-July, Westesen said.

“Lots of warm weather; that heat really will make the corn come on quicker,” he said. “We planted everything we planned to. We’re going to harvest all of it.”

There had been some doubt, during earlier stages of the COVID-19 crisis, Westesen said.

“We were a little surprised that there wouldn’t be as much demand with the coronavirus, but things are picking up,” he said.

Tuxedo has 1,660 acres of conventional and 5-10 acres of organic sweet corn, Westesen said.


Colorado peach production will be down this year, thanks an April freeze, said Charlie Talbott, president of Palisade, Colo.-based peach grower-shipper Talbott Farms Inc.

“It’s pretty tough,” he said. “The morning of April 14, we had a record-setting cold that reduced our crop to about 10-15% of our expectation of what a good crop would be,” he said. “The good news is, in the last 20 years, we’ve had only one half-crop. So, we were due — part of the game.”

Some production areas saw 22-23 degrees, Talbott said.

“Despite all our frost protection, that was just too cold,” he said.

As a result, Talbott Farms likely will ship 800,000 to 1 million pounds of peaches this year, compared to a normal volume of 8 million to 10 million, Talbott said.

“It’s interesting, because the better areas for frost, the hardy versus more tender varieties, didn’t matter,” he said. “Some orchards had full or near-full crops through the Mesa County growing area. We’re not among that fortunate group. The county south of us, Delta, had a better crop. They were less advanced during that cold event.”

The best estimate for Colorado’s crop is about 35% of normal, Talbott said. There won’t be promotable volumes of Colorado peaches this year, he said.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member

#12 Livestock supply chains with Liz Jackson Ag Watchers
RT- 45:25 20 AUG 2020
#12 Livestock supply chains with Liz Jackson
We have a chat with Liz Jackson, lecturer in supply chain management and board member of Sheep Producers Australia. The topics covered include wool selling and livestock supply chain. This was prompted by our discussions on the retail share received by Australian livestock producers.

By Elizabeth Elkin and Millie Munshi August 28, 2020, 1:00 PM GMT+2 (RT-5 to 6 minutes)
The U.S. seafood industry has seen some serious suffering this year as restaurant shutdowns shattered demand and Covid-19 threatened fisherman working in close quarters. Now add natural disasters to the list of hardships.

Hurricane Laura raked Louisiana early Thursday, becoming one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the state. Shrimp and fishing boats in the U.S. had to be docked from the tumultuous waters, grinding the industry to a halt and hitting revenue at a time that’s usually peak season.

Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association, estimates that shrimpers can lose as much as $5,000 for every night they can’t fish. Boats have already been tied up for about three days because of the storm. About 70% of the industry’s revenue in the state comes in from July 15 to Oct. 1.

In a rare bit of luck, the storm passed through Texas with little damage reported to the boats themselves.

That “would’ve been the nail in our coffin,” Hance said.

The seafood industry accounts for about $145 billion in sales and 1.7 million jobs in the U.S., according to trade group National Fisheries Institute. Restaurant demand far and away dominates the industry at 70% of sales. When dining rooms had to close, it dealt a serious blow to the shrimp industry.

Hurricane Laura came just after U.S. Tropical Storm Marco came ashore in Louisiana late Monday.

While Marco didn’t significantly damage property, it did cause lost fishing days. Fish in freezers along the coast also had to be moved, said David Veal, executive director of the American Shrimp Processors Association, which represents about 75% of fresh shrimp packers in the Gulf.

“Given our economic problems the last two decades, it’s tough to recover from these kinds of things,” Veal said.

Elizabeth Elkin in New York and Millie Munshi in Denver

Russia’s attractive wheat supplies make up 80% of Egypt’s purchases so far this season, compared with about half at a similar time last year. Russia is nearing the end of its harvest, which is expected to approach 2017’s record haul and help the nation reclaim its ranking as the world’s top exporter. In contrast, Ukraine’s crop has fallen slightly from a year earlier, and production plummeted in France and Romania.

