Ag forecast expecting tweaking to industry
EASTON, Md. — Seafood and plant-based meats and snacks. … Labor that is easier to source or that can be found in robotic farm workers. … Automated hydroponics and aquaponics that combine aquaculture and stacked plants by feeding them fish waste. … Clean energy and tracking products back to farmers.
These are among the agricultural and food industry trends that forecasters anticipate for 2019.
People increasingly want to know what’s in their foods, according to Tyson Foods, which works with chicken farmers in Accomack County, Va, and has invested in plant-based meats and snacks as well as cultured meat.
Whole Foods and Kroger are among the supermarkets that anticipate continued growth in plant-based foods and plant-based meat and seafood-based snacks.
The demand for natural sweeteners such as honey and agave also are anticipated to increase, according to Kroger.
As the health care industry provides more personalized medical tests, growers might find themselves cultivating foods tailored to individual nutritional needs, Tyson Foods forecasts. Growers might also find themselves more frequently cultivating foods that include eating for the mind and digestion, the company reports.
The focus on nutrition extends to farm animals.
Dietary supplements that boost immunity, result in increased productivity and higher survival rates are expected to experience around 6 percent growth from 2019 to 2027, according to Reportbuyer, an intelligence solution that provides market research reports.
The USDA in November changed its forecast for meat-based proteins, reducing beef production into the first quarter of 2019 and increasing the anticipated price.
Beef exports are expected to be marginally higher based on continued strong overseas demand, particularly in China, according to the USDA.
The agency’s World Trade Forecast for 2019 noted that Australian beef exports increased in 2018 due to drought but imports didn’t change much. Strong demand in Asian markets and lower Australian exports would significantly limit the amount of Australian beef available in the United States in 2019, the USDA noted.
A major uncertainty, the agency reports, is global pork supply availability.
China in 2018 increased tariffs on pork by 25 percent and according to the USDA expanded its own pork production.
U.S. and Brazil production and exports are expected to increase while European Union production is to remain flat, with 3 percent export increases.
The USDA anticipates that Chinese pork production is to increase at a modest pace but that higher local prices that caused producers across the country to expand could affect frozen pork exports. The local market preference is for fresh pork, according to the agency.
The USDA in November also revised broiler production projections down based on declining broiler chick placements and reduced 2019 turkey production by 8 million pounds.
“Our industry is very much supply and demand sensitive,” Virginia Poultry Federation President Hobey Baughan said. “There are a lot of barriers and challenges right now, but there are hungry mouths to feed throughout the globe. Poultry is a very healthful way to obtain protein.”
Kroger anticipates that regional foods and those influenced by global tastes are going to experience growth.
Archer Daniels Midland Company, which has cocoa production and agricultural processing plants in Pennsylvania, late this year opened a state-of-the-art flavor and ingredient development and customer innovation center in China.
“Around the world, ADM continues to invest to ensure that we are to go-to solution providers for clean label, sustainable ingredients and great taste,” ADM Nutrition Business President Vince Macciocchi said in a prepared statement.
ADM also maintains food and flavor labs and animal feed and flavor ingredient facilities in Asia and Australia.
Technology and innovation are forecast to further progress in 2019, as larger companies according to Whole Foods dedicate resources to transparency and to educating people on sourcing and producing products.
The USDA anticipates that 2019 soybean acreage is to remain at 91 million while corn acreage declines from 91 million to 90 million acres, part of a steady increase-decrease pattern between the crops that by 2028 will see 91.5 million acres of soybeans and 87.5 million of corn.
Universities and companies such as Corteva AgriScience in Delaware continue developing hybrids of crops such as soybeans as a means of helping to improve yields.
A new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement offers a safer way for Mexicans to cross the border to apply for H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker program to fill farming jobs.
Robots and fleets that harvest crops and can help alleviate farm labor shortages are meanwhile being slowly introduced, as are fully autonomous hydroponics farms such as those that some anticipate will ultimately be located in grocery stores.
Drones that spray and fertilize crops with precision, saving unnecessary financial and environmental costs, are expected to experience growth for the next several years.
Farms have also begun installing technologies such as moisture sensors that track the soil, send the results to a computer and then tell a farm’s pump-filled drip irrigation system when it needs supply water.
Weather during the growing and harvest season is more difficult to predict.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spring forecast is so far uncertain, but the agency in its winter outlook anticipates above average Northern U.S. temperatures into February. The climate is also expected to be dry as a result of warming El Nino sea surface temperatures in the south, according to NOAA.
Winter storms, determined by the large scale movement of air that carries warmth over the earth, depends upon wind circulation caused by the rotating earth as well as air that sinks into the ocean and rises.
When warm and cold air at the sea surface meet in the cold polar region the pressure, if it is low, can steer ocean storms north whereas stronger pressure drives the storms south.
Delaware growers and Dominion Energy in Virginia are expected to continue making strides toward installing solar energy that helps to curb energy costs, slow warming temperatures and prevent air pollution and ocean acidification.
Dominion is expected to extend a Community Solar option that allows for connecting directly with solar utilities.
Aquaponics, or growing fish indoors with a system of pipes, pumps and filters that feed soilless and peat-grown plants their waste, are forecast to increase into 2023, with the Americas continuing to retain its global industry lead, according to analysts with Europe-based Technavio.
The environmental consciousness is expected to expand also into consumer foods packaging, according to Whole Foods.
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