05 December 2012

Record Harvest in Ontario

*my image is the one used in the Free Press

The London Free Press had some "real" news on their website today.  Kudos.
Apparently both soy bean and corn yields are the highest on record.  The story can be found here:

The reason I am writing about this is that the weather conditions in S.W. Ontario were not what makes up a typical great growing season.  I question if yields have been this high for a while and it was just profitable to bring more product to market this year (as opposed to destroying it/leaving it to rot in the fields)?  Does anyone know how to find out how quickly Canadian farmers can respond to US prices (which were very high this year because of the drought in much of the US)? 

I know we waste a lot of food in North America (farm to dumpster close to 50% according to a story I heard recently on NPR that I cannot seem to find now).  How much of this waste is response to market prices?  The record yields in a NAFTA partner province during a high price year makes me wonder if it is even more than we previously thought?  I of course am not going to do the leg work on this, but someone maybe should?


autonomy of the blogger said...

I would say it is a combo of climate change and global prices.

I am not sure I have ever met a farmer who actually plowed plants under for a season in hopes of having a higher price (outside of the great depression). There would be some pretty serious collective action problems and there is a relatively high fixed cost for planting.

James Miehls said...

Yes, but...
the fixed cost of planting is a sunk cost and it is theoretically feasible that at low prices the costs of harvest and transport to market could be higher than the amount gained. That is, below the shut down price in the neoclassical model. I can't seem to find a concrete example of this happening with a quick search so non-theoretical point yielded.