Grain Prices Up 120%!

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by stevento, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. stevento macrumors 6502

    stevento

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    #1
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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  3. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #3
    Looks like you've got your top three reasons right there in the article.

    And if you've never seen food prices doubled in the US, you need to walk into a Whole Foods.:eek:
     
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    i LOVE Whole Foods
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #5
    Just wait until the brokers playing the oil market right now switch to the agriculture futures market. :eek:
     
  6. stevento thread starter macrumors 6502

    stevento

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    #6
    my brother is an enviornmentalist hippie vegan and he has (allegedly) hard proof that meat production is in part responsible for higher food prices, global warming and poverty
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #7
    By part of the reason is that because they are eating same grain they have been for years. If they stop raising mean grain prices more than likely would fall but Meat production is not the reason grain prices are going up.

    Ethonal is one reason, higher fuel cost, droute and flooding in some parts of hte world killing off a lot of the crop
     
  8. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #8
    Really, I thought it would be Bush's fault. ;)

    Seriously, like others have said it is a combination of factors.

    Ain't that the truth.
     
  9. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    The misnamed "Green Revolution" gave most of the world lower food prices for over 50 years. It wasn't that long ago that most people in the western world spent ~30% of their income on food. Now it's about 10%.

    The revolution took place due to a single factor. Oil. Not only did increases in transportation efficiency allow the growth of large scale farming, post WWII production of oil based fertilizers and pesticides meant yields skyrocketed.

    Little can be done to increase yields anymore, despite the desperate claims of ADM and Monsanto. Water is more scarce in most parts of the world as well.

    Last but not least is the fact that the world's population has increased from about 2.5 billion in 1950 to about 6.5 billion today.

    Not only will people in the west see food prices rise dramatically, many people in Africa and Asia will face death from starvation.
     
  10. walangij macrumors 6502

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    #10
    This is the worst part :mad:. Already at 6.5 billion we're having substantial troubles with maintaining this population w/ current technologies. When the population is @ 9.0 billion by 2050 we'll be in even more hot water, we seriously need some major revisions to our way of life. Are we near exceeding the maximum population of humans earth can sustain?

    Where is my space ship?
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    As a population's income rises, people are able to buy more expensive food. Meat is generally at the top of the new shopping list. Ironically, Argentina, one of the most meat friendly countries in the world, has turned a lot of the pampas into soybean fields. The soybeans are then exported as cattle and human feed while the rural population in some areas faces starvation.

    Rising meat prices should theoretically slow demand, therefore allowing more grain to be consumed by humans.

    The excess commodities program has been a mainstay of school lunches and soup kitchens. Since there are virtually no excess commodities in this day and age, schools are having to buy more food directly increasing costs and many more Americans are having to do without an adequate diet.

    Heroin addicts probably have it easier weaning themselves from heroin than the US will when it comes to weaning itself from the false promises of cheap oil.
     
  12. stevegmu macrumors regular

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    #12
    Most of us who play the commodities markets are already into agricultural futures. Many started to diversify investments when the stock market began its roller-coaster ride, and invested in commodities- artificially driving up prices.
    Grain, however, I blame on the ethanol initiative, and increase in the cost of diesel fuel.
     
  13. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Yeah, "all of the above", except that climate change is not particularly a factor. Multi-year drouths are nothing new; they come along roughly every couple of dozen years (In the U.S., that holds true back to the Civil War. Peak-to-peak, 22 years.).

    A major contributory factor is the increased buying power for food in China and India. So, naturally, more demand for meat. And, of course, more rice and wheat than before, since they can afford more quantity of staple vegetables.

    A major impact was the ethanolitis, as mentioned before at this forum. That's diverted millions of acres, worldwide, from wheat and hops to corn--but with a reduction of availability of corn as food for both people and livestock.

    So, as usual, Economics 101 rules...

    'Rat
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #14
    There's also a 20% to 80% rise in the price of hops, owing to poor crop yields, rising barley prices, and a shortage of growers. Gas prices and 'ethanolitis' also seem to be contributing.
     
  15. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #15
    Did you know that last year was a 'bumper crop' (2.1 billion tonnes), up 5% on the previous year? The crime of it is is that only around half of it will be eaten by us humans: "...760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals..." -
    (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/15/food.biofuels)

    Also, did you know that it 'costs' 700 calories of feed to produce 100 calories of beef? -
    (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/07/opinion/07krugman.html)

    Add to this the ridiculous bio-fuel craze that has been sweeping the worlds governments and it was a disaster waiting to happen.
     
  16. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #16
    That is indeed tragic for beer drinkers.

    When I first read your post I saw "hogs" instead of hops.

    One reason why food prices have remained fairly flat in the last 20 years is the growth of hog and chicken factories. Most chicken and pork in the US is processed by a very few companies. From a strictly economic viewpoint, those companies have squeezed every last ounce of waste out of the process while destroying many independent farmers.

    There will be no more efficiency gains in meat production until meat can be grown in a test tube.

    Hopefully what this means is that some of the mega processors will disappear as it becomes more efficient to process meat closer to the consumer.
     
  17. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #17
    A lot of TRUTH in this post. However, I found your claim that ADM and Monsanto can't continue to increase yields to be a bit short-sighted. Perhaps you were simply talking about already agriculturally-advanced locations... but if not, I will point you to locations where agriculture is a rapidly growing culture and where simple genetic modifications can turn a 'natural' 20 bushel/acre crop into a pest proof, drout resistant 100-200 bushel/acre crop.

