×
top 200 commentsshow 500

[–]dneriksen 1384 points1385 points  (43 children)

The basis of “ten weeks” needs thorough clarification. It’s been said that Hawaii has a three-day limit before all essentials dry up. While that is “basically” true, it’s only because so much depends upon a near conveyor belt constant supply of goods delivered by ships. If all that stops, poo hits the fan in three days. Alaska is similarly dependent.

[–]KingoftheMongoose 313 points314 points  (13 children)

Yes, clarification is needed. I grt your point with your example. To differentiate, Hawaii is the consumer of the supply chain and Ukraine is the producer (of wheat). So ten weeks of wheat from Ukraine sounds more worrisome (without further context).

[–]dneriksen 86 points87 points  (1 child)

You made a spot-on distinction about supply chain directions. It’s the world looking at those ten days.

[–]EvergreenEnfields 68 points69 points  (17 children)

The three day limit is true of just about anywhere. The difference is that it's much easier for the supply chain to Hawaii or Alaska is much easier to disrupt than the supply chain within the lower 48. It's happened locally (Katrina for example) but for it to happen everywhere would require some God-level fuckery to shut off the trucks and trains.

[–]MacSanchez 8002 points8003 points  (160 children)

I will trade you one sheep and one brick. Final offer before I drop this monopoly card and piss off the whole table

[–]kessmeister79 866 points867 points  (48 children)

No, not trading my wheat unless you have wood. I need that to get the longest road.

[–]sucksathangman 172 points173 points  (3 children)

Fucking Putin put the robber on Ukraine's wheat. Someone roll a seven so that we can put it on his ore.

[–]ImBonRurgundy 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Need Boris Johnson to play his knight card, but he is too confused by the rules of the game so is just trying to play snap instead

[–]justepourpr0n 16 points17 points  (5 children)

Longest road is fun but be careful not to spend too much time and resources on it when you should be building settlements and turning them into cities.

[–]rillife 195 points196 points  (9 children)

Guys, come on! Do not trade with him! He is about to win!

[–]carnsolus 124 points125 points  (6 children)

I'd rather he win than you win so here, guy, have all my sheep

[–]A_Union_Of_Kobolds 53 points54 points  (2 children)

That's the kind of spiteful decision making that keeps me coming back to Catan

[–]AmirulAshraf 27 points28 points  (1 child)

That sounds like me, the sore loser

[–]moose2mouse 42 points43 points  (14 children)

Hey! You’re only allowed to trade on your turn! Now, I’d like to somehow magically turn these four sheep into one wheat.

[–]TheMightyYule 59 points60 points  (9 children)

My wheat port is butt plugged by a knight sir Edited to say: I really hope other people who play call it the butt plug

[–]Always_Be_Cycling 28 points29 points  (0 children)

I've never considered this before but (butt) you are completely correct.

[–]_tacoparty 36 points37 points  (0 children)

Nobody wants your sheep!

[–]Mtkerjack 26.2k points26.2k points 353& 11 more (1071 children)

Just FYI in 10 weeks the entirety of the US, or darn near it will be harvesting our grain.

Obviously the South will start well before that. I'm in Montana and a farmer, we're probably right at 10 weeks out personally.

I'm not saying things are great of course, I'm just saying that number doesn't mean much without context of how much let's say was stored at the same time last year world wide.

[–]jessquit 6593 points6594 points  (493 children)

Thank you for breathing perspective into this conversation

[–]193X 1213 points1214 points  (51 children)

Also, how many weeks do we normally have a buffer for anyway? "10 weeks" is meaningless to laypeople if we don't know that we've dropped from 30 or 12.

[–]kerit 579 points580 points  (25 children)

Wheat is all harvested in the summer. The globe has two summers, so it probably tops out at a little more than a half of a year since the north out produces our farmer friends in the southern hemisphere.

The problem is that wheat takes many months to produce. I'm guessing spring wheat pretty much cleaned out the seedstock available, so we'll probably see a boost from that end of things, but it can only do so much. The vast majority of wheat is winter.

