Ukrainian farmers and food-importing nations in the Middle East and North Africa will feel the pain of the Russian interruption of grain exports through the Black Sea corridor, said the IFPRI think tank on Monday. The importer nations face their highest need for grain in the months ahead with supplies in doubt and commodity prices jolted higher.
Russia will set a record for wheat exports during the current marketing year while Ukraine rebuilds its grain shipments, aided by the recent international agreement to end a blockade of its Black Sea ports, said USDA analysts. Bayer, the world's largest seed and ag chemical company, said on Monday that it would help rebuild Ukraine's agricultural system but also would continue to sell crop inputs in Russia, the instigator of war with Ukraine.
The United States will build temporary grain silos on the border of Ukraine and Poland to help overcome a logistical barrier to exporting Ukrainian grain by rail, President Biden announced on Tuesday. "I'm working closely with our European partners to get 20 million tons of grains locked in Ukraine out onto the market to help bring down food prices," he said.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said farmers ought to be considered for federal compensation for grain lost in flooded bins this spring. Perdue gave conditional support to compensation at nearly the same time the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee called for a one-time grain payment …
The cold spell that hit the country in the early days of January has slowed barge traffic on rivers in the Midwest, says Harvest Public Media. In the first two weeks of the month, barges moved about 60 percent less grain than in the same period in 2017 due to heavy ice buildups, according to USDA.
Two major agribusiness groups are scrambling to fix a flaw in the new tax law that offers a big tax deduction to farmers who sell their crops through cooperatives but not when they deal with privately owned merchants. The flaw was created when lawmakers tried to replicate the benefits to farmes from a provision of the old tax code, known as Section 199, that was eliminated by the new law.
World consumption of grain will exceed 2.1 billion tonnes during 2017/18, a record due to "new peaks for food, feed and industrial uses," according to estimates by the London-based International Grains Council. "Food demand is expected to continue to drive increases for wheat while growth for feed and industrial use will push maize (corn) utilization to a new high."
The Trump administration is mulling a draft executive order to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA, says a senior White House official, according to Reuters. NAFTA renegotiations were expected to start in August, but a withdrawal by the U.S. could rush the timeline.
Canada’s new tax on carbon, set to start at C$10 in 2018 and reach C$50 by 2022, could hurt the country’s farmers and fertilizer companies, says Reuters. Canada is in one of the world’s biggest grain-producers. But at C$50, the tax “would raise fertilizer prices by C$2 per acre for Canadian farmers, and some experts peg the total farm cost at C$6 an acre, according to the CIBC bank.”
Africa accounts for 28 of the 36 countries worldwide that need food aid, says the FAO in its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. Drought reduced harvests in North Africa and in southern Africa, more than offsetting improvements in East and West Africa and pulling the continent's grain output to a below-normal level.
A Chinese government commission announced the merger of COFCO, the nation's largest food trader, with Chinatex Corp., one of the country's main textile and grain-trading groups, said China Daily. The new company will be "a bigger rival to compete with the so-called ABCD companies." The "ABCDs" are the long-time international farm export and processing companies — ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus.
State media say more than 1.9 million hectares of crops were damaged by flooding in central and southern China, reports Reuters. It was not clear whether heavy rains and the resultant floods would affect the summer grain crop, forecast for 140 million tonnes.
Grain elevators "are in for a difficult 2016/17 season," says agricultural lender CoBank, pointing to demands for more storage space while prospects darken for revenue from grain merchandising and grain drying.
Long overshadowed by corn in the United States and used mostly as livestock feed, sorghum is getting its turn as the wonder grain of cuisine, says the Guardian. The Hugo's restaurant chain in California substitutes sorghum for rice in many dishes on its menu, which declares, "Introducing sorghum: the drought-tolerant, low-water-usage, wonder grain."
When it launches on April 1, Landus Cooperative will be the seventh-largest grain company in the United States, says DTN. Members of the Farmers Cooperative and the West Central Cooperative voted to merge under the name of Landus.
The Port of Churchill, which includes the northern-most grain export terminal in Canada, and the railroad that serves it are for sale, says the Western Producer. Located on Hudson Bay, Churchill is the only Arctic seaport in Canada.
Consumers, livestock and industry will chew through a record 1.99 billion tonnes of food and feed grains this marketing year and world grain stocks still should rise by nearly 2 percent, said the International Grains Council in its monthly Grain Market Report. With the harvest season winding down in the Northern Hemisphere, IGC estimated the grain crop will be only 1 percent smaller than the record set in 2014/15.
The government will make its first crop-subsidy payments under the 2014 farm law in October, with an estimated transfer of $6.5 billion to follow, said USDA deputy undersecretary Alexis Taylor at a House Agriculture Committee hearing.
There is almost no risk that the United States will exceed WTO limits on agricultural subsidies with the 2014 farm law, but the picture could be far different if Doha Round proposals are adopted, according to three senior economists.