Today’s Must Reads
  • Chilling out | When it comes to measuring China’s compliance with promises to buy more American farm goods as part of a landmark trade pact between the world’s two biggest nations, the U.S. top agriculture negotiator seems to have mellowed.
  • Bovine blues | The California heat wave that strained the state’s power grid is also serving a blow to its dairy farmers, the nation’s biggest milk producers.
  • Flipping burgers | Not even the greatest surge in joblessness in 80 years is easing the fast-food industry’s years-old labor shortage.
  • Import rebound | China boosted imports of farm goods ranging from corn to pork to sorghum last month, signaling a demand recovery for protein in the world’s most-populous nation.
  • Easing the pain | Although a poor harvest has worsened the outlook for French wheat exports, demand from China is proving to be a bright spot.
  • Walmart sidelined | Grocery stores are booming as the coronavirus pandemic drives Americans to stock up their pantries. But the nation’s biggest grocer is largely missing out.
On the Bloomberg Terminal
  • Soup momentum | Elevated food consumption due to people staying home amid the pandemic may allow Campbell to finish the year with strong sales and margin gains, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
  • Green shoots | Improving demand vs. supply indicators portend bottoming agriculture prices, but history suggests a greenback peak is needed for a sustained recovery, Bloomberg Intelligence writes.
  • Use the AHOY function to track global commodities trade flows.
  • Click HERE for automated stories about supply chains.
  • See BNEF for BloombergNEF’s analysis of clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities.
  • Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts.
Like Supply Lines?

Don’t keep it to yourself. Colleagues and friends can sign up here. We also publish Balance of Power, a daily briefing on the latest in global politics.
Bloomberg All Access @economics on The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.

Adapt 2030 Aug 28, 2020 / 6:39
There is a direct relationship between high food prices and cargo theft. With the UK having its lowest crop yields in 40 years, summer snowdrifts in Russia, the global food landscape looks well under the rosy forecasts in the beginning of 2020. Are you ready for trucks to stop arriving at your supermarkets?
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The Living Force
FOTCM Member
World powers continue the positioning of food resources. As global weather patterns shift!

Published Thu, Sep 10 20201:03 AM EDT
  • On Tuesday, prices of U.S. soybean futures rose to their highest levels since 2018 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that Chinese buyers purchased 664,000 tonnes, the largest daily total since July 22.
  • “It looks like the outlook demand for the next six months or so is pretty good, so I would say U.S. farmers are feeling much more optimistic than they were a year or even six months ago,” said Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council

A worker displaying soybeans imported from Ukraine at the port in Nantong, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. - Imports of soybeans from the US, once China’s biggest supplier, have dropped massively since a trade war between the US and China began in 2018.
STR | AFP | Getty Images

Global soybean demand has been robust recently, with new American crop sales at record levels, said Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

On Tuesday, prices of U.S. soybean futures rose to their highest levels since 2018 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that Chinese buyers purchased 664,000 tonnes, the largest daily total since July 22.

“It looks like the outlook demand for the next six months or so is pretty good, and so I would say U.S. farmers are feeling much more optimistic than they were say, a year or even six months ago,” Sutter told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

He argued that China snapping up U.S. soybeans indicates that the phase one trade deal between the two countries is successful.

According to the agreement signed in January, China is committed to buying $12.5 billion of American agricultural goods in 2020 and another $19.5 billion in 2021. China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans, importing 60% of the world’s soybean exports.

“I continue to believe that the phase one agreement is very important and is being executed well,” said Sutter.

While there are concerns that China may not be able to fulfill its commitments in the phase one deal, he explained that is largely due to the perception that purchases would take off immediately after the deal was done.

However, there were issues and details to be worked through and China is now actively buying soybeans at this time of the year on seasonal demand, said Sutter.

And the country’s soybean demand is likely to grow as the country’s hog herd numbers recover from a African swine fever outbreak, he said.

“Now, as we get into the time of the year, when China is more typically purchasing soybeans from the northern hemisphere — the United States in particular — we are seeing them make significant purchases ... we have a record amount of new crop sales open to China at this time, so we are thinking that it is a successful trade deal,” Sutter added.