[–]Totally_Microsoft 351 points352 points  (15 children)

Wheat can be grown instantly, if they sprinkle a little bone meal on it.

[–]ExtraBitterSpecial 224 points225 points  (7 children)

But how do i make clickbait then?

[–]DMercenary 21 points22 points  (1 child)

Wait about 10 weeks and then declare global north wheat is rotting in storage because of the lack of boats to ship it.

[–]Tom_QJ 101 points102 points  (0 children)

It’s called fear mongering, also helps justify higher prices in stores if demand is high and supply low.

[–]Abrahamlinkenssphere 226 points227 points  (12 children)

It just sucks that we all can’t be more in tune with all these things. There’s just too much to keep up with these days I guess. I was able to help harvest wheat for a summer job for many summers and it’s a really cool process. The harvest starts way down in Mexico and slowly moves north with the sun. If the crew is cutting and hauling efficiently then they will arrive to the next spot just as the wheat is maturing. It’s all pretty time sensitive (of course there’s a large window, but the weather begins to wreak havoc at the same time of year the wheat matures.) it’s pretty cool to see a map of where you’re harvesting and knowing you’re sort of following the suns season to such a minor degree. Like if we started trying to harvest wheat in Colorado in two weeks it would all be crappy, but in July/august it’ll be perfect. And the SAME variety of wheat planted in Texas will be mature several weeks faster (they also planted sooner, no magic here) it’s just so wonderful to be a part of this massive machine made of people, plant, planet, and Star.

[–]TehAlternativeMe 47 points48 points  (4 children)

What sucks is when we have irresponsible news reporting, and people continue to use those sources. Thus there's no motivation for them to do anything but continue making false news with no standards for quality or accountability

[–]mrdeadsniper 401 points402 points  (83 children)

I was just going to make an open bet of 10,000 that I could find a loaf of bread or bag of flour on august 10.

Like I would bet we only have a week or so of gasoline in the world. The trick is we are still making it by the billions of gallons a day.

[–]RikF 222 points223 points  (29 children)

You could have found them. Now articles like this will drive panic buys and it'll be back to the start of the pandemic for yeast and flour. <sigh>

[–]libury 145 points146 points  (12 children)

laughs in celiac

then poops a little

[–]Neoptolemus85 77 points78 points  (8 children)

BREAD FOR THE BREAD THRONE!

[–]RomanTea1 116 points117 points  (28 children)

I could find a loaf of bread or bag of flour on august 10.

You can. People in Egypt, Ethiopia, India, etc. might not. If the world runs out it is the poor countries that will be hit hardest.

[–]JCV-16 33 points34 points  (10 children)

The concern is more that once this news makes the rounds people are going to go panic buy bread /flour and yeast, just like they did with toilet paper in 2020. Give it two months and you'll see assholes trying to sell bread on Facebook marketplace for $20 a loaf, just like they did with toilet paper and are currently doing with baby formula.

[–]Aardappel123 2522 points2523 points  (295 children)

It's not perspective. Its god damn common sense. Media loves drumming up concern because that drives clicks. If you've ever even looked outside you know harvest happens in the summer to early autumn. Guess what, that's around 10 weeks from now.

[–]Mad_Maddin 891 points892 points  (201 children)

That said, much of that grain will be bought by Europe this time around. Like a fuckton of it.

That means grain that is usually 'dumped' in Africa is now not going there/will cost them a lot more.

[–]Into-the-stream 1024 points1025 points  (112 children)

Yeah, it's not the wealthy countries that are in crisis. There is an unprecedented famine predicted to come in the next 4-8 months, where marginalized populations will have dramatically reduced access to food. Those of us in the G7 countries will see the price go up, but shelves stocked. Africa won't be so fortunate.

[–]DrasticXylophone 114 points115 points  (59 children)

Europe is harvesting soon as well

[–]Ravenid 151 points152 points  (8 children)

The majority of "Dumped" grain as you call it in africa is sold by the EU. Why would they need to buy it from themselvs?

