EU project PlasCarb in exploring the possibility of deriving graphene and hydrogen from food waste using anaerobic digestion and a microwave plasma process.
Browsing the "corn" Tag
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The massive diversion of grain to fuel cars has helped drive up food prices, leaving low-income consumers everywhere to suffer some of the most severe food price inflation in history. As of mid-2012, world wheat, corn, and soybean prices were roughly double their historical levels.
2012 continued a disturbing trend in global agriculture: grain consumption outweighed production, forcing a drawdown in reserves.
This Summer’s heat and drought are showing their impact on US crops: September estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show 2012 U.S. corn yields at 123 bushels per acre, down by a fourth from the 2009 high of 165 bushels per acre.
OK, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think that this year’s climate extremes are linked to human-caused climate change. We might not really have the definitive answer on whether that is true for 20 years, but I would like nothing better than to be proven wrong about the linkage I’m making today. From a global food supply perspective, the effects of weather on 2012 food production is problematic no matter what its cause. As bad as it seems, it might just be a “shot over the bow” relative to what me might expect in the future.
Over the last two months, the price of corn has been climbing. On July 19th, it exceeded $8 per bushel for the first time, taking the world into a new food price terrain. With heat and drought still smothering the Corn Belt, we may well see more all-time highs in coming weeks as the extent of crop damage becomes clearer.
The world was hoping for a good U.S. harvest to replenish dangerously low grain stocks; this is no longer in the cards because of this Summer’s extreme weather. World carryover stocks of grain will fall further at the end of this crop year, making the food situation even more precarious. Food prices, already elevated, will follow the price of corn upward, quite possibly to record highs.
More than a quarter of all the meat produced worldwide is now eaten in China, and the country’s 1.35 billion people are hungry for more. In 1978, China’s meat consumption of 8 million tons was one third the U.S. consumption of 24 million tons. But by 1992, China had overtaken the United States as the world’s leading meat consumer—-and it has not looked back since.
2011’s grain harvest was massive: the largest ever. Given the number of lean years prior to it, though, the grain produced will not replenish global stocks… and, thus, stabilize food prices.
There have been several points over the past few weeks when I’ve thought “You know what… let’s just take a break on agriculture.” Proponents of biotechnology, organic agriculture, and other farming methods get pretty passionate… but considering that agriculture has a substantial environmental impact, and that we’re, you know, eating the food produced by farmers, […]
There is a great deal of controversy about the wisdom of diverting a significant percentage of the US corn crop into the production of ethanol to fuel cars. Something like 25-30% of the crop will probably be used this way in 2011 which sounds alarming in the face of global food supply issues that have […]
Farming is a unique industry. Even though less than 1% of Americans are doing it, it is still an industry with hundreds of thousands of independent decision makers. It is also a far more dynamic and adaptable industry than one might imagine. A look at USDA crop statistics before and after 1996 demonstrates this point […]
If you watch a movie like Food Inc., you get the impression that most cows spend their lives in huge, crowded feedlots. That is part of the story, but not an accurate picture of the North American bovine industry. It turns out that there is a US Census for cows (conducted every five years […]