Grain and Oilseed Demand
Ken Morrison of Morrison on the Markets told attendees of the American Seed Trade Association’s CSS & Seed Expo that grain and oilseed demand is determined by many factors outside the United States. “We need to associate demand drivers with population growth, but oftentimes it is urbanization along with income growth that drive the global grain and oilseed demand,” Morrison said. “Along with population growth, urbanization and rising incomes also come improved diets in the form of diversified foods and complex, processed foods.” Morrison added that production of biofuels is a tremendous driver of grain and oilseed demand, more so recently than ever. “In studying this topic, I had to really challenge myself to think about what’s going on outside the United States,” he said. “As we think about the ramp up of ethanol in the United States, we are now beginning to stabilize that curve. There is continued biofuels growth around the world and that’s going to have a major impact on global grain and oilseed demand.” Morrison stated that by 2020, global biofuels use is estimated to consume 13 percent of the world’s coarse grain, 15 percent of all vegetable oil and 30 percent of the world’s sugarcane.
Fresh Marketing Tactics
The Produce for Better Health Foundation has added new Half-Your-Plate resources to its consumer website in support of the new USDA dietary recommendation. “It makes sense that consumers are responding to a visual. It’s one thing to tell them to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, it’s another to show them what a healthy plate looks like and provide them with the instruction on how to create it,” says PBH president and CEO Elizabeth Pivonka.
Soybeans posted another record year in Mississippi, with an estimated value of $860 million in 2011. “We made more soybeans even though we have fewer acres, and we had a very good price for those bushels,” said Tom Eubank, a soybean agronomist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center. “The driving force behind the higher soybean acres is value. Farmers can make a decent profit with soybeans with fewer inputs than are typically required with cotton and corn.” Eubank said soybeans set a record average yield of 41 bushels an acre on about 1.78 million planted acres. Despite a 200,000-acre decrease from 2010, the 2.5-bushel average increase made possible a nearly two percent increase in value.
“There have been a couple of commercial growers that put barcodes on bags of onions, and you could go on the website and find out where the onions were harvested. There are some growers or shippers who are starting to see that as a marketing advantage,” says Wayne Gale, president of Stokes Seeds. “The old barcode is very limited, but the new barcodes can contain a lot more information than a number—they can contain all sorts of information, and the grocer would perhaps only harvest a bit for pricing, but they could also record other information, such as who produced [the product], when it expires—all sorts of other information could be kept in their database.”