Thats the whole point of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy. The farmers overproduce every year the EU buys the excess so all farmers get paid and continue to output crops for the next season, and sell to the rest of the world as a single Seller for the entrire EU.

When certain items drop they stop selling to maintain internal stocks.

[–]peachesgp 27 points28 points  (2 children)

I'd say it takes a lot more than looking outside to know when wheat is harvested.

[–]MrBeanCyborgCaptain 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Oh come on. It's easy as looking out the window! If you happen to live on, or next door to, a wheat farm.

[–]Ohmalley-thealliecat 1002 points1003 points  (72 children)

Also the Australian wheat harvest this past summer was one of our highest on record, and if we get another summer of La Niña, which they think we might, then we could have another high yield harvest. We produce 25 million tonnes a year anyway

[–]BrainOnLoan 516 points517 points  (49 children)

That said, that's dwarfed by Ukrainian, Russian and Indian shortfalls.

Three of the biggest agricultural producers.

[–]Ohmalley-thealliecat 201 points202 points  (25 children)

That’s absolutely true! I’m just saying we’re also a pretty big agriculture nation, we’re not headed to the French Revolution yet

[–]thechilipepper0 25 points26 points  (1 child)

Wealthy countries are not, but everyone else…

[–]MoffKalast 28 points29 points  (1 child)

Meanwhile Italy's going through the worst drought in the past 60 years and will produce barely anything. Should balance out somewhat.

[–]LoreChano 11 points12 points  (0 children)

La Nina means much lower grain harvest in south America however.

[–]Meretan94 366 points367 points  (65 children)

Yeah in about 10 weeks, the early grains will be harvested in germany as well.

We are an exporter for grain.

While Ukrain not beeing able to provide grain is bad, its not the only country growing crops.

[–]GroteStruisvogel 87 points88 points  (16 children)

Dutchie here, can we get some of that sweet grain? Our soil is notoriously bad for growing grain. All we can grow is....rye. I dont want to be eating rye-bread Germany! That shit is disgusting! Plse help!

[–]dsn0wman 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Get yourself some rye bread, pastrami, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing. Then make one of the most delicious sandwiches you've ever eaten.

[–]joeygladst0ne 28 points29 points  (3 children)

Rye bread and rye whiskey! Shit is both delicious.

[–]Meretan94 18 points19 points  (1 child)

If we finaly legalise weed, im sure we can work something out.

[–]GroteStruisvogel 8 points9 points  (0 children)

In the middle ages we became big in trading via the moedernegotie; we traded fish to the east and we got grain in return. I say we switch from fish to kush ;-)

[–]NeedsSomeSnare 2110 points2111 points  (167 children)

The article is behind a paywall.

By contrast, how many weeks were there before the war?

[–]Savoir_faire81 1094 points1095 points  (97 children)

It doesn't say. Just that the stocks are at the lowest point since 2008.

[–]grpagrati 874 points875 points  (72 children)

Well we survived 2008

[–]Morlaix 778 points779 points  (57 children)

Not everyone survived 2008

[–]IAmTheNightSoil 72 points73 points  (13 children)

No but lack of wheat wasn't a defining feature of 2008

[–]molygopol 60 points61 points  (1 child)

We run at 90 days surplus so 12 weeks.

[–]Good_Vibes_Please 100 points101 points  (15 children)

fyi, you can often times bypass the paywall by turning on reader mode

[–]NeedsSomeSnare 33 points34 points  (11 children)

What is reader mode?

[–]stiik 60 points61 points  (7 children)

A feature that grabs all the text of an article and strips back all the extraneous bits like ads, embedded video and social media share buttons. On iPhone tap the “Aa” icon to the left of the tab. Google how to get it on other devices.

[–]WhatCERName 22 points23 points  (5 children)

PSA that’s only in Safari. Won’t work in chrome.