Andrey Sizov Sep 9, 2020
Russia 2020 crop update * #Wheat and barley production estimates up , #corn – down * Autumn drought becomes an issue for 2021 crop * Domestic market could face barley oversupply More:

Farm Policy
Sep 9, 2020
Topsoil Moisture Percent Short to Very Short, Week Ending September 6th
* #Iowa, 80% * #Nebraska, 73% * #Illinois, 57% * #Indiana, 52% * #SouthDakota, 53%

09 September 2020
Pattern change
An extensive omega blocking pattern is expected to develop this weekend and strengthen into the next week. A powerful surface high-pressure system will spread across a large part of Europe and bring stable and very hot weather in many areas.

In response to a changing pattern, a very strong warm advection will spread from the south into central and northern Europe. It will bring a stable, around a week-long period of very warm to hot days.

These fires are highly destructive and can damage crops and soil, harm livestock, and create a high-risk environment for agricultural workers. In addition to the dangers of an active fire, wildfire smoke, ash, and chemicals used to treat fires negatively affect air and water quality.

Farmers and farmworkers are at a greater risk for exposure and may come into more frequent contact with wildfire ash and chemical residue due to their work outdoors and long shifts, both during an active fire and as well as during cleanup and recovery. Lost workdays can affect workers economically as well. Regardless of their proximity to wildfires, agricultural workers can struggle with stress and other mental health issues related to the effects of wildfires.

WCAHS is working with agricultural stakeholders to conduct research on the impact of wildfires on the safety and health of agricultural workers. Our research with farmers and farmworkers in the Imperial, Central, and Salinas valleys address farmers’ perceptions of the risks to their workforce and farmworkers’ perceptions of personal risk.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Ag Watchers- Podcast
RT- -37:30 10:24 AM · Sep 26, 2020
Russia has in recent years been the driver of global wheat pricing, we thought it was time to talk to someone close to the action. Who better to talk to than Andrey Sizov.

Andrey is the leading black sea agricultural markets analyst, he is the managing director of Sovecon, and writer of the sizov report.Topics covered include;

The rise of Russia as a wheat producer from the USSR.
How climate change has helped Russian wheat, but what about the future?
Forecasting the Russian wheat cropInfrastructure challenges..
The two main challenges facing the Russian grain industry.

Follow Andrey on twitter for his insights on sizov_andre, and check out his research on his website


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
As of today what should have been the Indian Summer Havest (in the area of Angos), has given away to muddy fields, cooler temps, and rain over the last week. With more pecipation to follow in the coming week.

Also so weird to drive for miles on oct 10th and see nothing in the fields. Beans harvested and corn disced under

Wildfires Devastate California Wineries: 'It's Like a Bad Dream' | WSJ
Oct 5, 2020 / 3:06

10/9/2020 Snip:
The U.S. and world have lower and lower amounts soybeans, all of the time, according to the USDA.

On Friday, the USDA released its October Supply/Demand Report.

As a result, the CME Group’s farm markets jumped. Soybeans rallied 25¢, corn up 4¢, and wheat up 5¢.

At the close, the Dec. corn futures settled 8¢ higher at $3.95½. March corn futures closed 7½¢ higher at $4.02¼.

Nov. soybean futures settled 15½¢ higher at $10.65¾. January soybean futures closed 17¼¢ lower at $10.65.

Dec. wheat futures closed 1½¢ lower at $5.93½.

Dec. soymeal futures closed $4.10 per short ton higher at $363.70. Dec. soy oil futures settled $1.01 cent higher at 34.01¢ per pound.

In the outside markets, the NYMEX crude oil market is $0.61 per barrel lower at $40.58. The U.S. dollar is lower, and the Dow Jones Industrials are 135 points higher.

U.S. 2020/21 Production

For corn, the U.S. crop is estimated at 14.7 billion bushels vs. the trade’s expectation of 14.82 billion and the USDA’s previous estimate of 14.9 billion bushels.

