Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The art of opportunism

"From dust bowls in Australia to drought-hit regions in the U.S., Africa, Asia and the Mideast, growing areas are drying out, helping push crop prices to record highs.

Wheat prices topped $9 a bushel for the first time Wednesday, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said strong global demand and tight supplies will push U.S. stockpiles to a 33-year low.

U.S. crop-year-ending stocks of wheat are forecast to fall to 362 million metric tons in 2007-08 vs. 456 million a year earlier.

Some blame bad farming. Others cite climate changes that reduce rainfall and raise temperatures.

The good news is that big agribusiness players such as Monsanto, (MON) DuPont (DD) and Novartis (NVS) are using genetic engineering to produce drought-resistant crops — including corn and grain — that grow on far less water than regular strains."

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