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I'm trying to figure out whether this is a regional issue (US Middle West) or a global one.

A quick search on web sites following crop growing here in France, one of the largest wheat producers in Western Europe, didn't show any particular concern of wheat shortages next year. Quite the opposite: farmers seem mostly concerned with the wheat prices going south (300€ per ton last year, half of this today). Part of this is pegged on diminishing meat and poultry consumption worldwide because of the bad economy (2 kg worth of grains needed for each kg of poultry meat).

And the fall of maritime shipping costs is expected to bring more competition from Australian and Argentinian farmers.

I don't know much about the region, but the Dakotas don't strike me as the ideal geography to grow wheat: propane heating to prevent the crop from rotting? Never heard of this in Western Europe. AFAIK, wheat is harvested in late June in Provence, first half of July around my home town of Toulouse (all wrapped up by Bastille Day) up to end of August or early September in the northern part of the country; all of of this without any propane heating.

This is not to dismiss the magnitude of the problem: experts acknowledge that "a lower harvest in the United States always has serious repercussions in the rest of the world".

Again, I'm just trying to figure out what the effects will be on the world at large, beyond the serious problems faced by your friends and neighbors.

And crop yields doesn't seem to be the only problem for world wide cereal trade: maritime shipping is facing serious troubles of its own, as already pointed out on ET, here and here.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Nov 29th, 2008 at 01:26:03 PM EST

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