Agriculture news from week 40

USA and Canada


        Record corn prices offset lower yields

Corn prices are at exceptionally high levels in Manitoba because of local demand. Feed mills in the province need corn to produce rations. They can either buy corn locally, truck it in from the U.S., or replace it with feed wheat or barley. But those feed grains are also expensive. | File photo

Corn yields are below average on many farms in Manitoba, but producers should pocket a decent profit because of record high prices this fall.

A number of growers have extremely poor yields of 50 to 70 bushels per acre, and others have reported yields around 100 to 130 bu. per acre.

“It’s all over the place. It’s going to be the wonkiest provincial average, ever,” said Morgan Cott, special crops agronomist with the Manitoba Crop Alliance. “I think a happy medium would be someone averaging in the low 100s. Which is pretty amazing, considering the prices they (growers) could be getting this year.”

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Drought results in a drop in North Dakota, Minnesota edible bean production

Total 2021 U.S. edible bean production is estimated at 23.3 million hundredweight, which is 19% lower than 2020, the August crop production report said.

The North Dakota and Minnesota 2021 dry edible bean harvest is nearly in the books, and, as expected, yields are all over the board.

Eighty-three percent of North Dakota’s edible beans were harvested as of Sunday, Oct. 3, 5% less than last year, but 10% more than the five-year-average, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service-North Dakota. In Minnesota, the edible bean harvest was 86% complete as of Oct. 3, the same amount as in 2020 and 5% more than the five-year average, National Agricultural Statistics-Minnesota said.

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Organic Fertilizers Market for North America is Projected to Reach $2.45 Billion by 2026

The “North America Organic Fertilizers Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026)” report has been added to’s offering.

The North American organic fertilizer market was valued at USD 1,116.6 million in 2020, and it is projected to reach a value of USD 2,456.0 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 13.4%, during the forecast period, 2021-2026.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a direct and negative impact on the value chain of the organic fertilizer market in the North American region. The lockdown in different countries, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico, affected the export-import scenario and the distribution system adversely.

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A robotic arm system named Ada lifts Genovese Basil plants for a root inspection at the Iron Ox greenhouse. The robot below the plants lifts and moves the growth tanks autonomously. | Reuters/Nathan Frandino photo

Bill Gates’ green tech fund bets on farming robots

Reuters — As many parts of North America struggle under a crippling drought, a California startup that believes robots can grow produce more sustainably has raised US$50 million in a funding round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Iron Ox uses robots that are integrated with a hydroponic system consuming 90 percent less water than traditional farms, said chief executive officer Brandon Alexander.

The company is putting that system to work at a 10,000-sq. foot greenhouse in Gilroy, California, where a self-driving robot named Grover moves pallets of Genovese basil and a robotic arm system lifts the pallets for inspection. Sensors check the water for nitrogen and acidity levels for healthy growth.

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Barchart Cuts Crop Production Forecasts and Yield for U.S. and Canada

Barchart, a leading provider of data services, software and technology to global commodity buyers, agriculture, and the food supply chain, has released their October 2021 Yield and Production forecasts for U.S. and Canadian field crops. This latest report indicates a decrease in U.S. crop production for both corn, soybeans and hard red winter wheat, as well as a decrease in Canadian production forecasts for spring wheat and soybeans.

“As we near the end of the 2021 growing season, our forecasts have adjusted to show a decrease in yield for U.S. corn (182.3 bu/ac vs. 183.4 in September) and soybeans (51.3 bu/ac vs. 51.6 bu/ac in September),” said Barchart CEO Mark Haraburda. “We are also seeing a decrease in yield for Canadian Spring Wheat (46.3 bu/ac vs. 47.8 bu/ac in September), while there has been a slight increase in yield for Canadian Soybeans (42.2 bu/ac vs. 42.1 bu/ac in September).”

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New Zealand


ANZ raises forecast for Fonterra milk payment this season

ANZ has raised its expectation for Fonterra’s farmgate milk price this season as dairy commodity prices push higher.

The bank’s agricultural economist Susan Kilsby on Thursday raised her forecast by 50 cents to $8.20 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Dairy commodity prices have trended higher as the season has progressed. Often prices weaken at this time of the season, but this season prices have instead firmed,” Kilsby said.

“While we don’t see further upside in these prices in the immediate term, they are now at a level that delivers a healthy return back to our farmers.”

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Flock of sheep crowded together

Online trading platforms for on-farm livestock provide a safe, transparent selling option, avoiding freight and yard fees, and avoiding the associated animal welfare issues

Livestock trading is a critical element for any farmer, whether they are a commercial breeder selling calves, or lambs on to traders or finishers.

