Mercaris report details how cold and wet spring affected certified organic crop operations; prepares industry for 2019 harvest risks
Published: August 2, 2019
Category: Market News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Less than 3 percent of U.S. organic field crop acres were located in areas impacted by this spring’s most significant flooding; organic acres still reduced by the rainy spring
Mercaris, the market data and online trading platform supporting the growth of organic and non-GMO agriculture in the U.S., recently released a Spring Planting Special Report.
The report focuses specifically on organic agriculture and details how organic field crop acreage has been impacted by unprecedented cold and wet springtime weather this year, limiting farm management options. Certified organic farmers must manage cover crops, adjust specifically planned crop rotations and plan for upcoming organic livestock fodder demands.
Using a combination of precision mapping, farmer surveys, and interviews, Mercaris created a comprehensive picture detailing the impacts of flooding and precipitation on planted organic acreage, particularly in the Midwest. Additionally, the report analyzes how organic growers are using tools like crop insurance and alternative cropping techniques in order to cope with losses this season.
To gain an understanding of the impact of flooding on organic crop acres, Mercaris mapped the concentration of certified organic field crop farms per zip code along with flood stage data acquired from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Through this analysis, Mercaris found that less than 3 percent of U.S. organic field crop acres were located in areas impacted by this spring’s most significant flooding. While organic farmers were found to be less impacted directly by flooding, Mercaris found that organic growers were still affected by above average precipitation.
To enhance the data presented in this special report, Mercaris conducted a survey of farmers and found that a significant percentage of organic farmers will be filing a Prevented Planting insurance claim this year. The majority of farmers surveyed also indicated they will be adjusting their corn and soybean planting decisions; however, an overwhelming majority still plan to plant at least some acres with a fall harvested cash crop. Overall, certified acres do appear to have been reduced by the spring weather, but a shift toward organic cover crops will help limit the overall reduction in planted organic acres. With reduced planting as well as a likely reduction in yields, the organic supply chain will be impacted through the next year.
“This year’s unprecedented cold, wet weather shows the need for analysis that specifically focuses on organic agriculture,” said Kellee James, Mercaris founder and chief executive officer. “Organic agriculture is dynamic and growing, but still a smaller-volume supply chain. As such, disruptions can have an outsized impact. Organic growers’ options are sometimes more complex than those of conventional growers. Because of that, I’m extremely pleased we’re able to provide meaningful, up-to-date information to organic farmers so they can better prepare for current and future harvests. Sharing valuable and timely information such as this is why Mercaris exists.”
To learn more about Mercaris research and market insights, visit www.mercaris.com.