Newsbytes: World food production at record levels

Despite all the gloom and doom from people like Paul Ehrlich and the warmers who say global warming will stunt food production, the reality is far different. It seems the increase in CO2 along with adaptive crop genetics may have combined to produce this bonanza.


Based on the latest forecasts for production and utilization, world cereal stocks at the close of crop seasons ending in 2015 would surge to 627.5 million tonnes, up 8.3 percent from an already large volume at the start of the season and its highest level in 15 years. Maize would account for the biggest increase, followed by wheat, while rice stocks are forecast to decline, albeit from a record level. The overall positive outlook, if realized, will result in the cereal stocks-to-use ratio increasing to 25.2 percent in 2014/15 from 23.5 percent in 2013/14, and the highest since 2001/02.

That’s the message on Tuesday from Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, marking the start of the 2013-2014 harvest season. The ministry anticipates a record year for Brazilian agriculture and the agribusiness sector.

Brazil is bullish on its agriculture.

The ministry forecasts a record harvest of 90 million tons of soybeans, which could help it overtake the U.S. as the world’s top soybean producer. The 193 million tons of projected harvested grain also moves Brazil closer to the ranks of the world’s top food producers, a circle dominated by the U.S., China and India, among others.

Global wheat consumption for 2014/15 is raised 4.1 million tons to a record 714.1 million reflecting both higher food and feed use. Global wheat trade is raised with exports up 1.2 million tons to 156.0 million.

Global wheat production will be larger than previously expected amid an improving outlook for supplies from the European Union and Ukraine, the International Grains Council said.

Wheat output worldwide will rise to a record 717 million metric tons in the 2014-15 season, higher than last month’s forecast of 713 million tons and 0.6 percent bigger than the previous year, the London-based IGC said in an e-mailed report today. The agency also raised its forecast for global corn production to 974 million tons, 0.1 percent more than the August estimate while still below last season’s record harvest of 983 million tons.

“Wheat output is already seen at its highest ever level, while prospects for exceptional yields in the U.S. and EU help to boost the global maize forecast to within 1 percent of last season’s biggest-ever crop,” the IGC wrote. “Expectations for large grains, rice and oilseeds supplies continued to weigh on global export prices.”

h/t to Dennis Ambler and Patrick Moore.

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October 23, 2014 7:14 pm

With all this food, yet more people will die of hunger this year than ever before.

Just Steve
Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 23, 2014 7:56 pm

And most will be in countries with tyrant dictators or tribal wars. We can control to an extent growing the food, not so much where it ends up.

Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 23, 2014 8:44 pm

and yet, with all this starvation there will be more people alive next year then ever before…..

Reply to  davideisenstadt
October 23, 2014 8:49 pm

And yet, if your thought was worth completing, you would have written an actual sentence.

Reply to  davideisenstadt
October 24, 2014 6:59 am

Thanks for pointing out the positive side of this.

Reply to  davideisenstadt
October 24, 2014 7:32 am

Wow, Zeke–you have nothing but errant criticism?
Guess what? David’s comment IS a complete sentence although his punctuation isn’t perfect, but let’s stick with content.
And it makes sense, too. Or is anything positive disallowed? (Including several incomplete sentences you probably think I’ve made.)

Reply to  davideisenstadt
October 24, 2014 10:48 am

Oh alright, I deserved that. I am an elipse-using hypocrite.
And to add to my contriteness, I will say that any one who has read this blog for long knows that there are commenters from all over the world, and of all backgrounds. The most enlightening comments are so because of the quality of thought, not always because of polished grammar.
(But at least he did complete his thought in his remarks below, and that is a good outcome. It is here:
david eisenstadt
October 24, 2014 at 5:38 am)
[Confuseus say: “Man who writes in ellipses reads around in eccentric circles … .mod]

S. Carloti
Reply to  davideisenstadt
October 24, 2014 12:23 pm

Wow ! Rochy Road, you have nothing but errant criticism !!!!
(see) …”although his punctuation isn’t perfect,…”
You know what ? I found Zeke’s comment not only extremely funny, but also very pertinent.
David’s comment, on the other hand….. gave me the willies ! My diagno0sis can be summed up in one word ; creep !
And to put you at ease…… No ! You didn’t make any incomplete sentences ! :-))
is that positive enough for you ?
Coming to the subject of this thread as soon as I read ……..
That’s the message on Tuesday from Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, marking the start of the 2013-2014 harvest season. The ministry anticipates a record year for Brazilian agriculture and the agribusiness sector.
Brazil is bullish on its agriculture.
I imagined someone, somewhere, thinking ……” Hmmmmm ! We’re gonna have to take some “corrective action” about this ! This cannot go on unchecked !”
What do YOU think ? Is this possible ?

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 23, 2014 9:39 pm

Most people who will die of hunger live on the African continent. Part of the reason is an explosive birth rate continent wide of over 4.0. Other reasons are addressed elsewhere in these comments. Contrast that with North and South America, where birth rates are below that needed to sustain populations. In Europe, the birth rates are so low they will be past the point of recovery and after 2050 the populations will be in rapid decline. For most of the world there is at least a sufficient amount of food, even in many places in Africa.
My sources for population data are fertility rate charts published by the CIA, UN, and the World Bank. There are only minor differences among the three.

Reply to  Ernest Bush
October 23, 2014 9:46 pm

Even in Africa, famine results from lack of transport rather than of food production. The continent could feed itself if the food it produces could be distributed to areas where it’s in short supply.
Increased CO2 in the air has helped feed Africa perhaps more than any other continent, reversing the desertification of the Sahel, for instance.