This is a pretty important time as it’s money back in the gate, and it’s something the farmer needs to get right particularly if selling on the open market.

I know a number of beef breeders who with their very well bred Angus or Hereford calves have been selling to the same farmers for generations, it could be a family member, a neighbour, or a good friend. Quite often a price is agreed between the two parties on a per head basis and their per head price may not fluctuate in the same way that the open market can. Of course the other traditional option is sending stock to calf and lamb sales or the saleyards where eager purchasers await.

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New study highlights differences between grassfed and grain-finished beef

A new study indicates that the way New Zealand grass-fed beef is raised has an effect on health and digestion.

The research was done at the Riddet Institute, led by Lovedeep Kaur and Mike Boland at Massey University’s Manawatū campus. It was funded by the Meat Industry Association, Beef and Lamb NZ, the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Kaur said the research showed that while the composition of animal protein was largely determined by an animal’s genetics, its fat content, especially so-called “good fats”, was mostly determined by what it ate.

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‘Sustainable’ fresh milk comes with costs that will challenge consumers’ natural preference for low prices, despite what they tell pollsters

This week’s GDT result will not be doing anything to improve dairy farmers mood, especially those in the Waikato. The overall weighted average stayed at the same level as the previous auction and while Butter, Cheddar and SMP all had (very) small rises, and WMP a minor drop:

– Butter index up 0.4%, average price US$4,878/MT
– Cheddar index up 0.7%, average price US$4,297/MT
– SMP index up 0.5%, average price US$3,315/MT
– WMP index down 0.4%, average price US$3,749/MT

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National crop big, but unlikely to reach last year’s levels

AUSTRALIA is likely to harvest another massive winter crop but areas of poorer crop mean it is unlikely to challenge last year’s record production.

James Maxwell, Australian Crop Forecasters, said there was still significant intrigue surrounding final production numbers.

“Most years you have a reasonable feel for production figures at this stage and if things are going to move you can be confident whether it is likely to go up or down,” Mr Maxwell said.

“This year all outcomes are still on the table, we could see things move up or down depending on what happens over the next month to six weeks.”

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crop australis

Rains consolidate big winter crop

Soaking general rains across southern Queensland in the past week will guarantee a massive winter crop harvest.

Falls ranged from 15-45 millimetres across southern Queensland with 20-50mm across the southern half of the Central Highlands. The central Darling Downs received 15-20mm with 20-40mm across the western Downs.

Early barley harvesting around Goondiwindi has been stalled by the rain, but it came just in time benefit wheat crops. Farmers are saying it last week’s rain will lock in record high yields in many areas. Traders are saying the rain assures a 2 million tonnes plus state wheat crop for the first time in 14 years.

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Cotton Australia celebrates World Cotton Day 2021

THE nation’s cotton growers are being honoured as part of World Cotton Day as the industry braces for one of its best seasons in decades.

Strong international demand as well as promising seasonal conditions and water allocations have growers across the country buoyed by the upcoming season’s prospects.

The celebration comes as Australia’s cotton industry announced that it had virtually already sold out of cotton, despite China having signifanctly reducing its imports of the product a year ago.

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Nutrition Australia pushes vegetable consumption during 2021 National Nutrition Week

IN a time when population percentage figures are discussed daily, a worrying statistic has emerged which has nothing to do with vaccinations.

Only 7 per cent of adults and 5pc of children eat the recommended serves of vegetables each day.

That’s a figure Nutrition Australia has grasped hold of as it encourages Australians to lift their vegetable intake as part of National Nutrition Week happening this week.

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The changing face of beef exports

Elevated global demand for red meat, combined with tightening cattle supply in key producing nations, is creating a backdrop of ongoing rising prices and exceptional opportunity for Australian beef suppliers.

At the same time, the pandemic has torn shreds out of supply chain logistics that have served the industry well for decades and exporters are facing a juggling act the likes of which they have never before encountered.

International beef trade dynamics are as dynamic as they have ever been but industry leaders believe the sector is in fantastic shape and positioned strongly in the global market.

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South America


Argentine also affected by sharp increase in the price of freight

The Argentine Agroindustrial Council (CAA) Thursday issued a statement whereby it warned that “the marine logistics collapse is severely limiting agri-food exports.”

The CAA also explained there were sectors already suffering from the stalling of shipments abroad.

“Argentine foreign trade has been experiencing various inconveniences in maritime logistics that negatively impact exports and this situation has been worsening in recent weeks,” the CAA pointed out.

