Global grain production to hit record 2.4 billion tons

US corn yields down, global yields still up over 2011

Global grain production is expected to hit a record 2.4 billion tons in 2012, up 1 percent from 2011 numbers, according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute‘s Nourishing the Planet project.

Grain production for animal feed is growing the fastest, a 2.1 percent increase from 2011, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Grain for direct human consumption grew 1.1 percent. In 2011, the amount of grain used for food totaled 571 million tons, with India consuming 89 million tons, China 87 million tons and the U.S. 28 million tons, according to the International Grains Council.

U.S. corn yields are expected to decrease 13 percent from 2011 numbers due to the worst drought in 50 years, to 274.3 million tons, but global production will still be up 4.1 percent, to 916 million tons in 2012, according to the FAO. Global rice production hit an all-time high of 480 million tons in 2011, a 2.6 percent increase from 2010 numbers. Wheat production, however, is projected to drop to 675.1 million tons in 2012, down 3.6 percent from 2011, according to the report.

“The relationship between food security, grain production and climate change is especially important in 2012,” said report co-author Danielle Nierenberg, a Worldwatch senior researcher and Nourishing the Planet project director. “The recent drought affecting the United States and the rest of the world show the need to reduce price volatility, move away from fossil fuel-based agriculture and recognize the importance of women farmers to increase resilience to climate change.”