Category Archives: shipping

Hot 5: Crop Inputs. Global Food Prices. Dry Bulk Shipping Declines. Rice Stocks. “Farm Kings” Show.

1. Crop and Pesticide Inputs.

Pesticide Inputs
Of the five crops, 53 percent of the pesticide total was applied to corn in 1982, followed by soybeans (28 percent), cotton (9.6 percent), fall potatoes (4.8 percent), and wheat (4.5 percent). Corn’s share declined to 43 percent in 2010, while fall potatoes’ share increased to 20 percent (because of large increases in the application of other chemicals, particularly vine killers such as sulfuric acid).

Herbicides accounted for the largest share of pesticides applied throughout 1982-2010, while the other-chemicals category increased most in share. Corn accounted for the majority of herbicide and insecticide use until the early 1990s, after which cotton accounted for the majority of insecticide use due to boll-weevil eradication efforts. The majority of fungicides and other chemicals were applied to fall potatoes.

Total pesticide use on corn, cotton, fall potatoes, soybeans, and wheat was stable during 1982-2010, increasing in some years and declining in others, with an average annual increase of 0.2 percent. Herbicide and insecticide quantities applied declined 0.2 percent and 3.9 percent per year, while fungicide and other-chemical quantities increased 3.3 and 6.0 percent. Changes in the use of pesticides during this period are due to several factors, including the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops, the expiration of the glyphosate patent in 2000, the availability of new compounds with lower application rates, boll-weevil eradication, and changes in pesticide prices, which increased slowly compared to the prices of other inputs such as fertilizer. (source: usda)

Also, see my recent post on a review of the Benbrook pesticide study.

2. The September FAO Food Price Index Went up 1.4 Percent.

  • The 1.4 percent rise reflected strengthening dairy and meat prices and more contained increases for cereals. Prices of sugar and oils fell.
  • Gains in wheat and rice prices offset a decline in maize. While shrinking maize export availabilities and high maize prices have been leading cereal markets in recent months, tightening wheat supplies have also become a concern.
  • Dairy, poultry, and pork helped push the Index up slightly. The FAO meat price index was up 2.1 percent. The grain-intensive pig and poultry sectors recorded particularly strong gains, increasing by 6 percent and 2 percent respectively.
  • The FAO dairy price index was up 7 percent. All the five dairy products monitored saw prices rise, in particular skim milk powder and casein, which both surged by 12 percent.
  • The FAO’s latest forecasts confirm a decline in global cereal production this year from the record registered in 2011. But record harvests are expected in Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). Its forecast for the LIFDCs’ 2012 aggregate cereal production points to a record level of 534 million tonnes, up 1.7 percent from the good harvest of 2011. Excluding India, the largest country in this group which is expected to see a stagnant total cereal harvest this year, the aggregate cereal output of the remaining 65 LIFDCs is estimated to expand by 2.9 percent. At the currently forecast level, world cereal production in 2012 would be 2.6 percent down from the previous year’s record crop but close to the second largest in 2008. The overall decrease comprises a 5.2 percent reduction in wheat production and a 2.3 percent reduction for coarse grains. In Afghanistan, a bumper wheat harvest has been gathered.

3. Dry Bulk Shipping Sinks Some More.

Photo: Handymax. Wikipedia.

The over-capacity in the dry bulk shipping sector has hurt the industry for the past four years and will be impacted further this year because of the droughts in the U.S., Australia, and Russia. Cereal accounts for about 10 percent of the dry bulk commodity shipping business and this year it is expected that less grain will be transported. This will hurt the panamaxes, the supramaxes and the handysizes, and may contribute to the selling of some vessels, as well as rock-bottom shipping rates.

Average earnings have slid to around $4,000 and $8,000 a day for panamaxes and supramaxes, respectively, versus operating cost levels estimated at $5,600 and $5,100 a day.

Read the rest at Reuters Africa…..

4. The Rice Supply.

The above are the most recent rice supply numbers from the International Grain Council.

A positive story throughout this drought year has been that the global rice supply is strong. Rice is the crop which feeds half the world, and much of that goes to the world’s most vulnerable populations. During the 2007 food crisis, rice was in short supply. Rice is thinly traded.

The rice market remains subdued relative to wheat and coarse grains, with production and consumption broadly balanced and stocks expected to rise marginally y/y. Thai export values have weakened, narrowing the differential with other Asian suppliers to an extent, but the state intervention programme remains the key element in price determination.

5. A Farming Reality Show: “Farm Kings”.

“Farm Kings” is a reality television show about the King family and Freedom Farms in Valencia, Pennsylvania. It began airing on GAC-TV Sept. 27.