Reply to  Ernest Bush
October 24, 2014 6:29 am

Ernest Bush, here are some points to note going forward. It should give us cause for optimism. As you may well know as people’s standards of living improves they tend to have fewer children. [Let’s hope this Ebola thing ends soon though.]

WSJ – 16 April 2014
Africa Is Refuting the Usual Economic Pessimism
Even as Nigeria battles Islamist terrorism, this remarkably entrepreneurial nation is racing ahead.
……For too long, a self-serving alliance of Western aid groups, politicians and journalists presented sub-Saharan Africa as a dangerously failed place in need of outside salvation. They offered only corrosive images of conflict, poverty and disease, leaving tourists scared to visit and making fearful businesses slow to engage. The real story is rather different: It includes the stuttering spread of democracy, impressive economic growth and a continent that now has more people who are overweight than go to bed hungry each night………
Goldman Sachs GS +0.23% predicts that Nigeria’s economy will be bigger than Canada’s or Italy’s by 2050—and not far behind Germany’s. And this is just one of 54 countries on a large continent that is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies and the youngest population on the planet.
Economist – 1 May 2013
Growth and other good things
THERE is no shortage of economic growth in Africa. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa….
Economist – 2 Nov 2013
Many of Africa’s fastest-growing economies have not relied on oil or mining
…..Since the mid-1990s the economy of sub-Saharan Africa has grown by an average of 5% a year……
…..A study published this week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finds that eight of the 12 fastest-growing economies in Africa in recent years did not rely on natural resources……
…..Why did the six economies grow so fast? Stable and purposeful policy-making helped. All six countries took steps in the 1990s to control public finances and curb inflation……
…..Progress was not restricted to economic policy. The six countries in the IMF study are far better governed than they were in the mid-1990s. Based on indicators compiled by the World Bank, they are less corrupt, have better bureaucrats, enjoy more stable politics and are better regulated than their African peers……
The climate for private business is also much improved. Price controls and state-backed monopolies have been swept away……
…..They are still a long way short of their potential. There are big gaps in their infrastructure. Poor roads hold up trade. Power shortages are a bar to manufacturing. Development is uneven. The bulk of the population still scrape a living in agriculture……

Reply to  Ernest Bush
October 24, 2014 6:39 am

Ernest Bush see the issue of post-harvest losses in Africa. Over-population is a relative thing.

Paper – 2014
Unpacking Postharvest Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis
A recent report by the World Bank (World Bank, 2011) revealed that, each year, significant volumes of food are lost after harvest in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the value of which is estimated at USD 4 billion for grains alone.

I vaguely recall that Africa is not as densely populated as Asia.

GRID-Arendal / UNEP – 22 Feb 2012
Current and potential arable land use in Africa Year: 2006
Out of the total land area in Africa, only a fraction is used for arable land. Using soil, land cover and climatic characteristics a FAO study has estimated the potential land area for rainfed crops, excluding built up areas and forests – neither of which would be available for agriculture. According to the study, the potential – if realised – would mean an increase ranging from 150 – 700% percent per region, with a total potential for the whole of Africa in 300 million hectares. Note that the actual arable land in 2003 is higher than the potential in a few countries, like Egypt, due to irrigation.
Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 23, 2014 10:39 pm

Venezuela, an oil-rich country with a socialist dictator is now rationing food. Go figure.
Look no further than the political structure to understand why starvation exists in any country today. It is not because of lack of technology, access to assistance, or assistance. They are there is the country’s politcal structure allows it.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 24, 2014 5:04 am

You can add Zimbabwe to that under Mugabe. A country that once supplied food to its neighbours but now has shortages. Given the chance they would probably blame it on global warming rather than incompetent leadership.

Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 24, 2014 4:55 am

Where does your info come from?

Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 24, 2014 5:25 am

Like with claims of a shortage of water, the real issue always has been why people cannot earn enough to pay the costs of the resources they need to live.

Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 24, 2014 5:51 am

Primary cause of famine and starvation is civil unrest

S. Carloti
Reply to  Bill
October 24, 2014 12:29 pm

I see ! And…. what’s the cause for “civil unrest” in your opinion ? :-))

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Yekcoh66
October 24, 2014 7:53 am

So let’s feed the people that can’t feed themselves because they live in places that can’t sustain a human population of that size so that they can breed more people that can’t feed themselves? I don’t see anything that could go wrong with that – sarc

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Robert W Turner
October 24, 2014 9:54 am

I guess you didn’t read any of the fine comments above.

October 23, 2014 7:16 pm

Now what happens when the coming cold weather caused production to plummet? I cannot see utilisation dropping so maybe the present is good but the future … not so much.

Reply to  Truthseeker
October 23, 2014 8:44 pm

There were 15 fewer frost free days per season in the north. This is not exactly the “season-creep” of early blossoms the politicians were attempting to tax us for.

LKMiller (aka treegyn1)
October 23, 2014 7:32 pm

The widespread, and growing every year, deployment of genetically modified crops has a lot to do with these increases.

Reply to  LKMiller (aka treegyn1)
October 23, 2014 8:30 pm

And we should be thankful. It’s amazing the amount of fear needed to stop people from planting seeds that could mean the difference between life and starvation.

Reply to  LKMiller (aka treegyn1)
October 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Wheat is not a GMO crop, and neither are potatoes. These are doing well because of herbicides and fungicides. Very few plants are GMOs.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 5:39 am

ALL commercial cultivars are Genetically Manipulated Organisms, many manipulated the old fashioned way. GMO is a meaningless epithet.

