World grain supplies will rise marginally in 2023/24, buoyed by larger corn harvests in the United States, the EU, and Argentina, said the International Grains Council on Thursday. The council’s monthly Grain Market Report said corn production would rise 4.5 percent, to reach 1.202 billion tonnes worldwide.
Boosted by large increases in most sales categories, U.S. farm exports mushroomed to a record $196.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to newly released Commerce Department data.
Led by “much weaker” vegetable oil, dairy, and grain prices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s index of global food prices fell to its lowest level since May 2016. The price of vegetable oil dropped to a 12-year low.
Rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the amount of nutrients in staple crops such as rice and wheat, say researchers at Harvard's public health school. As a consequence, more than 1 billion women and children would lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake and be at larger risk of anemia and other diseases.
Mexico is the largest rice importer in the Western Hemisphere and the top market for U.S. rice, but American dominance is slipping, says USDA's monthly Grains: World Markets and Trade report. South American competitors are gaining ground, especially Uruguay, which is forecast to take 15 percent of the market. The U.S. share, which reached 100 percent after NAFTA took effect, is expected to drop to 80 percent, the smallest since 1996.
Much of the arable land in China, the world's largest rice producer, is off-limits for growing rice because there is too much salt in the soil or in the available irrigation water. Researchers are making progress, however, on developing 200 varieties that tolerate salty water although at far lower levels than found in sea water.
The newest member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Luther Strange of Alabama, is also the first to face the voters. The outcome of today's runoff election between Strange, cast as the establishment candidate, and Roy Moore, the Bible-quoting, conservative outsider, for the Republican nomination for the Senate could influence the course of the 2018 farm bill.
The United States is on the cusp of exporting rice to China for the first time, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, following a Sino-U.S. agreement on a protocol to prevent the introduction of rice pests into China. The trade group USA Rice said the agreement was "a tremendous leap" forward after a decade of work by the industry and USDA for access to the world's largest rice consuming nation.
Rice tends to absorb arsenic from the soil more readily than other food crops, prompting concern about the presence of the chemical in baby food. "Scientists have identified enzymes that help rice plant roots tame arsenic, converting it into a form that can be pushed back into the soil," thereby reducing the threat to humans, says Science News.
The chairman of a House Agriculture subcommittee proposed a tax-deferred disaster savings account that farmers could tap during hard times without waiting for government assistance. Rep. Rick Crawford said the damaging rains in his home state of Arkansas last month show the merit of letting producers take disaster preparedness into their own hands.
Farmers in Vietnam's southernmost province, Ca Mau, in the Mekong River delta, intentionally pierced four dikes erected against saltwater encroachment so they can convert rice paddies to seafood ponds. It was an illegal move, "but we just want to breed prawns to escape poverty," farmer Nguyen Thi Bi told Xinhua news agency as she stood on the edge of a newly created aquaculture pond.
A preliminary estimate by Louisiana State University's AgCenter says the historic flooding will cost the state's ag sector $110 million in lost and reduced-quality crops, increased production costs, and infrastructure damage, The Advertiser reports.
Growers in southwestern Louisiana lost around $14 million in rice, based on the current farm-gate price, in the flooding that followed torrential rains over the weekend, estimated Dustin Harrell, a Louisiana State University rice specialist. In calculating the "highly speculative" figure, Harrell relied on suggestions that 17,200 acres of rice, or 4 percent of fields, would be lost.
U.S. growers will harvest a record 7.78 million tonnes (245 million hundredweight) of rice, says the USDA, a hefty 6-percent increase from the projection made a month ago, thanks to larger plantings and higher yields. The larger crop is likely to depress the season-average price 5 percent from the $12.30 per hundredweight (100 pounds) for this marketing year, which ends July 31.
Rice growers around the world are planting more land to rice this year, an additional 2.8 million hectares that the USDA estimates will result in a record harvest of 480.7 million tonnes, 10 million tonnes larger than last year. "The global area expansion is largely due to few economically viable alternative planting options, producer support programs in several Asian countries and a desire by many countries to rebuild stocks after El Niño reduced production in 2015/16," said the monthly Rice Outlook report.
The world may be headed for its first tight rice supply since the spike in global food prices nearly a decade ago, says a social scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, part of a network of agricultural research centers.
Growers plan a 20-percent increase in rice plantings this year in Arkansas, the state that often grows half of the U.S. rice crop, says U-Arkansas.
California growers will record their smallest rice crop in 17 years as U.S. production fell by 14 percent this year, says the monthly Rice Outlook report.