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Big Grain Losses from North American Drought, Reserves Going Way Down

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EIRNS—Reports are now coming in on the impact on grain and oilseed crops from the terrible Western North American drought, and lack of water and disaster protection infrastructure.

In Canada, new national estimates are for a 26% reduction in output this year of the main crops (wheat, canola, corn, etc.), according to the Aug. 26 monthly report from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The agency reports that three-fourths of Canadian agriculture land was in drought, or abnormally dry. Their report forecasts that Canada will harvest 71.8 million metric tons of the principal field crops this year (wheat, corn, barley, oil seeds), which are down 27% from 2020-2021. Inventories at the end of the year will be down by 36% from the year prior, putting this year’s inventories at just 6.7 million tons. Total supplies (imports and adjustments) are expected down to 85 mmt. Specific crops: The canola harvest is expected to come in at 15 mmt, down 30% from last year. Wheat harvest is expected at 20.2 mmt, down 43%.

Areas of the U.S. grain belt are likewise posting big losses. In Montana, third-ranking U.S. wheat state, the harvests will be down about half from last year, because of extreme drought and grasshoppers. Of Montana’s cropland base, 99% of the area is under “severe” to “exceptional” drought, and yields are very low. The lentil, chickpea and all other crops are also bad. Farmers compare it to 1988, during which year the Schiller Institute commissioned the Food for Peace drive to fight for a new economic system.

Attendees at their year’s Montana-based R-CALF rancher convention, last week in South Dakota, reported they are very worried about coming food shortages. This was stressed by Frank Endres, national board member of the National Farmers Organization, who said that his own operation in the Sacramento River Valley in northern California is affected, but that the losses are widespread. He said that the North American Water and Power Alliance should have been built, and should be launched now. [mgm]