The U.S. corn yield is estimated at 178.4 bushels per acre vs. the trade’s expectation of 177.9 bu./acre and the USDA’s September estimate of 178.5.

The U.S. harvested area is pegged at 82.5 million acres vs. the trade’s expectation of 83.3 million and the USDA’s September estimate of 83.5 million.
For soybeans, total 2020/21 output is estimated at 4.26 billion bushels vs. the trade’s expectation of 4.28 billion and the USDA’s September estimate of 4.31 billion.

The U.S. avg. yield is pegged at 51.9 bu./acre vs. the trade’s expectation of 51.7 bu./acre and the USDA’s September estimate of 51.9.

The U.S. soybean harvested area is pegged at 82.5 million acres vs. the trade’s estimate of 82.9 million and the USDA’s previous estimate of 83.0 million.

Sun, 11 Oct 2020 /10:17
We are beginning to see the interlacing of Grand Soar Minimum intensification reducing the length of growing seasons, leading to higher food prices where people cannot afford to eat after all of the business closures across continents. This is pushing the need for food banks, but China experienced the worst crop wipe out in the last 200 year and are actively buying grain and commodity crops across the planet, driving up prices further. This in turn adds 10% to food prices where more people can't afford food, sending them to food banks. Record waterspout count in the Great Lakes as South America enters a drought further reducing global grain totals. The spiral is in play.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Were getting pounded by rain here, with snow (possible on the valley floor), maybe over the next couple days.

Oct 9, 2020
Civil society organisations are calling on the EU to halt the production and export of banned pesticides to third countries, some of which they say can be detected in food sold back to the EU market.

Despite being banned in the EU, European companies continue to produce and sell pesticides to third countries with lower human health and environmental laws.

A recent study authored by Swiss NGO Public Eye and the Greenpeace’s investigative journalist team Unearthed found that 41 banned pesticides were notified for export from the EU in 2018, predominantly from seven countries.

This continues on the back of an EU commitment to reduce the use of hazardous pesticides on European soil, which campaigners say undermines the EU’s green ambitions.

Under the EU’s flagship food policy, the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy, the EU has committed to set a trade policy that supports a European ecological transition while at the same time promoting a global transition to sustainable agrifood systems.

“EU trade policy should enhance cooperation with and to obtain ambitious commitments from third countries in key areas,” the F2F strategy reads, offering up the use of pesticides as an example.

“Through its external policies, including international cooperation and trade policy, the EU will pursue the development of Green Alliances on sustainable food systems with all its partners,” it says, adding that the EU will seek to ensure that there is an ambitious sustainability chapter in all EU bilateral trade agreements.

Honeybees are being trained to ‘sniff out’ sunflowers in a bid to stimulate crop production.

Scientists at the Universidad de Buenos Aires31172-6), Argentina discovered that bees could be conditioned like sniffer dogs to pick up scents. The team now hopes that this will help make bees more efficient during the pollination process.

A honeybee colony was given food which had been layered with a synthetic odour mimicking the smell of sunflowers. These bees were then found to have visited sunflowers more frequently, leading to a notable increase in crop production.

The findings could be good news for other crops which rely on pollination too, as the method could work for plants like apples or almonds, say scientists.

"We show that it's possible to condition honeybees to a rewarded odour inside the colony, and this experience modifies the bees' odour-guided behaviours later," says Walter Farina, who led the research.

"The most surprising and relevant result is that the foraging preferences for the target crop are so prolonged and intensive that it promoted significant increases in the crop yields."

A honeybee never forgets

This isn’t the first time Farina and his team have made a significant discovery about bees. Previously the researchers found that honeybees are able to establish long-term, stable memories related to food scents they had encountered in the nest. These memories then influenced the bees’ choices about which crops they would visit in future.

Farina was able to use this understanding of in-hive memories to develop the new research on foraging preferences. The scientists were able to manipulate the bees’ memories through the artificial sunflower odour, leading them to actively choose to visit sunflowers more.