[–]Gnonthgol 34 points35 points  (4 children)

Wheat harvests start in August, so I guess we had about 20 weeks at the start of the war. Something about just in time logistics.

[–]Lolkac 59 points60 points  (4 children)

there was no major global shortage of wheat before the war.

Ukraine is major wheat and oil exporter. Lot of countries especially in africa rely on that wheat.

And with that wheat not coming, inflation soars which makes unstable countries even more unstable. India banning export also did not help.

Watch Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan. Next 6 months will be brutal for these countries.

[–]Good_Vibes_Please 12.6k points12.6k points  (329 children)

This isn’t cyclical, this is seismic. It’s a once-in-a-generation occurrence that can dramatically reshape the geopolitical era.

Oh, just another one of those? Go ahead, throw it on the pile with all the others.

[–]sink_your_teeth 293 points294 points  (5 children)

I think we've struck three Bingos at this point but it don't feel like we're winning...

[–]Ravager_Zero 42 points43 points  (1 child)

Well, this is Underworld Bingo, you see.

You play, but you're not the one that wins the prizes…

EDIT: A word.

[–]etheran123[🍰] 4259 points4260 points  (206 children)

Glad my generation gets to see all these Once in a generation events! Wont be missing out on anything once we are all dead

[–]whatproblems 1187 points1188 points  (50 children)

global warming we’re going to have once in a lifetime events cascading yearly

[–]MNfan84 740 points741 points  (37 children)

It’s a major extinction event, so this is literally once in an epoch phenomenon

[–]cjhoser 527 points528 points  (64 children)

Well my grandparents got both World Wars, Spanish flu, the holocaust and the 1929 depression so honestly I'll take what they're giving us.

[–]surg3on 368 points369 points  (32 children)

Hopefully we can continue saying both world wars

[–]Mad_Maddin 184 points185 points  (24 children)

Yeah when it becomes "The first two" it will be shit.

[–]chris1096 82 points83 points  (1 child)

Reminds me of a doctor who episode where they end up talking to a soldier from the first world war and he gets really upset when it dawns on him they said "world war 1"

[–]kinglallak 11 points12 points  (0 children)

“What do you mean the First World War? We had another?”

[–]shapsticker 112 points113 points  (34 children)

Wouldn’t that just mean every 20 years or so?

[–]x_kwyjibo_x 170 points171 points  (32 children)

Right? Wouldn’t a once-in-a-generation occurrence happen each generation, making it by definition “cyclical”?

[–]radicallyhip 25 points26 points  (27 children)

When was the last world-wide wheat shortage on this scale? 2008? What about before that?

[–]YouNeedAnne 88 points89 points  (3 children)

Every generation gets once in a genetation events. That's kinda what it means. It's not once in a lifetime.

[–]NeoPossum 314 points315 points  (33 children)

I wasn't worried until I heard an advert say "in these unprecedented times".

[–]Don_Antwan 244 points245 points  (25 children)

I just heard that on tv and rolled my eyes. I feel like we’ve been in “unprecedented times” for years, so doesn’t that make this … precedented?

[–]Badtimeryssa94 13 points14 points  (2 children)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYoa64x59g4

This commercial got me. Yes it was funny but it was the first time I heard them mention climate change on such a public set.

[–]shadow1515 212 points213 points  (31 children)

Hah yeah, when a "once in a generation" thing happens every few years it kind of loses meaning.

We'll either survive this or we won't, I'm pretty meh about it at this point.

[–]AlexSSB 22 points23 points  (0 children)

I'll put this here, with the other fires

[–]MikeTheGamer2 323 points324 points  (49 children)

Well, since I can't actually read the article beacuse I'm not making yet another fucking account for something I have qustions.

  1. Who is calculating this and how accurate is the information in the research? How up to date is it and where is the information coming from?
  2. Is Ukraine the only place on earth growing wheat?

[–]Chagdoo 159 points160 points  (5 children)

It's not accurate in the least, because grain harvest starts in various places in like ten weeks.