The council described the current situation as “distressing” and insisted it affects all “containerized” cargo shipped abroad which has been dented by the decrease in maritime flow to Argentina.

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Chilean and Chinese Government, Industry Cooperate for Smooth 2021/22 Cherry Season

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cost lives and disrupt shipping and supply chains around the world, it is impossible to separate this issue from consideration of the upcoming Chilean cherry season in China, for which preliminary air shipments are expected to hit the market during October. In fact, parties in both Chile and China have been working hard on the issue of Chilean cherry exports to China since the close of the previous season in March. During a recent cherry season inauguration celebration in Chile, several parties including the Chinese Ambassador to Chile and representatives from the Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service and the Chilean Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) voiced unanimous optimism about the upcoming season.

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Peruvian President launches Second Agrarian Reform from Cusco

Peru’s President Pedro Castillo Terrones Sunday announced the country’s Second Agrarian Reform, which seeks to promote the social inclusion of more than 2 million agricultural producers, according to the government’s plan.

Castillo Terrones was flanked by Prime Minister Guido Bellido, and other cabinet members when announcing the old Inca capital city of Cusco.

In a previous ceremony, Castillo had launched an agroindustrial event in the district of Pichari (Cusco), designed to promote the competitiveness of producers and companies linked to the coffee and cocoa chain.

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Food Updates

food prices

Get used to rising food prices – global supply chains feeling the pinch

Food prices around the world are on the up as a variety of factors come together to increase pressure on the food and beverage supply chain – is this something that consumers are simply going to have to get used to?

Consumers have been told to get used to higher food prices as the cost of essentials begins to rise in the wake of the global pandemic and supply chain issues.

The UK’s supply chain problems have been well documented, with the consensus being that a combination of the pandemic, as well as changes to immigration regulations as result of Brexit is to blame for the ongoing difficulties. This has, in addition, led to the average grocery shop costing more.

But the UK is not the only country facing this looming problem. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index averaged 130 points in the month of September – up 32.8 percent on the same period last year.

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Daily meat consumption falls in the UK, new research reveals
The decrease is not moving quick enough to keep up with targets set by the National Food Strategy however, which has recommended meat consumption fall by 30 percent in the next decade.Daily meat consumption in the UK has fallen by 17 percent over the past decade, according to a new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

The speed of the decrease is not enough according to some though, after the UK’s National Food Strategy (the second part of which was published earlier this year) recommended that UK meat consumption fall by 30 percent over the next ten years.

“We now know we need a more substantial reduction,” lead researcher Cristina Stewart from the University of Oxford told the BBC.

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New research reveals scale of Vibrio contamination in UK prawns

An important study of UK prawns has revealed that nearly half of those surveyed were contaminated with Vibrio, with shell-on prawns more likely to be contaminated than peeled prawns.Quadram Institute researchers have carried out a survey of prawns in the UK for Vibrio bacteria, in an effort to understand the bacterium’s potential contribution to human disease and its resistance to antibiotics.

They found that whilst 46 percent of prawns were contaminated with Vibrio, the specific strains of bacteria identified found pose no immediate risk to food safety as they do not cause severe disease in humans. Furthermore, contamination was far lower in cooked prawns.

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Sweet potatoes hold steady in 2021

KANSAS CITY — As more and more consumers learn about the many health benefits of sweet potatoes, the vegetable long associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas is emerging as a year-round favorite.

It’s the annual goal of Nashville, N.C.-based Nash Produce to transition between old-crop and new-crop sweet potatoes so seamlessly that customers and consumers don’t even notice the changeover, said Rebecca Scott, the company’s grower accounting and marketing director.

This year’s late-season crop, for instance, looked and tasted just as good as new-crop product out of the fields last fall, Scott said.

“Our facilities have been growing over the past two years to include additional controlled temperature storage, which it a great benefit for extending the crop until the following year’s harvest occurs.”

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Study finds consumers more attracted to branded produce
CHICAGO — A new research study found that consumers prefer branded produce products. Conducted by Foodmix Marketing Communications, the study looked at branding within the fresh produce industry and how commodity growers can make a larger profit.The study surveyed more than 1,000 regular produce shoppers among Boomers, Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z generations.

The study found almost half of Gen X and Boomers consider it important that the fresh produce they buy is branded, while two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Z generations are more likely to purchase branded fresh produce.

With store brands and private labels currently in the forefront of the produce space, research shows that there is a significant opportunity for branded produce companies to generate considerably more share within the industry.

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