The honeybees in the study also brought more sunflower pollen back to their hive.

"Through this procedure, it is possible to bias honeybee foraging activity and increase yields significantly," Farina says. "In other words, pollination services might be improved in pollinator-dependent crops by using simple mimic odours as part of a precision pollination strategy."

The sunflowers used in the research were found to have increased their seed production from 29 to 57 per cent.

Farina and his team are now looking at how to apply these findings to other crops which depend on pollination. By using odour mimics, the researchers hope to improve the overall efficiency of pollination, as climate change continues to threaten pollinating insects like honeybees.

Find the press release from the Prefect of Haute-Saône on the damage caused by wild boars in Haute-Saône
Mise à jour le 14/10/2020
State services, in close collaboration with the Departmental Federation of Hunters, are mobilized to provide responses and prevent the damage committed by wild boars in Haute-Saône.

This action begins with the mobilization of the hunting grounds. Several authorizations for beatings in hunting reserves have already been given by the Departmental Federation of Hunters.

The prefect of Haute-Saône asked for the intervention of the lieutenants of the louveterie. Six beatings were organized over the last two weekends and made it possible to collect 27 wild boars.

Representatives of the departmental commission for hunting and wildlife (CDCFS game damage training) met last week, in particular to monitor wild boar samples at the department level and more particularly in classified municipalities. in surveillance, alert and black spots. The rules adopted for the hunting season set for these last two categories harvest targets of 20 and 25% of adult sows respectively. These will be the subject of regular monitoring to trigger, if necessary, corrective measures (administrative battles, for example).

These actions are in line with the goal shared by all stakeholders to reduce wild boar populations as quickly as possible.

Finally, the Prefect draws the attention of landowners, in particular land located in peri-urban areas that cannot be hunted down, near homes, to their duty of maintenance. Some wastelands can indeed encourage the concentration of numerous wild boars, causing damage to neighboring land, agricultural plots and gardens.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Premiered Oct 16, 2020 Video / 15:58 / Via Ice Age Farmer
The media is blaming shortages of corn on the virus, but both common sense and a new study out of Canada attribute massive crop losses to the fact that our sun is dropping into a modern Grand Solar Minimum.

It is this that is driving the timeline for totalitarian takeover and lockdowns, even when it seems less than ideal — the technocrats have a deadline: the food is running out. Spread the word and start growing food today.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Future positions as the government stockpiles prepare.

Tweet 1
[Maximum over 1663 kg] The corn expert guidance group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs organized experts to test the yield of the corn densely planted high-yield demonstration field of the Crop Science Institute of Crop Science Innovation Team of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The results show that the demonstration field has the highest corn yield per mu It reached 1663.25 kg, breaking the current national high-yield record of 1517.11 kg, and realizing a substantial increase of 146.14 kg. This is the seventh time that the team has set a record for high-yield corn in my country.
Line 2
The so-called demonstration field refers to a situation with no strong wind, no hail, no drought, and no waterlogging. If these conditions are met, most of the land in Northeast China can yield 1,500 jin per mu. The problem is that the recent drought or waterlogging has caused farmers brothers. If there are many mountains, they have already lost their money. Land insurance compensation is pitifully small. Officials, open your eyes and see the peasants' suffering

Chapter Six of the Phase One Agreement alsocontains specific commitments to expand trade in U.S. goods and services and will support a dramatic expansion of U.S. food, agriculture,and seafood product exportsto China,increasing Americanfarm and fishery income, generating more rural economic activity,and promoting jobgrowth.

Using the bestmethodology, we have calculated that China has purchased approximately 71percent of its target for 2020. They have purchased $23.6 billion in agricultural products so far this year. This is substantiallymore than the base year of 2017, and should end up being our best year ever in sales to China. It is still to be seen whether they meet their target but particularly given the COVID-19 effects on the global economy they are making substantial progress. It is worth noting that the Phase One Agreement did not go into effect until February 14, 2020,and March is the first full month of its effect. That means that we have seen seven months of agreement sales

...we have proportionally adjusted upward to cover products not included in the weekly reports. This methodology has proven accurate and corresponds with thesimilarnumbers China keeps. Again,the highlight of this interim report is that we already are on pace to have all-time high salesto Chinain beef, pork, corn, and soybeans.