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 9:35 am

Not to mention livestock. Many look as they do due to human manipulation via selective breeding.

October 23, 2014 8:10 pm

Were it not for anti-GMO hysteria, production would have been even higher, and that might have been achieved with lower levels of pesticide and fertilizer use.
That superstition affects many producers in the United States, because they export to countries that prohibit the use of GMO strains of seed. The result is lower yields at higher cost.

Reply to  davesix
October 23, 2014 8:33 pm

Let’s take this point by point. The article says that wheat yields are up. That is a non-GMO crop. So let’s look into why wheat has done so well. Or at least some variables.
Wheat in Oz:
Australian Wheat Yields Have Doubled Thanks to Herbicides
“Australian wheat-growing areas are dry. Historically, tillage was used to remove weeds, but tillage further dried out the soil. Herbicides have made it possible for Australian wheat farmers to stop tilling entirely. As a result, soil moisture retention has increased and wheat yields have doubled.” ~Leonard Gianessi
It is thanks to herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides that yields are doing well. GMOs are not a silver bullet. They must work with the chemicals that are inexpensive and effective, which we have now.

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 9:55 pm

When you say wheat “is a non-GMO crop” you need to be clearer. Wheat is not GMO, only in the sense it is not modified by recent genetic techniques.
Modern wheat resembles natural wheat in the fact that it’s genetic code has much in common. In terms of the amount of ears, length of stalk, resistance, etc it is totally different. It has been genetically bred for millennia, so that modern GMO is not really necessary. It has been genetically modified. Just not in the way that counts as “GMO”.
Also, why do you think there is no GMO wheat?

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:03 pm

Wheat…….Mmmmmmmm, Hefeweizen!!! Very tall glass, cloudy, heady and cool…… with some nice muenster, brick, or smoke gouda on the side board!

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:06 pm

Wheat yields have tripled or more in my lifetime not just because of chemicals but because new strains have been developed to make better use of fertilizers & pesticides. Tall, small-headed wheats of my youth gave way to the short, heavy-headed varieties of the past 40 years. The Green Revolution occurred here as well as at Norman Borlaug’s Mexican station.
For soft white winter wheat, much of this work has been done just down the road from me by friends of mine at the ag experimental station in Umatilla County, where Washington & Oregon State Universities researchers tested varieties developed there, such as the legendary Stephens, by the great Warren Kronstad of OSU, whom I am privileged to know.
Stephens wheat had been Oregon’s #1 variety since 1979, but was displaced in 2010 by ORCF 101, a Clearfield wheat (non-GM) developed by OSU & BASF Corp. Too bad about OSU, my parents’ alma mater, & CACA.

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:33 pm

Not GMO? The CSIRO says otherwise. 😉
The main crop may not yet be, but it is being tested. The Canberra crop was “Low GI” wheat that was being tested for suitability in bread making. Low GI bread is of benefit to diabetics, but keeping people alive is not a priority for the green movement.

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 11:03 pm

You’re right milodon, unfortunate wording on my part. High wheat yields are also thanks the brilliant, good looking, wonderful people developing new strains, such as in Oregon…. (;

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 12:08 am

Mooloo, to clarify, there is no genetically-modified wheat in commercial production here in the U.S..Thanks.
GMO crops are: corn, soybeans, sugar beets, alfalfa, papaya, canola, cotton and summer squash. There were no GE potatoes grown here last I checked, according to capitalpress – although the apples and potatoes are “in the pipeline.” That is the last I read, and that is my source.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 5:45 am

There are 274 mutant varieties registered of Triticum aestivum dating back to the mid-Sixties.

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 9:42 am

Zeke, don’t forget our good old friend carbon dioxide.

Productivity and water use of wheat under free-air CO2 enrichment

But nutrients are lost they say. Hey, give me my carbs, that’s what I want from wheat.

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 10:40 am

Doug Huffman says, from his link, “The Plant Breeding and Genetics Section assists FAO and IAEA Member States in the implementation of innovative and effective plant breeding programmes using radiation induced mutation, mutation detection and pre-breeding technologies.”
These mutations, created by exposing seed to radiation, are allowed under organic standards.

Reply to  Zeke
October 26, 2014 2:34 pm

Jimbo says, “But nutrients are lost they say. Hey, give me my carbs, that’s what I want from wheat.”
I personally prefer bread and dough that rises. Gluten interacts with yeast and allows bread to rise. We unknowingly bought a gluten free pizza and barely gagged it down. My daughter calls it “glutton free.”
Thanks for the link Jimbo, I am reading it now.

john karajas
Reply to  davesix
October 24, 2014 2:08 am

Here in Australia we have the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (“Our ABC”) banging on forever about organic farming as if it is the answer to modern food needs. Realists they are not! Oh, and those of you elsewhere in our wonderful world of modern media would not be surprised at this: “Our ABC” accept the bullshit peddled by taxpayer-funded climate scientists about CAGW.

October 23, 2014 8:25 pm

Let’s just model things.
Increasing CO2 helps plants to grow faster, True or false.
Increasing temperature helps plants grow faster. True or false.
Rising global sea temperatures may killl some corals, but allow them to move northward in the northern hemisphere, and southward in the southern hemisphere. True or false.
People who lived in colder areas like Minnesota, Illinois and New York, moved to warmer areas like California, Florida, and Texas, tio enjoy warmer climate. True or false.
if most-dire CAWG predictions came true retirees in NY, Illinois, Minnesota and Massachusetts would either not move, or move to Canada, instead of moving to the Sunbelt States. True of false.
If fossil fuel energy is turned off, the//greens will go toRio and Doha, with the AC turned off, and say “This is the best.” True or false.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Schoolsie
October 24, 2014 10:03 am

I’m guessing you are expecting sea level rise to drown coral. Not going to happen, world corals have grown a 120m upwards, since the last glacial, keeping pace with melt water influx. Gee, they act like they have done this before. Hey, and the sea was colder, too at the outset. Although I like your model. Really, all we have to do in the post normal is to forget about reality and model a nice life for everybody.

