Crop problems: High food prices to continue globally for years

On his farm in North Dakota, Eric Broten had intended to plant roughly 5,000 acres of corn this year, but he was only able to do so on 3,500 due to heavy April rains in a state where up to 25% of the planned maize might go unplanted this year.

The greatest grain crop in the world, corn, is difficult to sow in the northern United States, adding to a run of problematic agricultural harvests throughout the world that indicate several years of limited supply and high food prices.

Wheat, soy, and maize prices reached almost record highs earlier this year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a significant supplier of agricultural goods. Grain harvests have also been affected by unfavorable weather in China, India, South America, and portions of Europe. In the meantime, global fertilizer shortages are reducing crop production in several regions.

According to agriculture executives, business experts, farmers, and economists contacted by the media, the magnitude of simultaneous agricultural disruption may be unprecedented in history and it might take years to restore global food security.

“Typically, you can rebuild it in a single growing season when the supply and demand situation is tight. It will take two to three years to get out of the current situation given where we are now, the limitations on increasing output, and the (Ukrainian) war “said Jason Newton, the company’s chief economist. Nutrien Ltd. produces fertilizers.

The globe is experiencing an unparalleled food crisis, according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who also warned that numerous famines might occur this year and that the situation could get worse in 2023.

Grain sowing delays from Manitoba to Indiana have raised concerns about lesser productivity ahead of a major North American harvest. Since maize is a major source of animal feed, a lesser corn harvest in the country with the highest production will have an impact on the whole supply chain and increase the price of meat for consumers.

Due to poor transportation and high demand, grain supplies throughout the world have been limited since the epidemic began in 2020 and are predicted to get even worse. Before this year’s harvest, in September, the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) anticipates that end-of-season maize inventories in the country will be down 33% from pre-pandemic levels, and down 37% in September 2023.

By mid-June, maize in North Dakota should be at least knee-high, but only roughly two-thirds of the state’s crop had even begun to sprout.

Before Broten could plant any maize, it was late May. He repeatedly exchanged his seed for shorter-season, lower-yielding kinds before determining it was too late to sow any more. He had hoped to complete planting the maize by the first week of the month. He had to stop waiting for the fields to dry out.

“We were pushing the boundaries, working land that was much too wet, just trying to get a crop in,” said Broten, noting that in his corn fields, wheel prints from the agricultural equipment that compacted the soggy earth are still evident.

Our farm’s productivity targets would be drastically reduced, he declared.

The USDA already had to decrease its national maize production prediction by 4 bushels per acre last month due to the poor spring planting rate. The U.S. harvest potential was reduced by that cut alone by more than 9 million tonnes, or almost half of China’s record-breaking U.S. imports last year.

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