I’ve put up postings on this for a while. Often citing Iceagenow.info lists of cold places or linking videos from farmers (most recently Yanasa Ama Ranch). Well, the USDA has just stated that this last round of freezing temperatures has effectively ended the grain season.
Why does this matter? Because due to a cold wet late spring, crop was planted late. To get full harvest would require growing into November. That’s impossible. Furthermore, a lot of crop was not harvested at the usual times so is still in the field. It is now more likely to rot there than to be harvested.
Yet the USDA, while calling the season done, is still keeping up rosy predictions on harvest amounts and yields. That’s not gonna work.
Has corn at 55% “good to excellent” so quality and yield are down, then only 20% harvested. That’s about 1/2 of what was harvested at this time last year. Soybean numbers are almost the same at about 54% good and 25% harvested.
No, I don’t think there will be food riots and the end of Supermarkets as we know them. I do think we can’t possibly export $50 Billion to China (1/2 soybeans) and that chicken and pork prices are going to rise, possibly a lot. I think I’ve already seen the start of that at Smart & Final. The last two weeks when I’ve stopped in, they have NOT had their perpetual cheap chicken “weekly special”. Instead of 89 ¢ / lb. it is now $1.29 and no discount.
I’m sort of OK with that as my cupboard is already full of food and I’ve canned about all the proper size jars I’ve got and the freezer is almost full. So I stocked up when the stocking was good. I’ve also got about a half year supply of beans and rice should it come to that ;-) Still to do is pick up some more SPAM at COSTCO and a few more canned hams ;-)
Then there is likely to be some kind of wavier on ethanol in gasoline if corn supply is low. I’m fine with that, too. That’s good for up to a 30% increase in corn for chickens and pigs.
Where there are more likely to be problem events is in countries with lots of hungry mouths, scarce growing land, and a shortage of money. Africa, Asia. When they depend on large imports of wheat, corn, rice, beans just to stay alive, and the supplier countries are unable to meet demand, it will be a very bad outcome. Major food supply sources are Canada, USA, Australia, Brazil, to some extent Argentina if they can get their government together. Well, of those, all but Brazil are facing weather challenges.
IIRC, Europe is about break even on food, so ought to do OK, depending on just what happens where. BUT will likely have a lot of pressure from surrounding populations. Southern Africa used to be a net exporter, but Socialism has ended that. They are joining the rest of Africa as food supply short areas. India has fairly stable weather so ought to hang in there as stable, unless the monsoon gets messed up by cold. China is already in trouble and getting worse. Russia grows a lot of wheat and other crops, but will be challenged in a real cold turn. I think they know how to deal with cold, though, and are smart enough to shift to things like barley and oats fast if needed.
That all means that IMHO the Americas, Australia, and the Pacific Islands ought to all be just fine, with some modest price rises as export demand drives up prices a lot. Europe will do OK being rich enough to out-bid as needed in global markets. Russia will be OK, being very cold smart. That leaves the problems to Africa, Middle East, and southern Asia / China, with India as a likely OK but not great.
For those reasons I think it is a wise move to be pulling US Troops out of the Middle East. In a couple of years those are likely to be very bad places to be. (IFF this weather trend continues and growing season compression continues.)
But that’s “projecting” far into the future. For now, it’s just the USDA saying growth is over and harvest is challenged.
Here’s Yanasa Ama Ranch with the stats and such:
The better news (from that same link to USDA above) is that things like wheat and oats have been nearly normal. So you can have your pancakes and oatmeal instead of bacon and roast chicken ;-)
Just make sure to keep an eye on how things finish out this year, and then do we get a repeat next year… Once we start stacking up 2 or 3 bad weather years in a row, that’s when I think it will start getting “dicey” on the world stage. The first year it is likely to just be a price bump on cheap meats. Chicken and pork.