S. Carloti
Reply to  Schoolsie
October 24, 2014 12:36 pm

You bastard ! TRUE on all counts !
You really had to stick it to us, Huh ? :-)))

S. Carloti
Reply to  Schoolsie
October 24, 2014 12:47 pm

This pesky CO2 ! keep in mind that YOU… exhale it ! :-))
Google ……”Increased CO2 makes deserts greener”.
Who needs greener deserts ?

Leon Brozyna
October 23, 2014 8:28 pm

Not quite so rosy a picture for durum wheat … used for production of pasta … with reduced supplies, pasta prices are rising (no, it’s not a crisis, just an annoyance).

Doug S
October 23, 2014 8:31 pm

Thank you Anthony for bringing this to our attention. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I would not have known this critically important detail if not for your efforts. Let us see how the “professional” journalists pick up this story and report it to the masses. This simple test will speak volumes about the success or failure of modern journalism.

Reply to  Doug S
October 26, 2014 2:25 pm

Most of us say “No news is good news”.
Main Stream Media says “Good news is no news.”

James Allison
October 23, 2014 8:53 pm

Luckily crop going land used for the production of ethanol hasn’t made much of a dent in cereal production.

October 23, 2014 9:02 pm

Julian Simon is triumphant once again, yet still people listen to Erlich and the other millennialists. Peak oil and peak food have been climbed and proved to be molehills.

October 23, 2014 9:06 pm

Some thoughts
Let’s approve Keystone XL. Let’s stop sending western coal to Chia. Let’s make USA the cheapest energy place, and compete USA energy plus labor costs the best in the world. If you make energy really cheap, you can pay labor more.
As for thorium reactors, it sounds good to me. Homeowner wind and solar panels,I like it, Homeowneror neighborhood thorium reactor, why not?

Reply to  Schoolsie
October 23, 2014 9:20 pm

Why not? I will tell you why not. Because there are not any functioning thorium reactors, except maybe one in India. Second, the coal plants are working well and are desperately needed. So removing them and replacing them now is a Broken Window scheme.
Besides, the country has been run deeply into trillions of dollars of debt for renewables and health programs which the Boomers wanted.
So, considering the trillions of dollars of debt we apparently carry, how do we pay for these new shiny plants exactly? And may I add that there are a lot of solar panel salesmen in the world right now, and the buyer should beware. For instance, Goldman Sachs announced it would be “investing” 40 billion dollars in renewables, and there are also quite a few politicians who are “invested” in them.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:07 pm

I read a chart somewhere recently which listed the number of deaths required to produce so many gigawatts of power among the many ways of generating it. Coal cost 26 lives. Natural gas and petroleum dropped the number to 4. Nuclear reactors was 0. something or other.
That said, we obviously have no business taking present coal-fired plants offline during a time when it appears we are going to be experiencing record cold winters with massive amounts of snow cover. Lucky for me, I live on the desert Southwest where summer temperatures have been moderating over the last couple of decades with fewer and fewer 110 degree days. Winter was so mild last season we didn’t use heating or cooling for months.
Our esteemed military ran a small scale thorium reactor for many years quite a while back. It was intended for use on military aircraft. Plans to upscale to a large reactor for energy production were scrapped because U.S. companies had already invested heavily in developing uranium technology. We took the cheap way out.
As usual that was a costly mistake.

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 9:51 am

Here is the reality of alternative energy. I am not against ALL solar by the way. I am against enforced solar for the national grid. Let people choose and don’t frighten them over co2. Solar panels existed before the recent scare.

Roger Pielke Jr – 9 July 2013
“Clean Energy Stagnation
Growth in Renewables Outpaced by Fossil Fuels
The world was moving faster towards reducing its reliance on carbon intensive energy consumption in the 1970s and 1980s than in the past several decades. In fact, over the past 20 years there has been little if any progress in expanding the share of carbon-free energy in the global mix. Despite the rhetoric around the rise of renewable energy, the data tells a far different story……
The figure above shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. These sources include nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass……
However, since 1999 the proportion of carbon-free energy in the global mix has dropped slightly…….”

October 23, 2014 9:23 pm

I love to watch farmers do their work. In the spring they have a narrow window to plant their crops some years. But they hustle and get it done so fast, it really says something about the improved equipment they have to work with.

Reply to  uıʇɹɐɯ pɹɐʍpE
October 23, 2014 10:17 pm

We plant winter wheat here in the fall. If you think that we can plant fast now, you should see the improvements in our speed of harvesting, despite much higher yields.

Reply to  milodonharlani
October 24, 2014 7:27 am

I don’t get up into that part of the country much at all these days, I would like to see that. I used to go up there a lot, but didn’t really pay that much attention to winter wheat.
I have been contemplating buying one of these expensive new computerized, low emissions big rigs. As an owner you can pick and choose loads and go wherever. I used to yank some big fish out of the Umatilla River… always put them back alive. But putting the house and land up for collateral to a banker is a scary proposal. The ‘Petro Yuan’ competition with the dollar could heat up and then the war drums could start. The political landscape could also return to suicidal, just when things are really looking up economically.
So I’ll just save my nickels for now, watch things and maybe try to buy one outright at a later date. Everything is paid off, so I am building up the funds, but need a newer personal vehicle. My old 4×4 is pretty much gotten to the point of being a farm/hunting & fishing only deal. The heavy duty Mercedes 3500 Sprinter (or similar) with dual rear axle has caught my attention, decked out as a luxuriously appointed camper. You can go visiting and just camp out anywhere if you decide to.

