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Extreme Weather Battering China Grain Production

Bloomberg writer Hallie Gu reported yesterday that, “Cold snaps are hitting China’s northeastern region, disrupting harvesting of grains from corn to rice and bolstering prices.

“Extreme weather patterns from heavy rains to scorching temperatures have battered various agricultural producing regions in China this year, damaging quality and threatening output.

The weather woes in the top grains belt pose a fresh test of the country’s drive to achieve food security. China is the world’s largest corn and soybean importer.

Heavy snowstorms are hitting parts of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Inner Mongolia this week, which would could hurt drying, storage and transport of autumn grains, the National Meteorological Center said in a report on Monday.”

Crop Production Maps- China. USDA- Foreign Agricultural Service.

The Bloomberg article explained that, “Harvesting of corn and soybeans in the northeast is coming to an end and supplies are ready to hit the market. However, rain and snow, brought by the cold snaps, are impacting the logistics and sale of grains like corn, while farmers are holding off from sales, which could stabilize prices, Holly Futures said in a report on Monday.”

“Cold Snaps Delay Corn Harvest in China’s Northeastern Region,” by Hallie Gu. Bloomberg News (November 5, 2023).

Meanwhile, Reuters writer Dominique Patton reported late last week that, “Dozens of U.S. agriculture industry representatives gathered in Beijing on Thursday to meet Chinese counterparts amid growing U.S. efforts to bolster farm trade even as political ties between their two countries remain strained.

“A delegation from 11 groups including the U.S. Soybean Export Council, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Wheat Associates is visiting a week after Chinese grain buyers signed non-binding agreements in Iowa to buy billions of dollars worth of produce, mostly soybeans, the first such signing since 2017.”

Patton explained that, “Oilseeds and grains are the top U.S. export to China, accounting for $25.4 billion last year, far ahead of other goods such as semiconductors, but Brazil has been eating into the U.S. share of the Chinese market after harvesting bumper crops of soybeans and corn.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Grain Transportation Report. November 2, 2023. Web:

“China has been pushing to diversify its import sources in the years since former U.S. President Donald Trump launched a bruising trade war and amid rising geopolitical risks, opening its market to Brazilian corn late last year.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Grain Transportation Report. November 2, 2023. Web:

Imports of Brazilian soybeans are up 18% in the first nine months of 2023 compared with the same period last year, compared with an 8% increase in U.S. arrivals. Almost 4 million tons of Brazilian corn has reached China, with more on the way.”

Elsewhere, Wall Street Journal writer Brian Spegele reported today that, “With youth unemployment recently hitting record levels—and deepening concern in Beijing about the hollowing out of rural China—Xi is calling on students and college graduates to embrace hardship and consider giving up city life for the countryside.

“Officials have rolled out a number of programs to lure young people to rural areas, where they are tasked with promoting the quality of local crops, painting walls and extolling the Communist Party’s leadership to farmers.

“The government hopes that deploying hundreds of thousands of young people to Chinese backwaters will give underemployed young people work while rejuvenating villages left behind by China’s economic rise.”

More broadly, Reuters writer David Lawder reported today that, “U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng in San Francisco this week to try to deepen a fledgling economic dialogue between the world’s two largest economies ahead of a U.S.-hosted summit of Pacific Rim leaders.

“The Treasury said the Nov. 9-10 meetings will also convene the new economic and financial forums launched in October by the Treasury and China’s finance ministry and central bank.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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