These changes affect the entire range of agriculture products, including corn, soybeans, dairy products, poultry, pork, beef, horticultural products,pet food, and animal feed. The result is an historic expansion in the ability of our farmers and ranchers to sell their products to China. Before thePhase One Agreement, only approximately 1,500 facilities in the U.S. could export agricultural goods to China. Today, that number has increased to more than 4,000 facilities.

Our dairy farmers have also seen expanded opportunities to export to China. Prior to the Phase One Agreement, U.S. dairy and infant formula exports faced restrictive Chinese regulatory requirements that limited their ability to export to China. Because of the Phase One Agreement, China now recognizes the U.S. food safety system of oversight for dairy products, giving U.S. dairy and infant formula companies increased access to China while also providing Chinese consumers with a wider variety of high quality and safe U.S. products.As a result, exports of U.S. dairy products to China were already up 38percent from January throughAugust2020 compared to the same period in 2019, and are expected to continue to rise.

52020 Sales Far Outpacing 2017 Sales
Chart 1: 2017 & 2020 Monthly U.S. Agricultural Exports to China (Non-Cumulative) (BillionUSD)
7 U.S. corn exports and sales to China have taken off.
8 China’s purchases continue to rise for U.S. sorghum
China’s record purchases of pork and beef
U.S. pork exports to China hit an all-time recordin just the first fivemonths of 2020.
10 U.S. beef exports to China have tripled.
11 Exports of certain fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops have increased



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
October 25, 2020
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government is ordering poultry farms to keep their birds indoors after six wild swans were found recently dead and tests on two of the birds came back positive for a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu. Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said Thursday the order comes into force at midnight. She says experts believe the disease likely was brought to the Netherlands by birds migrating from Russia and Kazakhstan because the same strain circulated there over the summer. The order to keep birds indoors on farms is intended to prevent the infection spreading from wild birds to farmed animals.

October 23, 2020 Snip:
Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, breaks down the October cattle on feed report from USDA. Overall the report was not friendly to the market given the large placements.
According to the USDA cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on October 1, 2020. The inventory was 4 percent above October 1, 2019. This is the highest October 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

The inventory included 7.31 million steers and steer calves, up 6 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 62 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.41 million head, down slightly from 2019.

How is Corporate Media Missing This ?
Adapt 2030 Premiered Oct 24, 2020 / 12:16
40F below normal temperatures with record doubling snowfalls expected and already occurring across N. America. USA passes new legislation focused on "Space Weather" and protecting electrical infrastructure and the USDA already indicating this years harvest totals are incorrect and the agency will adjust next year.

Rural Radio Markets Oct 23
USDA Flash Sale -100,000 MT of #corn sold to unknown for 20/21 marketing year.

Farmer focus podcasts are designed to do exactly what the name implies - focus on the perspectives of farmers. In this episode, four farmers from three different farm operations share their perspectives on how digital agriculture currently plays a role in their harvest operations and how they are using yield data to improve their farming practices. These farmers also offer some suggestions for technologies that would help them operate more efficiently. Toward the end of the episode, each farmer speculates on how digital agriculture might affect their operations in the future. Learning from a diversity of farmer perspectives on digital agriculture usage is important for researchers, professionals, and farmers alike, and that's exactly what this episode delivers. One of the primary conclusions from this episode is that when it comes to digital technologies it is all about finding the technologies that work best for your operation. Right now, that means that these growers are identifying whatever software is available to help them - whether that software is specialized for agriculture or not - and piecing it together to create their desired solution. As we look toward the future of digital technologies in harvest, it's clear that these farmers already have a vision for how digital agriculture will help shape their future operations.
Edit add:

RitaBuyse @ACOMRB
10:48 AM · Oct 26, 2020 Taiwan's MFIG seeks corn for March 2021 arrival
- 40,000-65,000 mt of No. 2 Corn (plus/minus 5%)
- from US , Brazil, Argentina or South Africa
Close: Oct. 27, 0600 GMT (1400 TPE) - Platts
Last edited:


FOTCM Member
Japan has just announced that it will cull a record breaking 1.6 million chickens after an outbreak of bird flu in the nations largest poultry farm. It's the first time it has been detected in Eastern Japan.