Global cooling
October 23, 2014 9:47 pm

Americans and Mexicans eat more than their share of this food. Africans starve and Americans are obese.

Reply to  Global cooling
October 23, 2014 10:10 pm

It never fails that a report showing the abundance of food is met with an accusation that it isn’t being “shared” fairly. We’ll just ignore the correlation between corrupt tyrannies and food shortages. But this is the first time I’ve seen Mexicans fingered as part of the story line. Good on ya for coming up with a new twist to an old fairy tale.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Global cooling
October 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Plenty of food is grown in Africa and other places to feed populations. The problem that plagues them is the lack of a transportation infrastructure that can distribute food before it goes bad.
Obesity is up in the U.S. because we have believed too long the lie that eating fat will make you fat. White starch and sugar will make you fat and destroy your good cholesterol. Learning to eat more vegetables, berries, meat, and dairy products with portion control will fix the obesity problem and makes for healthier cholesterol.

Reply to  Ernest Bush
October 24, 2014 2:03 am

Same for India, Lack of distribution leads to 5 billion dollars of waste .

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Global cooling
October 23, 2014 10:46 pm

Robert Mugabe The Redistirbutionist helped ensure southern Africa was a Breadbasket-turned Basket case.

Reply to  Global cooling
October 23, 2014 11:00 pm

American obesity has much more to do with what’s in their food than with how much they eat, or how much they move. Before the introduction of growth hormones and other substances that make cows grow faster and fatter, and to give more milk, there was not problem with obesity, though Americans were literally living in their cars. Look at the movies and documentary footage from the 1970s. Almost everyone seems as slender as an eel, gobbling up hamburgers, popcorn, Coca-Cola, and whatever other disgusting stuff Americans like to consume. But most of the people were not fat.

Evan Jones
Reply to  Alexander Feht
October 24, 2014 3:46 am

That is seriously incorrect. What you describe it not even vaguely like what I saw, and when I was born, there were still segregated washrooms in the Deep South. First, it was an intensely more physically active generation compared with today’s though it became increasingly inactive — not via cars, but via TV. But nothing compares with computers. Nothing. Second, meat was harder to get and incredibly fattier, to boot. And far more expensive — when compared with % of income.
As for the hamburgers, I wouldn’t wish what they put into those things in the “Good Old Days” on my worst enemies.
As for the 1970s, you sound like you only saw the movie. I saw the actual play.
You bet they weren’t fat. Those were leaner times (in a bad sense, I mean). In the 1960s, the homeless in the subways generally were showing ribs. It took 20 more years for that to change significantly.

Reply to  Global cooling
October 24, 2014 7:36 am

Watch the movie “A Good Lie” to understand some of the factors that cause social upheaval (and hence starvation) in Africa.

Reply to  Global cooling
October 24, 2014 10:06 am

Global cooling, please not that many African’s starve not because they can’t grow food. An internal war is one example. Drought or the outbreak of pests are other example.

Aug 5, 2014
“Ethiopia’s 2013-14 Exports Increase 6% on Jump in Oilseed Sales”

India used to really starve back in the day. Today, is different. It can be done.

October 23, 2014 9:48 pm

I could be wrong (as I often am). I haven’t read Arrhenius’s papers, But as a scientist, I doubt that Arrhenius tested C)2 concentrations between 100 and 500 ppm. Prove me wrong. I like being proved wrong. My guess is he used really high CO2 concentrations in his work like 10% and above. If anyone can prove Arrhenius used .01% of his experimental cell and 0.05% to demonstrate C)2 warming, I’ll give you $1000.
As a true scientist, I don’ think he was working at those low CO2 concentration levels. But prove me wrong.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Schoolsie
October 23, 2014 10:57 pm

The results of his experiments resemble the real world about as much as climate computer models. Its hard to absorb and re-radiate in certain bands when water vapor has already absorbed most of what’s available in those regions. This hasn’t slowed down the Warmists at all, however.

John F. Hultquist
October 23, 2014 9:50 pm

Much improvement is still possible.
Agricultural researchers are not done. Organic pesticide search and testing is underway – in a big way.
Seed and pesticide makers like BASF SE , DuPont Co. , Bayer AG and Monsanto Co. are investing heavily to develop new products incorporating organisms like bacteria and tiny fungi, which executives say can help corn, soybean and other plants fend off pests and grow faster.” [Jacob Bunge, WSJ, Oct. 21, 2014]
{may need a subscription to view}
Also, wasted food is a major issue with +/- 30% of production not consumed for one reason or another:
Increasing production in greenhouses:
Our products were an immediate success, which led to ongoing expansion.
[from the About Us page]

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
October 23, 2014 9:53 pm

Wasted food is far less than what it should be because of fungicides. Fungicides kill molds both pre- and post-harvest. Without fungicides, for example, 3 out of 4 strawberries must be removed before they can infect good fruit. Before fungicides, 75% of peaches were thrown away because of mold.

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:38 pm

I don’t believe you.

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:56 pm

And now, 95% of peaches are petrified in argon.

Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 10:56 pm

mpainter, this article is for you, if you are actually interested in the rate of infection of strawberries in the US. I understand what it is like to encounter new information about growing food, and that that can be a little hard to assimilate.
“Gray mold fungus…infects the berries in the field but which remains symptomless until the fruit ripens. The fungus produces a velvety gray growth on the surface of the berry. Gray mold spreads in shipping containers when the fungus grows from a rotting berry to an adjacent healthy fruit. 100% of US strawberry acres are estimated to be infected with the gray mold fungus. Widespread infections are prevented with fungicide treatments.
“Gray mold is one of the most economically important diseases of cultivated strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa), and a significant threat to the United States’ $2.4 billion strawberry crop… Crop losses resulting from gray mold disease are especially severe under moist weather conditions, and occur not only during the crop growing season but also after harvest and during storage and transit.
The control of gray mold in commercial strawberry fields is largely dependent on the application of fungicides during bloom and fruit maturation.” ” Research by Leonard Gianessi aka pesticideguy

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
October 23, 2014 10:05 pm

Greenhouses are also made possible mainly by fungicides:
Leonard Gianessi writes:
“China produces nearly half of the world’s vegetables- five times the U.S. share. China’s increase in vegetable acreage between 2000 and 2004 (5.7 million acres) exceeded the entire vegetable acreage in the United States (3.7 million acres). China’s vegetable production has grown mainly to meet domestic demand from its 1.3 billion citizens. There are over 7.3 million acres of greenhouse crops in China and the growing conditions in the greenhouses are conducive to fungal outbreaks making fungicide use necessary.
“Gray mold caused by B. cinerea has become one of the most economically important diseases, since the rapid development of greenhouse cultivation in the 1990s in eastern China. B. cinerea severely reduces the yield and quality of greenhouse vegetables such as eggplant, tomato, cucumber and pepper. Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces are the major vegetable production regions of eastern China, where unheated plastic greenhouses have been in use since 1998. Growers depend on regular fungicide treatments approximately every 7 days from November to May, besides some cultural practices such as ventilation to control the epidemic of B. cinerea.””

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 7:22 am

You seem as an intelligent fellow and I have no doubt that you will come to see the error of citing industry sources as the truth.

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 8:27 am


Citing any source such as Zeke has done is much better than your technique of citing nothing at all.

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 9:30 am

That is debatable, juan. You are a new name. Are you new to this blog? If not, then you know that drive-by spitballs such as yours carry no weight here.

Dr. Strangelove
October 23, 2014 10:09 pm

2.5 billion tons of cereals. That’s fourteen 25-kg sacks of cereals for each man, woman and baby in the world. You will die of obesity if you eat all that. So we throw away 30% of it and feed 30% of it to cows, pigs and other animals, while a billion people remain poor and hungry.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
October 23, 2014 10:49 pm

Even with 5.0 Gigatonnes, it still wouldn’t be enough. The political institutions and culture of corruption in most of those countries are the problem.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 24, 2014 10:50 am

Corruption, I remember it fondly. In the 1960s, I was a civil servant in Nigeria (Geological Survey- 1100 Nigerian pounds a year – no NGO aristocrat, I ) mapping the geology of remote northern parts of the country (Sahel). You bought your food, cigarettes (mmmmm! 3 Rings was the brand) at the local marketplace in any modest villlage, stayed in the “Government Rest House” (‘bariki’ in Hausa) which was two round mud huts encircled with an outside racetrack-shaped outer wall and thatched – your living quarters in one round room, your bath (a lovely, deep concrete tub that I had the Sarkin Bariki fill up for me during the day while I was out by myself on traverses) and storage in the other round room. A hour-glass-shaped space between the two round rooms was the entrance hall.
A story that an Oxfam guy I knew just hated to hear from me was that I bought my rice from a large cardboard drum labeled “A gift to the people of Nigeria from Oxfam” for 6 pennies a cupful (it was 3 pennies for the locals and double that for the ‘Bature’ – West Africa’s word for ‘Bwana’ in East Africa). Yes, corruption was itself part of the GDP. When you went to pay your light bill, you gave a shilling or two extra, or your bill got thrown in a pile to be processed and stamped two or three days later (your stamped receipt had to be shown to an inspector on demand). The clerks and officials were even paid at a rate that expected they would augment there income through graft. If a clerk left or died, his family or friend would sell the position to a new person.
The most innovative business I discovered was to be found in major centres, in my case (Survey) the Northern Nigeria government and commercial HQs location, Kaduna (which means crocodile). The business, located in the marketplace rented out auto, truck and bus parts, tires, brake pads, mufflers and exhaust pipes, shocks, etc. so that when you came with your vehicle for its annual inspection certificate, you would arrive the night before to have your vehicle inspected at the marketplace where they replaced faulty parts with rented ones which, after the inspection, you returned to the business -and off you went with your auto’s clean bill of health for one more year!
There were daily incidences of such corruption and scams (vultures sold to American technical aid folks on Thanksgiving as Nigerian Turkeys, small quartz crystals and topazes sold as smuggled Sierra Leone diamonds, …..)

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
October 24, 2014 8:37 am

You actually believe that the reason why a billion people are poor and hungry is because some people eat “too much”?
Those people who are poor and hungry are poor and hungry because that’s what their govts want.

