Is A Wheat Crisis Developing In China As Farmers Cut Crops Early?
As global food prices remain at record highs and war wages in Europe between two of the world's largest grain suppliers, troubling videos from China show farmers slashing winter wheat production ahead of harvest times, adding even more uncertainty about food security.
Bloomberg reports China's agriculture ministry is very concerned about the matter. The ministry is investigating if there's illegal destruction of wheat crops.
The ministry said this comes three weeks before harvests, adding the crop was subjected to devastating floods late last year. There's also concern that soggy field conditions in southern China due to abnormal rainfall could affect farmers' ability to harvest.
An analyst at Melbourne-based Thomas Elder Markets, Andrew Whitelaw, said it's not surprising that farmers are cutting their wheat early for hay as this may be a better return on their money because of poor crop conditions.
"If China has a poor crop this season, then they will likely have to continue with a strong import program ... there are "already question marks around China's food security ambitions," Whitelaw said, adding that the country has ramped up wheat imports this year.
Here are some videos of Chinese trucks loaded up with unripened wheat that will be used as animal feed instead flour for human consumption.
This is not Shanghai, but China's grain-producing area. The problem is that the wheat has been cut before it is ripe. What will the Chinese eat in the future? pic.twitter.com/2U1n4bDzSP— new century (@newcentury1999) May 10, 2022
The wheat is harvested before it is fully ripe, so the cows will eat the wheat and the humans the fodder!— Protest News (@ProtestNews_EN) May 10, 2022
What is happening in China? pic.twitter.com/wnOVgcq1UX
The situation in China adds to wheat production concerns in Ukraine, Russia's unlikeness to ship the crop to "unfriendly" countries, India's threats of wheat export bans due to severe weather, and planting issues in the US Northern Plains and Canada because of wet conditions. As a result of all of these issues that may tighten global food markets even further, US wheat futures hit a 14-year high on Monday.