Significant Potential to boost Global Crop Production
Therefore Bullish Markets are not a Given
Will the global agricultural system be able to respond to increasing demand for raw material in the mid-term? This question was one of the key topics of this year’s agri benchmark Cash Crop Conference.
From June 9th to June 15th the network of leading farm economists, which is coordinated by Thünen Institute and DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft), held its annual meeting in Pilanesberg, South Africa. Invited by the South African partner organizations BFAP (Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy) and NAMC (National Agricultural Marketing Council), 38 experts from 23 different countries came together to discuss recent developments and perspectives in global crop production.
Selected case studies from Argentina, Poland, Ukraine, Morocco, USA, Australia and Bulgaria yielded the clear message that technically and economically speaking, there is a huge potential to boost output. For example Pawel Boczar (University Poznan, Poland) indicated that average Polish wheat yields are 4t/ha while well managed farms are able to harvest between 6 t/ha or 50 % more. Such an increase however requires improvements in plant nutrition, seed quality and plant protection.
Furthermore, the example of Argentina illustrates that the hurdles for an expansion in land use are not paramount. Only modest investments in development are needed in order to expand arable production significantly. The agri benchmark partner Martin Otero (Hillock) made clear that, even under stringent regulations regarding clearing until 2020, an expansion of arable land by 20 to 40 % is a realistic scenario. Consequently, provided there were stable grain markets for Argentine farmers, an increase in oilseed production by up to 25 % and in grain production by 75 % would be realistic.
Recently, high commodity prices and significant improvements in profitability of crop production have generated a strong incentive to expand production. This may change the ag commodity market from a seller’s to a buyer’s market again. Scenario calculations for agri benchmark farms indicate that the long term floor price for wheat might at least be 30 % or 50 USD/t less than what is being realized nowadays. Yelto Zimmer (Thünen Institute, Germany) therefore concluded that a lasting period of much lower commodity prices is possible (if not even likely) – despite the bullish projections of international agencies.
BFAP and NAMC also invited about 80 representatives from industry, growers and policy makers to the ‘Global Forum’. One of the key topics was the comparison between the US and South African corn production analyzed by Divan van der Westhuizen (BFAP, South Africa) and Kelvin Leibold (Iowa State University, USA). One key finding: Due to high nitrogen prices and low nitrogen productivity, South African irrigated corn production is relatively expensive. One of the probable reasons: As of today the typical farms do not run a corn-soybean rotation; hence no nitrogen residue remains from a leguminous crop.
At the Global Forum Somporn Isvilanonda (KNIT, Thailand) and Luan Nguyen (Vietnam) identified success factors for the small holder based rice production – both countries are by far the most important players in the global rice market. Reliable property rights on land, access to credit and advice as well as a proper physical and economic infrastructure turned out to be the decisive factors for success. Presentations from the Global Forum can be downloaded from http://www.agribenchmark.org/ccc2012.html.
Dr. Michael Welling | vTI
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...