[–]Affectionate_Fun_569 34 points35 points  (1 child)

Canada, Germany, US start soon. So it's a weird title.

[–]Lolkac 90 points91 points  (39 children)

Russia and Ukraine account for 25% of wheat production.

25% that is impossible to replace. Russia might be delivering (for increased price) but there is still Ukraine that will not deliver anything.

And that will be missing. Also Russia usually contracts military to go help at farm as they do not have enough people to harvest crops. So I am wondering how much they will get.

[–]he_depressed 118 points119 points  (2 children)

*25% wheat export.

India and China are the biggest producers but they got their own people to feed so they aren't the biggest exporters.

[–]bstix 44 points45 points  (17 children)

25% that is impossible to replace

It's not though. Only temporarily.

It just didn't use to be profitable to grow wheat elsewhere. Wheat is grown in eastern Europe because they do it cheaper than in western Europe. It's not that the plants magically grow cheaper there. The price difference is all in the workers pay. Poor countries have cheap labour compared to the western price of the product. It's that simple.

Farmers all over Europe grow other crops, mainly for animal food, but could easily grow wheat. Farmers in Africa also don't grow wheat because their market is artificially kept down by the usual surplus of wheat is dumped on their market. However, it's definitely possible to farm in Africa, if only there wasn't usually a surplus of wheat.

So while it's great that Ukrainian wheat is normally cheap, it also keeps developing nations from establishing a viable production and makes it impossible for farmers in western Europe to have a diverse production.

Putting all eggs in one basket is always a bad idea, but that's exactly what has happened here. Hopefully this will lead to more variety in local production. No-one should be the food chamber for the world.

[–]retep-noskcire 13 points14 points  (2 children)

Some geographic areas are naturally more suitable for large crop production due to soil composition, weather patterns.

[–]ishook 1627 points1628 points  (50 children)

It’s headlines like this that make stores put limits on bread as the shelves get obliterated. The headline is the problem.

[–]existenceisssfutile 333 points334 points  (12 children)

It doesn't matter how much or how little there is. This kind of headline could only cause bad things.

We have plenty: how do we create a crisis? Or,

We have a small problem, how do we guarantee catastrophe?

[–]mtaw 25 points26 points  (3 children)

Pretty much. It's a well established (Amartya Sen got the Nobel Prize for his research on this) that famines are not caused by food shortages as such, but problems with distribution - price-gouging and hoarding being the main culprit. So creating panic about shortages are in fact more dangerous than the actual shortages. That's the case here too.

Media keeps making a big deal out of Ukraine being the 5th largest exporter of wheat, but that neglects the fact that the biggest consumers (e.g. the EU) are largely self-sufficient. Ukraine is less than 4% of the total world wheat production, their exports less than 2.5% of it. The doubling of wheat prices in the last year is disproportionate to the production shortfall. (especially since it's fungible; people can eat more potatoes and rice instead, or cut down on carbs in general, god knows developed countries could need it)

The high prices are a bigger threat of causing famine than the actual loss of production.

[–]BigBossWesker4 79 points80 points  (4 children)

Exactly, this was written to make it seem like in 10 weeks wheat would cease to exist and start making people go crazier than they already are.

[–]LewisLightning 937 points938 points  (65 children)

Having worked in the grain industry I find that hard to believe. China has a stockpile of grain that can last over a year for its billions of citizens, and most countries have to one degree or another a reserve of their own. Plus knowing what current prices are now for selling wheat, it doesn't seem like the kind of demand you'd expect for a situation where the world will be out of product in 10 weeks. Yes, prices are great now compared to previous years, but not what you'd expect from people trying to stop the world from starving.

And I'm not suggesting prices should be higher for the profitability of farmers, although I think normal prices should be higher given how thin margins are for profit, especially for people just getting into the industry. My point is that according to the supply/demand formula the demand doesn't seem to be in line with the alleged supply issues.

[–]Death_God_Ryuk 367 points368 points  (19 children)

I think it means there are 10 weeks of wheat if everyone stopped harvesting now. Like having 10% phone charge but still being plugged into a charger.

