by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
At 403,000t, on-farm stocks of wheat at the end of June were the lowest for 12 years and accounted for just 3% of the crop.
In addition to stocks held on farm, merchants, co-ops and ports held 561,000t of home-grown wheat, a decrease of 6% on June 2011. Imported wheat stocks at 117,000t were at similar levels to those of June 2011.
On-farm barley stocks at the end of the 2011/12 season were 63,000t, similar to the low stocks of 56,000t in June 2011 and representing 2% of production. For both years stocks were equivalent to 2% of production.
Merchants, co-ops and ports had 310,000t of barley compared with 250,000t reported for June 2011. Although an increase on June 2011, stocks were lower than in 2009 and 2010, said DEFRA.
And those figures will not get any better as to imports as countries such as the USA and Russia also had a problematic harvest and we may find that Russia is going to put up an export ban once again.
The agencies and the government are still in denial that this will have a real impact on food prices but it will, of that there is absolutely no doubt. And this proves, yet again, that we have but one choice when it comes to grain growing. We can either grow for food or fuel but we cannot do both and we better get our heads around that now.
Most of the US corn harvest (that's maize to the European) is in ruin and that means there will also be a lack of feed grain for livestock farming and this will make prices on all fronts, not just as regards to bread, etc., rise.
Should those freak weather conditions that we have seen all around the globe this are a result of climate change, and indicators speak for this, then we better reconsider our idea of bio-fuels and that rather fast.
This means we have to consider also very fast how we will like and travel in the future and neither bio-fuel not electric seem to be the answer here.
Food must also be the foremost thought when it comes to land use and not growing crops for bio-ethanol or bio-diesel.
Time to come to the realization, methinks, that the era of the personal motorcar – and may be even the motorcar period – is coming to an end and this requires adaptation of all of us and we best start now and not in some years down the road when we are forced to make the changes.