U of M study: More harvests needed to keep up with future food demand

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This year's harvest is coming to an end in Minnesota.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Monday that the corn harvest advanced four points to 98 percent complete as of Sunday. It is six points ahead of the five-year average of 92 percent for this late in the season.

The growing season got off to a slow start in Minnesota. Even with snow in May and wild temperature and precipitation changes throughout the summer the state is still expecting one of its largest corn and soybean harvests.

Nationwide officials expect the largest corn crop on record, just shy of 14 billion bushels.

Harvest projections have continued to increase, but can they increase enough to keep pace with world demand in the future?

The Minnesota Daily reports that a new study conducted by the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment finds that farmers around the world should cultivate their lands more frequently to meet the predicted growth in food demand.

The study's lead author, Deepak Ray said, "Farmers are already harvesting their land more frequently, but it could move even faster."

While, that may not be the case in Minnesota or other parts of the midwest at this point, Ray said there are other parts of the world could be more efficient.

Ray said countries with tropical climates, like Indonesia and Brazil would benefit the most from the study's suggestions. Those countries often face financial restrictions and can't afford roads to transport crops, which keeps farmers there from growing more often. Ray says farmers in those areas could harvest their crops three times as often as they currently do.

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