    Companies like Monsanto are doing more good for this world than any hippie tree hugging organization or Al Gore ever will. Its too bad our suburban hippie know-nothings will never understand this fact and continue to spread their destructive propoganda in colleges and internet forums everywhere...
     
  18. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #18
    There's always another side to the story. I recommend some actual research intead of taking talking points out of newspaper headlines. The quote before comes from a source that disputes these facts... I am not saying that everything that they say is truth, only pointing out the obvious falicies in what you said, and posting a couter-argument which prooves my original point that you can't get all the information you need from a newspaper article or liberal blog.


    "The activist myth goes something like this: meat production uses outrageous amounts of water, feed and land that should be used for something else. The truth is it takes 2.6 pounds of grain and 435 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef in the United States. The reality is that 85 percent of the nation’s grazing lands are not suitable for farming. It is important that we use land that is too rough, too high, too dry, too wet and largely inaccessible to graze livestock to produce food for the world’s population. Cattle eat forages that humans cannot consume and convert them into a nutrient-dense food."

    I also feel obligated to point out that all foodstuffs are not created equal. For example... if you are growing genetically optimized corn, you can get about 200 bushels/acre on an average farm in Iowa (US State). On that same exact ground, if you were growing actual human consumable sweetcorn, you are looking at somewhere around 50-100 bushels/acre.
     
  19. latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    #19
    Can you elaborate on that? What destructive propaganda are you talking about?
     
  20. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    As stated earlier, the so called gains of GM come with a huge price. Few 3rd world farmers can afford the seeds, fertilizers and pesticides needed to provide the yields that you claim. Many that attempt to grow GM crops often find themselves in an endless cycle of debt. All it takes is one year of drought, "unexpected" failure of GM crops, etc, etc and the farmer is finished.
     
  21. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21
    How many American cattle spend their lives on open range? My guess is that very few see a blade of grass for more than a few short months of their life. Most US cattle spend their entire lives in feedlots, living in their waste. They eat food that is saturated with antibiotics. The bulk of their food is corn and corn is ill suited to ruminants. There are pretty suggestive links between the rampant spread of ecoli and the high sugar content of feed corn.

    There are also fairly strong links between "mega yield" grain varieties and severe environmental degradation. How much topsoil has disappeared from Iowa fields in the last 150 years? How much is left? And, probably most importantly, how long will it last?

    Soil is something that can't be replaced no matter how many chemicals are pumped into it.
     
  22. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #22
    I would guess about 99% of them start their lives on the open range. Almost an idential percentage (those which are not raised as veal) put on roughly 60% of their "kill weight" before being weaned off of their mother. Virtually ALL of pre-wean weight is put on by grass feeding and mother's milk. Cows are virtually never fed grain... So to answer your question, a HECK of a lot more than you care to admit.



    You're right... sick cattle and cattle that died from illness are far more tasty and good for you than those which received antibiotics to keep them healthy. ;) I think we would ALL be better off without antibiotics! Hooray!

    Corn is ill-suited to ruminants? I'd love to hear your philosophy on this one... apparently you know far more about it than the people that raise cattle for a living. If only they knew that the corn they were using was "ill-suited to ruminants!" You could start a revolution.



    I hate this... I really hate this part of the job. I don't like to be the person to break this to you, but do you know how soil is created? I mean... how did it get there? Well, the little secret is bio-mass. Bio-mass from grass, from weeds, from trees, from... CORN, from BEANS! CRAZY, huh? Iowa creates its own soil through the life cycle, so don't worry about that.

    And uh... where exactly do you think this soil is going? Is it dissapearing or being taken by aliens? It must go somewhere!
     
  23. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    Right... like Brazil?

    Modern farming is the single-best thing that has ever happened to third-world countries. It gives them self-sufficiency and sustainability, something that they can't get anywhere else.

    What would the seed companies have to gain by putting all of their farmers out of business? This is one heck of a conspiracy theory... if only you could actually see the success stories related to modern farming in third world countries... but no, that would be too many clicks on "the internets."

    Listen Ugg, you said it best man. "The misnamed "Green Revolution" gave most of the world lower food prices for over 50 years. It wasn't that long ago that most people in the western world spent ~30% of their income on food. Now it's about 10%. " This quote gives a great example of how modern farming can change a people's future for the best.
     
  24. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #24
    The only thing I enjoy patronizing is my local coffee shop...
     
  25. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #25
    Beef: Ol' mama cow, she'll give ya maybe nine calves before she goes off in that beef category known as "canners and cutters". The calves, at around 400 to 500 pounds, are sold into the feedlot world. Prior to that, they've been on mama's milk and pasturage. I haven't kept track of the whole feedlot deal, but at around a thousand pounds, they head for Ruth's Chris.

    A helluva lot of the U.S. is quite suitable for livestock, but truly sucks for farming. Legally, "desert" is 17" of rainfall or less. That begins about the middle of the coutnry, and goes pretty much to the west-coast mountains. Farming in those areas is via irrigation.

    Hops: Micro-breweries in the Pacific Northwest have had troubles from either shortages or high prices. Some have shut down. In Germany, since sometime last year, beer prices have risen about 15%, last I read. Corn instead of hops and barley.

    Dry land farming (no irrigation), if you get three good years in five, you're in good shape and the banker's happy. A good fourth year, and it's new-Cadillac time. Irrigators don't make as much money in the good years as a dry-lander, but they don't have the bad-year valleys from lack of rainfall. A more even money-flow. Higher overhead, though, from buying or pumping water and a bigger bill for bug-spray, so less net profit per acre.

    A guy named David Pimental, a researcher at Cornell U, in a 1998 research paper concluded that it takes 129,600 BTU to produce one gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol contains
     

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