October 23, 2014 10:55 pm

24 Oct: Irish Times: Ireland’s reliance on agriculture recognised in EU climate deal
Dairy industry can continue to grow without risk of EU fines for methane gas emissions
by Suzanne Lynch, Arthur Beesley
This marks something of a coup for Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who had argued at the outset of talks against the prospect of “unreachable” targets being set for Ireland.
Even as EU leaders settled on overall targets, they deferred talks on specific national targets until after a UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015…
Outgoing European Council president Herman Van Rompuy said the decision not to set national targets this point was taken at the behest of member states…
The leaders also agreed that member states will be required to make 15 per cent of their power generation capacity available to other countries. This followed requests from Spain and Portugal, who are keen to export more energy to neighbouring countries such as France…
failure for the CAGW activists in Brussels:
24 Oct: LondonSouthEast: dpa: EU Climate Deal Disappoints Environmentalists
Under the agreement, carbon dioxide emissions are to be cut by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and at least 27% of EU energy is to be derived from renewable sources by then.
Energy consumption is to be cut by at least 27% – a lower figure than originally anticipated. However, countries are “free to set their own, higher national targets,” the leaders wrote in a joint statement…
EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU was sending “a strong signal to other big economies and all other countries: We have done our homework, now we urge you to follow Europe’s example.”…
Environmental groups were scathing of the compromise, with Brook Riley of Friends of the Earth Europe calling the 40% emissions reduction target “dangerously irresponsible.”
“This deal does nothing to end Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels or to speed up our transition to a clean energy future. It’s a deal that puts dirty industry interests ahead of citizens and the planet,” Riley said.
Natalia Alonso of Oxfam said: “Insufficient action like this from the world’s richest countries places yet more burden on the poorest people most affected by climate change, but least responsible for causing this crisis.”
Negotiators laboured to win over Eastern European countries to the package agreed Friday…
As part of the deal, the eastern members were granted support measures to help them on the energy front.
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said she was leaving the summit with “no extra burdens” for her country, describing the deal as a “guarantee” that energy prices won’t rise until 2030.
The deal includes a review clause, thought to have been demanded by Warsaw among others, to revisit the targets after 2015 if an ambitious international treaty is not reached…
The international community has struggled to reverse a rise in temperatures, despite global efforts to burn less fossil fuel and use more renewable energy…

Joel O'Bryan
October 23, 2014 10:56 pm

Atmospheric pCO2 at 400ppm (and rising to 600ppm by 2100) is a boon to agriculture and the biosphere productivity (more trees, more plankton, more fish). It buffers mankind from the severest effects that a cooling period might bring with the concomitant shorter growing seasons.
The Warmists and Greens are scared that the public will realize the beneficial effects of rising pCO2 and that the public will simply tune out their alarmist screams. The Progressives will then see any remaining support for carbon tax schemes evaporate. The renewable energy crony capitalists will fret about the loss of their investments. Screw them all.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 24, 2014 12:27 pm

Where I live CO2 levels vary in the 450 to 800 ppm range (high density urban area). I borrowed a CO2 meter (=- 50ppm accuracy) from work and took measurements over a several day period. I suspect this is one of the reasons why some of the plants I grow are harvest ready earlier than they normally would be.

October 23, 2014 11:10 pm

Inre: peaches and food waste
(providing a reference for statement made earlier)
RUSTON, La. — Peach orchards at Mitcham Farms, near the north Louisiana city of Ruston, have survived winter freezes, droughts and dangerous hail storms. But they evidently will not survive the Environmental Protection Agency and its regulations.
The family-owned business, established in 1946 and featured in tourism magazines, is Louisiana’s largest peach orchard,according to its website, but owner Joe Mitcham expects he’ll close up shop in only a few years.
In 2005, the federal government completed its phase out of a chemical known as methyl bromide, used to control pests in peach trees and other plants. This has given Mitcham no choice but to close, as most of his trees won’t survive without it. In fact, many already have.
The EPA claims using this chemical threatens the earth’s ozone layer and that the U.S. had to discontinue its use because of the Montreal Protocol On Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and because of the Clean Air Act.

F. Ross
October 23, 2014 11:16 pm

October 23, 2014 at 11:03 pm

You’re right milodon, unfortunate wording on my part. High wheat yields are also thanks the brilliant, good looking, wonderful people developing new strains, such as in Oregon…. (;

As you have pointed out to another… sentence completion?

Reply to  F. Ross
October 23, 2014 11:32 pm

This is what he said: “and yet, with all this starvation there will be more people alive next year then ever before…..”
Any one who is complaining about how many people there are can at least capitalize and not trail off.
Not every one was smoking cannabis and reading cheap population explosion paperbacks in the 60’s and 70’s. It must have halted their mental and emotional development because they are still repeating the same things, despite new outcomes.

F. Ross
Reply to  Zeke
October 23, 2014 11:54 pm

Just my opinion, but it seems you pick nits where none need picking.
I don’t know “davideisenstadt” from Adam yet his thought was clear enough even with the ellipsis and lack of caps.
Enough said… (?)

Reply to  Zeke
October 24, 2014 5:38 am

Your comment is that of a putz, and a grammar nazi. Anyone who chooses to cite a factoid like “more people today are starving than ever before” should be called to task for its blatant banality. My use of ellipses in no way altered then fact that my comment was one sentence, one whose meaning was apparent to any thinking person.
There are more people alive today than ever before. Therefore there are more people hit by lightening, more people having near death experiences and coming back to tell us what “heaven” looks like…more conjoined twins… more people with webbed feet, and on and on., Of course, there will be more people starving today than ever before. That is my point, you obtuse, uncritical reading, ellipse using hypocritical friend.

