Inside this Food Report
Hello everyone! Here in the Northwest we are lucky to be enjoying pleasant summer weather, not too hot, not too cold, beautiful sunny skies just right for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. However many of our friends in the Midwest region of the United States are not so lucky. As we all have heard severe drought and scorching temperatures have not let up in regions of the Midwest.
The conditions are hurting farmers, ranchers, processors, and pretty soon we all will be feeling the pinch in our wallets. Livestock producers are culling their herds and initially meat will see a glut in the market. It is expected that meat prices in the long term will rise by 4 – 5%. This historic drought is spread over 80% of the Midwest region. It will be difficult to know the breath of the damage Mother Nature has done to soybean and corn crops until well into the harvest later this month. Until then let’s pray for some moisture. We see globally many areas that are also suffering from adverse weather conditions causing havoc on crops and as world demand for food is rising the next few years will prove to be difficult ones indeed.
On the lighter side it has been a normal growing season to date in the Northwest. Green pea crop has been completed with good yields and quality. Corn is just beginning and should prove to be a first-rate season as well.
Noon team members are looking forward to receiving all of our visitors this summer and of course we hope to get in a Mariner game, although without Ichiro it will not be the same. I cannot believe The Yankees took another one! (And this being said by a native New Yorker).
At the peak of our harvest season Noon members would like to say “thank you” to all the farmers and processors who work so diligently to bring quality and safe food to our tables.
Betty Johnson and the Noon International Team.
United States: Unlike much of the world the Northwest area of the United States, including Washington and Oregon is experiencing a normal season. To date there have been no adverse weather conditions and crops are proceeding as normal. Green Pea season is completed and yield and quality are good. There was a bit of a warm spell in July, which caused some of the peas to come in as B grade, however overall it was a good quality pack this season. Corn processing is now underway and to date it is anticipated that no major issues will arise and the crop should come in on budget. Potatoes are also being harvested and we expect a larger than average potato harvest due to favorable weather conditions and increased acreage this season in Washington and Oregon.
Northwest raspberry harvest should be completed by end August. Meeker variety has been a struggle due to initial wet and cold weather and then warm temperatures, which has caused some of the fruit to become soft. Other later varieties are fairing a bit better.
Northwest blueberry season will commence in Washington around August 6th with the first pick of Duke variety. Reka variety will follow. To date weather was good for pollination and the current weather has been sizing up the berries nicely. Blueberry market will remain tight with prices high as Michigan suffers from drought and experiences a difficult blueberry season. Michigan’s pack of blueberries is usually around 100 million pounds and expected projection is now at 58 million. Along with a robust fresh market, this will certainly affect blueberry prices this season.
The Midwest area of the United States is suffering due to extreme heat and drought. Corn production will commence 2 to 3 weeks earlier than usual due to the heat, which is bringing on the crop growth quickly. However it is anticipated that the crop will be down by 20% depending on whether or not areas receive rain. Processors in the Midwest will not know the extent of the damage caused by drought and heat until harvesting is well underway. Some areas have already begun processing while others will begin in the next few days. The drought is affecting all Midwest crops such as soybean, corn, peas, and potatoes. Many processors are looking to the Northwest processors to fill the void, which most probably will bring vegetable prices from the Northwest area up.
Mexico: The rainy season continues in Mexico and rains are falling more consistently compared to last month. Yields of excellent quality cauliflower and broccoli for export markets are being accumulated a bit more slowly causing slight shipment delays.
Guatemala: It is now peak season in Guatemala for broccoli harvest and reports are that yields and quality are excellent.
Ecuador: Light rain was received in July, however overall temperatures and precipitation has been average. Good yields and quality of broccoli is being reported.
Peru: Sufficient water is coming from the highlands, while some other South American countries are facing possible drought conditions. Some small volumes of green asparagus are being harvested, although primarily for the fresh market. The primary green asparagus season is estimated to start in Peru in September/October. Avocados are currently being harvested and reports indicate that volumes are lower than usual.
Costa Rica: Mango season, typically running through June, ended early this year, with lower yields received due to cool and wet weather. Processing of pineapple and papaya is now underway with good quality being reported.