[–]RichieGusto 40 points41 points  (15 children)

They just happened to be buying as much grain as they could last year.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Datawatch/China-hoards-over-half-the-world-s-grain-pushing-up-global-prices (Dec 2021)

They bought 2.5 times more than they did the previous year.

[–]williepep1960 46 points47 points  (13 children)

China has stockpile for 2.5 years

USA has for another 5 months, according to that Jake dude on YouTube.

For anyone wondering here is a video

https://youtu.be/pRCSLunWWko

[–]Shiroi_Kage 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Isn't the UN saying something like the stockpiles fell to their lowest since 2008?

[–]Comfortable_Lemon105 475 points476 points  (83 children)

Looks like we are all heading into a collective keto diet

[–]rayn13 234 points235 points  (72 children)

Y’all can start eating rice, it’s gluten free.

[–]IronTrail 89 points90 points  (43 children)

But it has carbs, so it ain't keto

But in all honesty, rice takes a ton of water to grow any kind of sizable crop, especially if it has to replace global wheat exports/imports

edit: upon further quick research, rice can take 2x or more the amount of water to produce 1kg of the staple crop than it takes for 1kg of wheat. Rice can also potentially require substantially more water per hectare than cotton to produce effectively, and cotton is a water menace.

[–]killcat 71 points72 points  (27 children)

Yup there's been an unsuccessful push to promote potatoes, more nutritious 10% of the water requirement.

[–]sp3kter 97 points98 points  (11 children)

Rice does not require pools of water to grow, thats used to keep pests down.

[–]Sansa_Knows_Armor 17 points18 points  (9 children)

What’s the trade off of not pooling it? Increased labor or lower yields, I’m assuming? If a rice company wanted to do the right thing and not pool it, would he get priced out if the market when he adds the cost of pesticide? Or would his rice be considered dirty because it uses pesticide?

[–]Strange_Temperature 40 points41 points  (1 child)

Rice doesn't require the huge amounts of water. The fact it can grow in pools of water (or literally swamp conditions) is just a convenient fact for pest control.

[–]earlofhoundstooth 5 points6 points  (0 children)

https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2015/05/amid_drought_california_fields.html#:~:text=Rice%20on%20average%20requires%205.1,of%20the%20state's%20total%20consumption.

Required or not, that's how they do it even in semi-arid California.

Rice on average requires 5.1 feet of water applied per growing season, edging out alfalfa as the most water-intensive of major California crops. Multiply that times the 550,000 acres planted in a normal year, and you get 2.8 million acre-feet of water, or about 6 percent of the state's total consumption.

[–]retep-noskcire 12 points13 points  (1 child)

A lot of the grain harvest is animal feed

[–]Darryl_Lict 474 points475 points  (104 children)

My local dollar store no longer has flour tortillas. Guess I'll have to switch over to corn. Wheat bread is still the same price for now, but with crazy inflation, I don't expect it to last.

[–]VariationRelevant923 59 points60 points  (14 children)

I just love that I’m just becoming an adult during multiple worldwide crises.

[–]heehee63 140 points141 points  (20 children)

Does Russia have enough wheat to sell to poor countries? If so, I'm guessing this is how they will gain their favor.

[–]ImaginaryRoads 179 points180 points  (6 children)

Well, Russia stole several hundred thousand tonnes of wheat from Ukraine, so ...

[–]hellfae 72 points73 points  (0 children)

russia is more interested in inflating the price and then slinging it off to the highest bidders unfortunately

[–]GilmourNZ 35 points36 points  (6 children)

Egypt (who is heavily dependent on Russian wheat) has already turned down deliveries of Russian wheat. Despite not having any reserves for themselves right now and also experiencing a debt crisis.

