The Grand Solar Minimum has taken a heavy toll on global agriculture this year — dramatic swings between weather extremes are proving impossible for farmers to deal with.
Europe’s historically dry summer has led to a double-digit decline in grain output.
Yet in the Ukraine, it was drought and then a deluge of heavy rain and flooding that caused its wheat harvest to fall 9% from last year, with that of barley down 12%, reports UkrAgroConsult.
In Germany, which has suffered drought and record high temperatures, wheat output is down 25% on average.
North America’s cherry crop was down, with California producing just three million cases, down from 9.7m in 2017. Washington state yielded less than 20m crates of the stone fruit, more than 4m fewer than last year.
While India’s plantation crops including coffee, pepper and cardamom are looking at a 70% loss, according to the Karnataka Planters’ Association, due to heavy and persistent rainfall.
And in South America, growers have been severely hampered by cold and rain over the past three months, reports Conrad Archer, regional head of perishables, MEAC region, at Panalpina.
Global orange production is forecast to reach 47.8 million tons this year – 6 million tons less than in 2017 – due to the impact of weather in the US and Brazil.
Fresh Produce Delmonte posted a net loss of $5.6m for the second quarter of this year, down from a profit of $69.8m a year earlier.
The firm blames this on “uncontrollable factors, led by congestion, delays and inclement weather at our loading ports in Central America,” besides higher commodity costs and a tighter transport market.
Our total and utter dependence on this fragile global food system is terrifyingly stupid, and will undoubtedly be our downfall in the coming years.