I don't know the details of bird flu but considering the authorities overreaction to the BSE (mad cow disease) problem years ago, and the recent mink culls because of unfounded fears of animal to human tranmission, i do wonder whether all of these culls are really necessary. At least in case of bird flu, maybe it is. And in the end it's hardly an idea source of protein. But it is at least a source of animal protein for people.

The issue arises when we consider all of these issues affecting the food supply, such as the mountains of food that were dumped during the lockdown. Because taken together one would think that they will eventually have a very tangible impact on the supply of nutritional food available.

Bird flu hits largest poultry farm in Japan, record 1.6 million chickens to be culled

Thu, 24 Dec 2020 15:00 UTC

Chiba Prefecture announced Thursday an outbreak of avian influenza believed to be highly pathogenic at a chicken farm in the city of Isumi in the eastern Japan prefecture.

Since November, farm outbreaks of such bird flu have occurred in 12 prefectures, including the western prefecture of Kagawa and the southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki. Chiba is the 13th prefecture to report an outbreak this year and the first to do so in eastern Japan.

Chiba has the second-largest number of farmed egg-laying hens in the country, after Ibaraki Prefecture, also in eastern Japan.

The affected poultry farm is one of the largest of its kind in the nation.

To stem the spread of the infection, the Chiba prefectural government will cull all of some 1.16 million chickens at the farm, the biggest number ever in a single bird flu outbreak case in Japan.


FOTCM Member
A farmer in England i follow on Twitter seems to be struggling with what may be above average rainfall for the second year running. I suspect he may have a point because a farmer i met in France who had been farming for many years in the same area said he had been struggling in the last few years with unusually heavy rainfall.

This also appears to be supported by some weather sites that seem to show in some areas there's been nearly a doubling of rainfall, whilst at other times of the year, and in other places, they're experiencing record drought conditions.

This cyclical shift to extremes during times of climate upheaval was reported in yet another research paper recently.

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The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Texas A&M University reports:

Winter Storm Uri caused at least $600 million in agricultural losses across Texas

Winter Storm Uri caused at least $600 million in agricultural losses across Texas, according to preliminary data from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural economists.

"A large number of Texas farmers, ranchers and others involved in commercial agriculture and agricultural production were seriously affected by Winter Storm Uri," said Jeff Hyde, AgriLife Extension director, Bryan-College Station. "Freezing temperatures and ice killed or harmed many of their crops and livestock as well as causing financial hardships and operational setbacks. And the residual costs from the disaster could plague many producers for years to come."

AgriLife Extension estimates that the following sectors were among the state's biggest agricultural losses by commodity:
  • Citrus crops, at least $230 million
  • Livestock, at least $228 million
  • Vegetable crops, at least $150 million
Another agricultural sector that experienced significant losses was the green industry. AgriLife Extension, in collaboration with the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, developed and distributed a loss assessment survey to more than 4,000 nursery, greenhouse and other green industry-related businesses requesting input on the type and extent of losses encountered. It will be several weeks before there is sufficient data to provide an assessment of those losses.

Rest of article here.

See also:


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Texas A&M University reports:

Winter Storm Uri caused at least $600 million in agricultural losses across Texas

Winter Storm Uri caused at least $600 million in agricultural losses across Texas, according to preliminary data from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural economists.

"A large number of Texas farmers, ranchers and others involved in commercial agriculture and agricultural production were seriously affected by Winter Storm Uri," said Jeff Hyde, AgriLife Extension director, Bryan-College Station. "Freezing temperatures and ice killed or harmed many of their crops and livestock as well as causing financial hardships and operational setbacks. And the residual costs from the disaster could plague many producers for years to come."

