Ice age warning sign: China’s wheat crop destroyed….Asian giant must import grain

By on July 19, 2013
A farmer piles wheat up after a harvest in Zouping county

China’s wheat crop has suffered more severely than previously thought from frost in the growing period and rain during the harvest, and import demand to compensate for the damage could see the country eclipse Egypt as the world’s top buyer.

Interviews with farmers and new estimates from analysts have revealed weather damage in China’s northern grain belt could have made as much as 20 million tonnes of the wheat crop, or 16 percent, unfit for human consumption. That would be double the volume previously reported as damaged.

Higher imports, which have already been revised upwards on initial damage reports, will further shrink global supplies and support prices, fuelling new worries over global food security.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday raised its forecast for China’s imports in 2013/14 to 8.5 million tonnes from 3.2 million tonnes in the previous year, prompting U.S. wheat prices to rally to more than two-week highs.

But overseas traders and analysts estimate imports could rise above 10 million tonnes, surpassing the 9 million tonnes the world’s biggest buyer Egypt is expected to buy.

Competition from China for more imports would force other buyers, such as Egypt, to pay more for grains, in a new blow for the Middle East country after two years of political turmoil has left it struggling for funds to pay for food imports.

In China’s top wheat producing province of Henan, farmers visited by Reuters said kernels shrunk because of the frost early this year followed by more damage with grains germinating due to the rainstorms in May. Henan is in the northern grain belt, which accounts for about half of China’s output.

“The kernels this year are half their normal sizes,” said Feng Ling, a 55-year old farmer in Xuchang, central Henan, where some growers have seen their production slashed by 40 percent from year ago. “The harvest was terrible.”

China has already booked around 3 million tonnes of wheat for shipment in the year to June 2014, nearing last year’s purchases.

That would be the biggest volume imported since the near 10 million tonnes China booked in 2003/2004 after a sharp decrease in the domestic harvest. In a normal year, China accounts for about a fifth of global wheat production and consumption.

“We expect between 15 to 20 million tonnes of wheat will be downgraded to use for animal feed, which will reduce wheat supply for milling purpose,” said Li Qiang, chief analyst at agricultural consultancy, the Shanghai JC Intelligence.

The crop damage across large swathes of China’s farmland is adding to concerns over global food supplies after unfavorable weather in top wheat exporters the United States and the Black Sea region resulted in quality downgrades.

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  • frankfan42

    Well Gore must be sore. I guess the climate that created the frost did not get his global warming memo. That must have gone to AL-Jazeera.

    • Tiger

      Climate warming has many different effects on area’s around the world.
      One effect is the polar ice sheets receding farther and farther each year. Another is the wild temperature fluctuation across the globe. Area’s are warmer in some parts and colder in others. The frost in China is just
      another obvious effect of the climate changing.

      • frankfan42

        Tiger, are you still clinging to the Gore model of global warming? Well, there is a new model in play and it calls for global cooling, perhaps even a mini ice age. I agree we are entering into a time of climate change, but the question is whether it is cooling or warming. For me, I bet on cooling. Also, remember that God can change the climate how He wills, and can use it as punishment- remember a story about Noah and the Ark.

        • Tiger

          No not Al Gore, I have never read nor listened to anything the man has said. I even voted against him during the election. I received my information from NASA and the EPA. Please go to those sites and educate yourself. A quote from NASA reads: “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,” The warming trend over the last century is a fact. It has been recorded. If you want to believe that the warming of the planet means a ice age then I guess there is no helping you.

          • frankfan42

            Tiger, Apologies for wrongly lumping you with the blind Gore followers, or zombies as I call them. That said I have done some work to educate myself actually, and I don’t rely on organizations that are politically co-opted. I assume you are aware that Obama tasked NASA not with space exploration, but repurposed their mission to bettering outreach to Muslims. Don’t believe me, google it. And while you are there you will please note that we no longer have the capacity to put a person into space, our astronauts have to rent a seat from the Russians. So forgive me if I do not succumb to a very skewed, partisan, rabid and non scientific and objective view of facts. Ask the big question, who profits and you will find who pushes the global warming “Agenda.” To borrow a phrase from Gore there are some very inconvenient facts which can readily be discerned by looking not at opinions- but facts- such as there has been NO increase in global average temps since 1998, that is 15 years. Did global “Warming” decide to take a decade and a half off? Where are any attempts to explain this anomaly scientifically? In fact increasing numbers of scientists are stating that we may be entering a little ice age. Much of life revolves in cycles, those we can readily discern, such as the diurnal cycle of day and night, and those that occur in longer frequencies. There is much evidence to back this view up as well, and is base on solid scientific historical data. Another inconvenient truth is that other planets have recorded increased temps as well in the last few decades. Last time I checked my telescope I saw no SUVs on Mars, so could the cause be a cyclical change whose effect is felt throughout the universe? Evdence seems to indicate that to be so- if one only looks. Also, you did not address the big issue -GOD. He can, has in the past, and possibly will in the future use the weather for His purposes, including punishing a Nation that refuses to repent of ongoing grevious sins. Actually, you are DEAD wrong on one thing, there IS Help for me and you as well. – He is called Jesus Christ. I pray you belong to Him, or open your heart to Him. Only through Christ can we be saved from the waves of evil that are coming. God Bless ya!
            PS You want to know the real truth? Read the instruction manual as I call it, more popularly known as the Bible.

          • Tiger

            Wow, you obviously have spent too much time reading right wing propaganda. Since you automatically discount the agencies that collect the data proving global warming, then there is nothing to do but leave you be. But to take a phrase from you. Who benefits from discounting global warming? Oil companies. Those groups writing articles and throwing up a bunch of noise about the “global warming hoax” will have received funding from ExxonMobil. Also you seem to have a fixation on Al Gore. Every post you have written mentions him. Take a little advice, ranting about Al Gore makes you sound crazy. The guy has been out of the spotlight for a decade now. Let the man go! One last thing, instead of haunting tin-foil hat websites you should really look at what real science is doing. Have a nice day.

          • frankfan42

            I would be thrilled to let Gore off the national stage, but you seem oblivious to the fact that he stands to make billions off the scam known as “Carbon credits.” Like it or not he IS the poster boy for the religion known as “Global warming” You seem blithely content to trust gov’t agencies at face value- how is that working out for you? Do you deny the power of the Sovereign God of the universe to use weather as He sees fit? Funny how you won’t even mention Him in your posts. I wish you no ill but Tiger, in the interests of truth in labeling I suggest you change your moniker to lap kitty.