World Grain - November 2020 - 6

FROM THE EDITOR

Changing climate shifts
soybean production to Siberia

W

hen one thinks of Russia's Siberian territory, the image of
frozen, snow-covered tundra
comes to mind. Yet, in 2020, Siberia recorded its warmest spring and summer
on record, with temperatures reaching
100 degrees Fahrenheit on June 19. It
was an ominous climate change-related
development in many ways as permafrost declined at an alarming rate, a
record number of wildfires broke out
and the area was riddled with the worst
pest invasion in years. However, there
appears to be a silver lining for Russian agriculture.
Russia, a country that has transformed
itself from a net grain importer 30 years
ago to the largest wheat exporter in the
world in recent years, stands to gain a
considerable amount of arable ground if
this warming trend in Siberia continues.
Some projections show that warming
may increase Russia's wheat-suitable land
by as much as 4.3-million square kilometers in its northern regions. This could
mean more wheat available on the global
market, but that assumes Russia will be
a consistent grain exporter in good times
and bad. The country has a spotty track
record in that regard, as it has been known
to limit exports not only when domestic
stockpiles are low but also for political leverage, so it begs the question: Will having Russia, which is expected to control
20% of the world's grain export markets
by 2028, controlling more of the world's
wheat output be a positive development?
Even more intriguing and hard to
fathom than the prospect of expanded
wheat acreage is the potential for Russia to increase its soybean output with
increased acreage on the vast plains of
northern Russia.
China, locked in a trade war with the
United States, traditionally its largest
soybean supplier, already has purchased
6

WG_Nov20.indb 6

EDITORIAL STAFF

land in Eastern Russia to plant and harvest soybeans. Nearly 400,000 hectares
of land in Russia is leased or owned by
companies with Chinese capital, according to calculations by BBC Russian.
In the near term, Russia will not be
a threat to the United States and Brazil
soybean producers in terms of Chinese
market share. Soybean quality and logistical issues currently prevent Russia
from capturing anything but a small
slice of the Chinese market. But if the
warming trend continues and more acres
become available in Siberia, it could tip
the scales toward more investment in
agronomics and logistics in that region,
which over time could make Russia an
attractive supplier to neighboring China.
This shift northward of what were
previously considered "southern" crops
is occurring in all parts of the world.
In Canada, for instance, nearly 6 million acres of soybeans were planted in
2019, more than double what had been
planted prior to 2009. In Central Russia, the increase in soybean acreage has
been 18-fold over the last decade. Even
if a large export market doesn't develop
for Russian soybeans, domestic demand
for soybean-based feed is growing in the
country's expanding livestock sector.
Much like it was determined to become the global leader in wheat exports,
Russia, which is forecast to rank seventh
in soybean production
in 2020-21 with about
four times its production amount a decade
earlier, appears poised
to become a bigger player in the global
soybean market, thanks to an assist from
climate change.
Arvin Donley
Editor

Editor	
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WORLD GRAIN (ISSN 0745-8991) Volume 38, issue 11,

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November 2020 / World Grain / www.World-Grain.com

11/2/2020 4:07:04 PM


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World Grain - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - November 2020

World Grain - November 2020 - 1
World Grain - November 2020 - 1
World Grain - November 2020 - 2
World Grain - November 2020 - 3
World Grain - November 2020 - 4
World Grain - November 2020 - 5
World Grain - November 2020 - 6
World Grain - November 2020 - 7
World Grain - November 2020 - 8
World Grain - November 2020 - 9
World Grain - November 2020 - 10
World Grain - November 2020 - 11
World Grain - November 2020 - 12
World Grain - November 2020 - 13
World Grain - November 2020 - 14
World Grain - November 2020 - 15
World Grain - November 2020 - 16
World Grain - November 2020 - 17
World Grain - November 2020 - 18
World Grain - November 2020 - 19
World Grain - November 2020 - 20
World Grain - November 2020 - 21
World Grain - November 2020 - 22
World Grain - November 2020 - 23
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World Grain - November 2020 - 38
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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_01_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_10_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_08_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_06_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_04_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_02_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_10_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_07_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_04_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_03_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_02_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_12_01
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