AgriLife Extension estimates that the following sectors were among the state's biggest agricultural losses by commodity:
  • Citrus crops, at least $230 million
  • Livestock, at least $228 million
  • Vegetable crops, at least $150 million
Another agricultural sector that experienced significant losses was the green industry. AgriLife Extension, in collaboration with the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, developed and distributed a loss assessment survey to more than 4,000 nursery, greenhouse and other green industry-related businesses requesting input on the type and extent of losses encountered. It will be several weeks before there is sufficient data to provide an assessment of those losses.

Rest of article here.

See also:


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Andrey Sizov @sizov_andre
5:15 AM · May 15, 2021

• They have almost rebuilt the herd, which now stands at 98% of pre-ASF level. The recovery was slower than planned because of ASF, mainly in northern provinces • CN 1Q 2021 pork imports hit 1.2 MMT(almost +30% YOY) 2/
• CN pork imports will start to decline later this year. Total imports are expected at 3.8 MMT, 14% down from the previous record year • The country has accumulated huge frozen pork reserves which currently put additional pressure on prices 3/
• Same herd size but more productive and efficient, as share of small farms is declining fast. This could have two important consequences: more pork and less imports in the future + higher demand for crops, #soybeans first of all (no more leftovers in feeding) 4/
• ASF is likely to stay for a long time but they have learned how to deal with it (i.e. similar to the EU)-> no serious issues for the industry • Industry expansion will continue and “after 2023, there will be an EXCESS SUPPLY phase for 2 consecutive years”(!!) – CN AgMin
• So IF CN AGMIN IS RIGHT -> bullish #soybeans and #corn, bearish #pork RT the first tweet if you like the summary, please. One of the sources used:…

California Nevada DEWS March 2021 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar
Mar 23, 2021 RT / 1:07:50 / YouTube
According to the March 16 U.S. Drought Monitor, 90.6% of CA and 100% of NV are in drought. The wet season is almost over and there's little chance for snowpack to reach normal levels. Worse, this is the second year in a row with below-normal snowpack. This webinar discussed current conditions and outlook as well as an overview of California and Nevada rangeland conditions. The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System (CA-NV DEWS) March 2021 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events (i.e. El Niño and La Niña)

Published date: 14 May 2021
Russia currently applies a €50/t export duty on wheat shipments, which is due to remain in place until the end of June, as part of government efforts to reduce local food prices. The duty is planned to be replaced by a permanent floating export tax from 2 June.

The flexible duty is not expected to be charged if export wheat prices are below the base fixed price of $200/t. If prices exceed $200/t, a 70pc duty will be applied on the difference between the basic export price and the base level of $200/t.

Russian wheat prices have been comfortably above $200/t on the export market in recent months. Argus assessed the spot fob Russian 12.5pc grade wheat contract at $271.50/t at yesterday's close, while 2021-22 crop for July-August shipment was heard in a range of $270-275/t fob earlier this week.

Still, Russian wheat exports next year are anticipated to total 40mn t, unchanged from this year and the highest level in the world. This is amid expectations of high stocks by the end of this year and weaker domestic consumption next year. Russian wheat 2020-21 ending stocks are expected to reach 8.5mn t, up from 5.8mn t a year earlier but below 12mn t previously forecast by the USDA.

U.S. Crops and Livestock in Drought
(Corn Soybeans Hay Cattle Wheat)
USDM Updates Weekly - 05/11/21
1,360 counties with crops experiencing drought (D1–D4)
151.6 Million acres of crops experiencing drought (D1–D4)
14.1 Million beef cattle experiencing drought (D1–D4)
646 counties with drought declarations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts hundreds of surveys each year and a Census of Agriculture every 5 years. NASS prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture, including agricultural commodities statistics for crops and livestock.
This map displays USDA corn crop production (data from 2014) alongside current U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) drought designations. Learn more
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