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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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"We have to grow a good crop this year"

AgriNews, which covers agriculture in both Illinois and Indiana, had a story Monday about a Community Bank Ag Conference in Mendota, Ill. Normally, I don’t closely follow agricultural banking news, but the headline caught my attention: “Hybrids play major role in meeting world food needs.”

One of the speakers at the conference was Steve Freed, vice president of Research for ADM Investor Services. He had a number of important things to say – about growing world demand for corn and soybeans, driven particularly by China. Corn production alone will have to grow by a billion bushels by 2015 “to satisfy that potential demand.”

He noted the contribution made by corn hybrids (“I think that corn hybrids have done a lot to keep us from having a disaster”) and new developments in soybeans. He was optimistic about the potential for future yield improvements, but there was also this sober statement:

“We have to grow a good crop this year.”

One might argue that farmers have to grow a good crop every year, but rising food prices reflect both rising demand and declining reserves. In wealthier countries like the United States, rising prices are a concern. In less developed countries, rising prices can be a catastrophe.

This was discussed in depth at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. Initiatives are being undertaken in countries like Tanzania, using conventional hybrids to improve local production (and I said conventional hybrids, not GM). A similar initiative has been undertaken successfully in Malawi.

Crop production in the United States is critical to meeting world food needs.

But farmers in Tanzania have to grow a good crop this year, too.

1 Responses to ""We have to grow a good crop this year""

  1. This is really interesting information.

    I truly wish we could have an honest discussion about the importance of yield in this country.

    I don’t think people have any idea what food would cost without high yield crops.


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