Argentina: Argentina suffered a drought back in December and January, which struck during the most important stage of flowering for soybean and corn crops. The heavy rains in May then hindered harvesting equipment forcing farmers to leave much of the soy and corn crop in the fields. We can see the effects of this with many South American countries inquiring for corn recently.
Europe: Much of Europe has been experiencing a cool and wet summer, which has negatively affected many crops. Planting of green beans has been delayed due to cooler and wet weather. The rain kept the seeding machines from entering the fields. Usually all plantings are completed by the end of June, although as of mid July only 60% of beans were planted in the main growing regions of Belgium, south of the Netherlands and north of France. Because the harvest will now be delayed it is imperative that the weather remain favorable in order to receive a budget crop on green beans.
Hungry has experienced lack of rain and extremely high temperatures over the last few weeks, which is likely to have an impact on their sweet corn crop. 50 pct of the total sweet corn crop in Hungry is not irrigated so it is imperative to receive rain and it has been reported that recent rain has somewhat relieved the stress on crops in Hungry.
China: Flooding across eastern, southern and southwestern China has caused significant damage to vegetable crops and has added to upward pressure on food prices. The flooding has reduced vegetable output by about 20% from levels a year earlier, particularly in Zhejiang province. China goes through cycles of flood and drought and both have been extremely severe over the last few years.
Edamame harvest is completed and quality and yields are normal (better than last season) and prices remain stable. Seeding for autumn season edamame is expected to begin around July 23rd.
Due to increased precipitation yellow peach variety “83” has experienced soft flesh and other varieties as well have had quality issues which has increased pricing.
Heavy rain during the growth cycle has led to loss of white gourd plants, which has resulted in a price spiral upward of 30 – 40 pct.
To date the lotus crop is reported to be doing well with no major issues. The harvest is expected to begin next month.
The autumn broccoli is expected to begin seeding in middle August.
New Solutions For China’s Food Safety
Its rapidly growing economy and dominant role in global politics notwithstanding, China has constantly been confronted with issues regarding food quality and safe manufacturing processes. The past few years have witnessed several food scandals in the country − the most notorious being the case of melamine-tainted baby formula, that was reported in 2008. The tainted baby formula resulted in several thousands infants being poisoned and six babies succumbing to kidney-related complications.
Disney’s Attempt at Reducing Obesity
Walt Disney Company’s recent announcement that it plans to curtail junk food advertisements across its children’s entertainment channels has received wide support from families and health professionals. The company is currently working to remove all junk food advertising across all its stations by 2015 – setting the tone for a wider movement on driving healthy eating habits among children.
Drought Conditions Continue to Plague the Mid West Region of America
The worst drought in decades and scorching heat continues to plague the Mid West region of America. Conditions have been rapidly spreading across several crop-growing states in the Mid-West and although some rain has fallen in some areas it has proven insufficient for soil moisture and comes too late to help early-planted corn and soybeans. Bloomberg news reports “that corn and soybeans are in their worst state since 1988 as drought covers 56 % of the contiguous 48 U.S. states. As of July 22, 26 % of US corn and 31 % of soybeans were in good to excellent condition”
As the present drought conditions continue, tough choices wait ahead for both shoppers and farmers.
Farmers across the Corn Belt, which include the states of Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska, had expanded the acreage of corn, last year, to cater to growing global demand for the crop. However, with no rain and hot weather impacting production, many are losing on their crop investment. The Department of Agriculture had initially estimated national average corn yields of 166 bushels per acre, but has now revised it down to 146, and expects more downward reductions if conditions worsen.
With farms running dry, and supply of corn and soy low, farmers are now paying more for cattle feed. This will lead many of them to choose to slaughter their livestock.
For the shoppers, increased slaughter of livestock will mean discounts on meat but only for a short while. As supply wanes, farmers will be unable to deliver enough replacement stocks of their meat and dairy produce to super markets. This will lead to a situation where demand outstrips supply, and that’s when food prices will begin to spiral up significantly.
Corn and soy are essentials in almost 75 % of all foods sold in grocery stores– and a rise in their price will impact all households. The next few weeks will show some significant pointers on what’s in store for our wallets and the global food supply …until then, let’s pray for some rain!
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