Applause from the peanut gallery
October 23, 2014 11:44 pm

The simple point, irrespective of gnats’ eyelash comments, is that the gloom-and-doom predictions of Ehrlich and his fascist friends was completely and utterly incorrect. Fast forward and one finds Holdren, Ehrlich’s partner in error, as the US’s current science advisor. Those who point to government as the ultimate source of famine are most correct, When socialist-fascist style government withers, the world will be a far more humane place. Thanks to science and technology racing past the likes of Ehrlich and Holdren to feed the hungry and better prosperity for us all.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Applause from the peanut gallery
October 24, 2014 11:02 am

Yeah, but this time, they are trying to killl the technology -fracking, use of coal, oil and natural gas, stopping pipelines, making impossible make their dreams come true.

October 24, 2014 12:20 am

Larger crops causes market price to drop and soon they will start to burn it to increase the price back to “normal” …

October 24, 2014 12:28 am

And if Ebola gets loose?
A doubling every 21 days. About 2 years to wipe out 1/2 the world’s population.

October 24, 2014 12:35 am

There is talk about Australia expanding food production. I know a spot, currently a bird sanctuary, next to a major flowing river, supplied by the massive Argyle dam, that looks like it could grow enough rice to support several million people using old Indonesian technology. Imagine using modern tech. It took my breath away standing on the hill at Wyndham just looking at the massive delta.. It is only one of a number of such spots. The world is not close to maximum food production levels.

Reply to  Peter
October 24, 2014 8:40 am

In the US, we pay farmers not to farm.
There were also millions of acres of farms in New England that were allowed to go back to forest because they could not compete economically once the Midwest was opened up for farming.
If we needed to, the world could double it’s current food production.

October 24, 2014 1:57 am

Yields are up and usage of land is down-
“while the global food supply per person has increased over the last 15 years, we have simultaneously decreased the total amount of land we’re using to produce it…
While agricultural expansion was pretty steady on a global scale for over 30 years, in 1995 we saw the first recorded decrease in agricultural land area. It peaked in 1998, and has been lower ever since”

David A
Reply to  richard
October 24, 2014 2:40 am

As pointed out, there are many reasons for the increase in food and the more efficient use of water and land. Yet even with all that, CO2 going from 280 to 400 PPM has allowed the world to increase all food production sans added CO2 like in greenhouses, about 15% with no additional land or water required for that increase.
Without the anthropogenic aerial fertilization of this planets atmosphere, it is likely many more millions would be starving and potentially there would be more wars and regional conflicts.

Reply to  David A
October 24, 2014 12:56 pm

Not only are we using less land we are heading towards the sky. The agricultural revolution continues apace my friend. This is not going according to plan. LOL.

New Scientist – 16 January 2014
Vertical farms sprouting all over the world
URBAN warehouses, derelict buildings and high-rises are the last places you’d expect to find the seeds of a green revolution. But from Singapore to Scranton, Pennsylvania, “vertical farms” are promising a new, environmentally friendly way to feed the rapidly swelling populations of cities worldwide.
In March, the world’s largest vertical farm is set to open up shop in Scranton. Built by Green Spirit Farms (GSF) of New Buffalo, Michigan, it will only be a single storey covering 3.25 hectares, but with racks stacked six high it will house 17 million plants. And it is just one of a growing number…….

Reply to  David A
October 24, 2014 1:04 pm

Will farming without soil ever take off? If I’m not mistaken hydroponics has been around since the WW2.

Modern Farmer – June 18, 2013
Dirt-Free Farming: Will Hydroponics (Finally) Take Off?
The Future of the American Farmer?
As consumers become increasingly aware of where their food comes from and how it’s grown, it seems that we could be entering a new era of hydroponics. Moce can attest to the growing interest among hobbyists and backyard DIYers, but the growing social demand combined with recent technological advancements means hydroponics has a new potential to influence the food system, in the way that William Frederick Gericke once dreamed.
Companies like Lufa Farms in Montreal, BrightFarms in Philadelphia and Gotham Greens in New York are growing food hydroponically in giant greenhouses directly on the roofs of supermarkets. They take advantage of the available natural light while also significantly cutting down transportation costs. By selling directly to the markets below, their hydroponic produce can theoretically be competitively priced against conventional produce.
The ever-increasing returns in computing power from Moore’s Law and efficient automatization are making large-scale hydroponic operations more accessible to even the most inexperienced farmers…..

Malthusians weep.

Mike Maguire
October 24, 2014 3:19 am

While our governments proceed to impose expensive regulations and energy policies based entirely on catastrophic warming projections and human caused climate change and extreme weather that only exist in the world of computer models used to represent a flawed theory………….the empirical data from the real world, based on the real law of photosynthesis shows the massive benefits from increasing CO2.
The theoretical projections that vilify CO2 are getting all the weighting. The irrefutable massive benefits from CO2’s role in photosynthesis get no weighting. This could only happen if the sources doing the weighting were extremely biased, using marketing schemes that distort/manipulate authentic science to accomplish an objective.

October 24, 2014 4:20 am

Any bets on the price of beef coming down or will the EPA increase the alcohol used in gasoline to E15?

October 24, 2014 9:48 am

How much of this production comes from slash and burn agriculture or other highly erosive agricultural methods? Way too much, is my guess.

Reply to  barchester
October 24, 2014 11:51 am

None, “slash and burn” agriculture is for tropical crops, not cereal.

Bert Walker
Reply to  barchester
October 24, 2014 1:23 pm

Many cereal crop farmers utilize “Crop Residue Burning” as a cost effective way to clear old fields in preparation for replanting. This is utilized world wide for cereal, tuber, cane and other crops. For more info see:

October 30, 2014 5:42 pm

Reblogged this on US Issues and commented:
Food prices should be falling in the US, but various subsidies and taxes are preventing that, to the detriment of all Americans, especially the poor.

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