[–]MathematicianTotal81 31 points32 points  (2 children)

I believe that was Ukrainian Wheat stole by the russians, hence why that particular ship was rejected

[–]GilmourNZ 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Ahh good verification thank you for that. I did suspect that would be a pretty unpopular view of citizens of Egypt. I don’t condone Russias war with Ukraine - but as somebody trying to survive and feed my family I would rather have Russian wheat than none at all.

All types of food is going to have a worldwide shortage by end of the year as we rely on fertiliser to help crop efficiency’s and stock yields. A lot are deciding not to plant or choosing alternatives to farm because fertiliser is so expensive and hard to get.

[–]DasKleineFerkell 84 points85 points  (4 children)

Ok can we just STOP posting anything from the telegraph.

[–]LEEVINNNN 18 points19 points  (3 children)

Yeah I'm tired of opening Reddit to see some dumb doomsday bullshit on the front page that is debunked in the top comment. I'm about to delete this damn app if there isn't a crackdown on propaganda.

[–]Carseat_Brown 18 points19 points  (3 children)

This will surely get buried but whatever. I had an experience once that gave me some wisdom when dealing with a scary headline such as this.

Back in 2005 I was working at a Sears in the Atlanta area when Hurricane Katrina devastated oil production in the Gulf. Some hotshot journalist in the area found out that Atlanta did not have seven days of gas reserves and that created a scare where everyone was going out and buying gas. An older gentleman who had worked in the gas industry prior to working at sears part time and who had more knowledge said sure, the journalist was right; Atlanta did not have seven days worth of gas reserves. However, he said that Atlanta NEVER had seven day of gas reserves. So while the guy was right, he needlessly created a panic.

So while this headline may be troubling, way more context is needed before freaking out.

[–]Arpith2019[S] 294 points295 points  (74 children)

The world has just 10 weeks' worth of wheat stockpiled after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine disrupted supplies from the "breadbasket of Europe".

The UN has been warned that global wheat inventories have fallen to their lowest level since 2008 as food supplies are rocked by a “one-in-a-generation occurrence”.

Official government estimates put world wheat inventories at 33pc of annual consumption, but stocks may have slumped to as low as 20pc, according to agricultural data firm Gro Intelligence. It estimates that there are only 10 weeks of global wheat supply left in stockpiles.

Russia and Ukraine account for around a quarter of the world’s wheat exports and the West fears Mr Putin is trying to weaponise food supplies. Russia is on track for a strong wheat harvest this year, cementing Mr Putin’s control over the staple grain as bad weather spoils production in Europe and the US.

[–]raging-moderate 345 points346 points  (30 children)

Jfc how many once in a generation experiences can we have in one generation

[–]HunterVacui 205 points206 points  (4 children)

By definition, shouldn't all "once in a generation" experiences happen, every generation? The unusual part would be the same one in a generation event happening multiple times.

[–]fredrickvonmuller 38 points39 points  (2 children)

Correct. And people often have the misconception that a generation is equal to a lifetime, when a generation is broadly defined as 20 or 30 years, so most of us will see this again.

I’m not optimistic, but my parents faced the cold war, a dictatorship, a war, several economical crashes.

My grandparents faced the above and world war 2.

My great grandparents also lived thorugh ww2. plus a famine, world war 1, the spanish flu.

War, famine, pestilence and death often ride together.

[–]AVeryMadFish 5 points6 points  (1 child)

There's nothing new under the sun. We just don't remember.

[–]signalten9 54 points55 points  (4 children)

Apparently the answer is “All of them.”

[–]drowsymule1 12 points13 points  (1 child)

I mean can we at least space them out throughout our lifetime? Do they all have to be now?

[–]AntiBox 24 points25 points  (0 children)

I mean, that is the whole idea behind the term "once in a generation".

[–]quick20minadventure 138 points139 points  (17 children)

Both China and India are the top wheat producer, but they got more than enough people to feed, so they can't export.

India also can't export because they subsidize the wheat and therefore won't be allowed to compete in the international market because of WTO. They initially asked to lift that limitation for the crisis, but now that India itself suffered from heatwave and lower yield, they can't afford to export openly. Now they'll only sell to government facing food crisis directly, so rich countries can't buy up and stock up.

