In The News
Global Trade and United States Agriculture
Cell phones, internet access, ease of worldwide travel, and cutting edge technology have altered how the United States interacts with the world around us in practically everything we do, including agriculture.
The production of agricultural crops and livestock in the U.S. today is not only critical to the health and well-being of the citizens of the United States, but in many ways the health and well-being of the world.
Recent trade disputes amongst some of the world’s largest economies like the United States and China, and rising tension in NAFTA negotiations have raised concerns about the stability of commodity markets.
To better understand the impact of these trade disputes, I think it is important to understand what commodities certain countries are importing and exporting.
A recent article written by Oklahoma State Extension Specialist Dr. Derrell Peel demonstrates this effectively. The following global market profiles are courtesy of Dr. Peel and Drovers magazine are based on current USDA estimates.
The European Union is the largest wheat producer with 20.0 percent of total world wheat production, followed by China (17.1 percent); India (13.0 percent); Russia (11.2 percent) and the U.S. (6.2 percent).
Russia accounts for 22.5 percent of global wheat exports, ahead of the U.S. with 13.5 percent; European Union (12.8 percent); Canada (12.5 percent) and the Ukraine (9.6 percent). Wheat exports are widespread; the biggest wheat importing countries are Brazil, the European Union, U.S. and China each accounting for two to four percent of global wheat imports. Major wheat importing regions include North Africa (15.1 percent); Southeast Asia (14.6 percent); and the Middle East (10.1 percent).
The U.S. is the largest corn producer (35.9 percent) globally, followed by China (20.9 percent); Brazil (8.1 percent); European Union (6.0 percent); Argentina (3.2 percent) and Mexico (2.6 percent). The U.S. exports 40.5 percent of total corn exports ahead of Brazil (17.3 percent); Argentina (15.9 percent) and the Ukraine (13.0 percent). The European Union (12.3 percent) and Mexico (11.1 percent) are the two largest corn importers followed by Japan (10.4 percent); South Korea (6.7 percent) and Egypt (6.4 percent).
The U.S. and Brazil dominate global soybean production with each producing 35.5 percent of global production followed by Argentina (11.0 percent); China (4.2 percent) and Paraguay (3.0 percent). Brazil exports 49.0 percent of total soybean exports, followed the U.S. (37.3 percent), Paraguay (4.1 percent); and Argentina (2.0 percent). China accounts for a whopping 62.9 percent of global soybean imports, followed by the European Union (9.1 percent) as well as Mexico (3.0 percent); Argentina (2.4 percent) and Japan (2.1 percent).
China produces nearly half of the world’s pork (48.2 percent), followed by the European Union (21.2 percent); U.S. (10.7 percent); Brazil (3.2 percent); and Russia (2.7 percent). The European Union exports 34.8 percent of global pork exports, with the U.S. adding another 32.1 percent plus Canada (16.2 percent); Brazil (7.5 percent) and China (2.7 percent). China is the largest pork importer (19.2 percent), along with Japan (18.9 percent); Mexico (15.1 percent); South Korea (8.1 percent) and Hong Kong (6.3 percent).
The U.S. is the biggest beef producer with 20.0 percent of global beef production, ahead of Brazil (15.7 percent); European Union (12.5 percent); China (11.6 percent); India (6.8 percent); Argentina (4.6 percent); Australia (3.6 percent) with smaller amounts produced in Mexico, Pakistan and Turkey. Brazil is the largest beef exporter at 19.3 percent of global exports, followed closely by India (18.1 percent) as well as Australia (15.4 percent); U.S. (13.1 percent); New Zealand (5.3 percent) and Canada (4.6 percent). Major beef importers include the U.S. with 16.6 percent of total world beef imports, along with China (14.4 percent); Japan (10.0 percent); Hong Kong (7.0 percent); South Korea (6.7 percent) and Russia (4.8 percent).
The U.S. produces 20.6 percent of total global broiler meat production along with Brazil (14.5 percent); European Union (13.0 percent); China (12.7 percent); India (5.0 percent) and Russia (4.3 percent). Brazil is the largest global broiler meat exporter accounting for 34.4 percent of the total, ahead of the U.S. (28.0 percent); European Union (11.5 percent); Thailand (7.2 percent); China (3.9 percent) and Turkey (3.8 percent). The largest broiler meat importing countries are Japan (12.8 percent); Mexico (9.1 percent); European Union 7.9 percent); Iraq (7.6 percent); South Africa (5.9 percent) and Saudi Arabia (5.0 percent).
Seeing the breakdown of imports and exports by country is impressive, and brings into focus how important international trade is to our economy. As agriculture producers it is important that we stay vigilant on the ever changing marketplace, and trade related issues, because changing global relationships can have short-term and long-term impacts on us here at home.
The USDA estimates used in this column first appeared in the August edition of Drovers Magazine and Dr. Peel’s article. If you have any trade related questions or need additional resources please contact Clinton Laflin, Midway District Livestock Agent at 785-483-3157, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Laflin would also be pleased to help answer any other livestock related questions you have.
The Importance of Soil Testing
Soil sampling is one of the greatest tools we have available for efficient crop production in agriculture. Regardless of whether you are a farmer, rancher, hunter, gardener, or homeowner, we all want productive returns from our soils. A soil test provides basic information of soil fertility, and provides a starting point for fertilizer inputs. While there are indicator plants that grow in certain soil conditions to offer clues for what is happening in our soils, if your goal is maximum productivity while controlling input costs then consider a soil sampling program an integral part of any your fertility program.
Kansas State University recommends lawn and gardens to be tested every 3-4 years, immobile nutrients for row crops every 2-4 years, and mobile nutrients annually prior to planting or before soil warm-up in spring for row crops. For our area, producers should minimally test for pH, Phosphorus, and Potassium as immobile nutrients to a soil depth of 0-6”. Sulfate, nitrate, and chloride are considered to be mobile nutrients and should be tested to a depth of 0-24”.
There are many different ways to soil test such as grid sampling, zone sampling, and per acre sampling to name a few, and multiple labs in Kansas in which to choose that offer quality services. While I am not a native of Kansas, the old saying still applies. If you are not testing your soil you are just guessing, and guessing can get expensive.
~Sam Lincoln, CCA, Midway District Crops Agent