Current Marketing Thoughts
Kevin Van Trump
Kevin Van Trump has over 20 years of experience in the grain and livestock industry.
Japanese Food, Milk and Water Contaminated
Mar 21, 2011
I just wanted to update you guys on what’s on deck for this week in the Ag markets. Traders will continue to monitor "money flow" based on emotions rather than supply and demand factors. The markets will eagerly be awaiting any news and confirmation of Chinese corn buying and additional information pertaining to quality concerns for Brazilian beans. There is also some talk that the Argentine truck drivers strike could have some affects on the trade if it continues for any length of time. Completely unpredictable global events including a potential nuclear disaster in Japan and the military air strikes on Libya will keep most of the big boys on edge. With both positive and negatives coming out of Japan, the market sill remains extremely nervous. The word out of Japan is that two of the six nuclear reactors in question have seen their situation improve. However, problems at one reactor has now escalated, and we are hearing more reports of nuclear contaminated milk, some food varieties and even water. Some of the world's largest banks now believe it will take Japan close to 5 years to rebuild. I wanted to share a little more insight into how this nuclear radiation is affecting their food and water supply...
Radioactive Food, Milk and Water Now Showing Up In Japan
Japanese officials are now reporting that levels of radioactive iodine in milk has been found in four locations that ranged from about 20% over the acceptable limit to more than 17 times that limit. Testing at one location also found levels of cesium about 5% over the acceptable limit. Tests at 10 locations found iodine levels in spinach that ranged from 5% over acceptable limits to more than 27 times that ceiling. At seven sites, levels of cesium grew from just above 4% to nearly four times the limit. What we need to realize is the iodine and cesium are both byproducts of the nuclear reactor problems. From what I am told iodine 131 has a radioactive half-life of just around eight days, so hopefully that problem can be rectified. On the other hand the cesium-137's half-life is thought to be about 30 years. That could be a big problem. If you recall, after the nuclear plant disaster in Chernobyl in the Soviet Union, tons of food had to be destroyed when radioactive debris spread throughout parts of the country. The Fukushima area is northeast of Tokyo, and contains Japan's fourth-largest amount of farmland and ranks among its top producer of fruits, vegetables and rice. Ibaraki, which is just south of Fukushima, supplies Tokyo with a significant amount of their fruits and vegetables and is Japan's third-largest pork producer. We need to keep our eye on this situation in order to see just how much of Japan's production will need to be destroyed and later replaced.
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*** We had a great time at our 1st annual Marketing Rally in Kansas City this past week. It was a great exchange of information and many helpful thoughts. DVD's of the event are available, call the office for details if you are interested