Posted: August 19, 2014
Source: Earth Policy Release
With grain providing much of the calories that sustain humanity, the status of the world grain harvest is a good indicator of the adequacy of the food supply.
More than 2 billion tons of grain are produced each year worldwide, nearly half of it in just three countries: China, the United States, and India.
Corn, wheat, and rice account for most of the world’s grain harvest. Whereas rice and most wheat are consumed directly as food, corn is largely used for livestock and poultry feed, and for industrial purposes.
Global grain consumption has exceeded production in 8 of the last 14 years, leading to a drawdown in reserves.
Population growth is the oldest source of increasing grain demand. In recent years, the annual growth in grain use has doubled, largely a result of increased use for fuel ethanol and livestock and poultry feed.
In 2013, the United States harvested more than 400 million tons of grain. Of this, 129 million tons (30 percent) went to ethanol distilleries.