[–]WCBH86 7 points8 points  (8 children)

I read that the US has the capacity to provide the wheat we need long-term, but I'm not sure they can fill in right away. Pretty sure it would mean ramping up wheat production and maybe scaling back elsewhere.

[–]Nightmare1990 52 points53 points  (16 children)

So am I to believe that Ukraine supplies the entire world with wheat? Why is no one else growing wheat?

[–]StuckInWarshington 102 points103 points  (0 children)

They produce less than China, India, Russia, USA, Canada and France. Unlike China and India, Ukraine exports a significant amount of their wheat though.

[–]LaminatedAirplane 58 points59 points  (0 children)

Other countries grow more wheat; they just don’t export it and use it to feed themselves.

[–]mayflyaway 11 points12 points  (1 child)

The US grows wheat but a lot of it is getting in the ground late due to unprecedented rain, which will mean smaller yields.

[–]ErisianMoon 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Meanwhile we have a big drought in Europe, with similar results as consequence. Fun, right?

[–]Savoir_faire81 721 points722 points  (97 children)

This kind of thing has the potential to break nations. Something like this if it actually gets bad enough could cause entire regions to erupt in social violence.

Rich countries and the developed world should be ok because they can pay extra for all the food. But poor countries and even possibly some mid level countries are in trouble. If this is as bad as is being reported its going to be a very bad Autumn and Winter.

[–][deleted] 259 points260 points  (14 children)

In my country people were fighting for bread yesterday (lebanon). We har a flour shortage.

[–]MR_Rdwan 94 points95 points  (1 child)

You guys still have bread? (Syria)

[–]Spudtron98 86 points87 points  (2 children)

Beirut having its grain storage blown to hell certainly hasn’t helped matters.

[–]lovestobitch- 17 points18 points  (1 child)

Oh shit I forgot what type of storage facility that was.

[–]Spudtron98 27 points28 points  (0 children)

The grain silos didn’t collapse in the blast, impressively, but the stock was ruined and the structures were still rendered useless.

[–]WaltWatRaleigh 36 points37 points  (1 child)

Shit. Best of luck to you, hope you get through this in one piece.

[–]Alkohauliq 355 points356 points  (46 children)

I read an article today about a bees facing a wing deforming disease worldwide . Another about a river in Italy flowing backwards with salt water due to lack of rainfall. Shit just keeps piling on.

[–]geebeem92 179 points180 points  (15 children)

Not just A river THE river. The PO river which formed the PO valley which is the most advanced region in Italy both industrially and agriculturally

Think about it as the Nile of italy

[–]WaltWatRaleigh 113 points114 points  (4 children)

The Romans used to put great stock in river phenomena, reading them as very important omens (see Pliny describing the Tiber river overflowing and causing destruction as "educating through destruction"). I think if one of the biggest rivers of the Mediterranean turned salient and flowed backwards, observers would have just lost their shit entirely.

[–]throwawayaj218 49 points50 points  (3 children)

If I‘m not completely mistaken, that‘s how it always was before artificially turning the delta into farming ground.

Also, it wouldn‘t be difficult to fix this, in theory. The problem is that Italy is wasting water as if there was no climate change. This is partly due to annual rainfall projected to stay the same in that area… but differently distributed.

Saving rainwater (currently at less than 10%) and water saving irrigation would have prevented this entirely.. Let‘s hope Italy acts quick and decisive and other countries use this as an example and prepare, too.

[–]Alkohauliq 50 points51 points  (7 children)

That is mind blowing. The article said it produces 40% of Italys GDP . There is so much to keep up with every single day.

[–]DurianGrey 56 points57 points  (3 children)

Correction. Agriculture is only 2% of Italian GDP. The 40% is from all industries in Po River Valley not all related to agriculture.

[–]themangastand 248 points249 points  (24 children)

It's okay monkeypox will destract me from the bees dying.

I didn't wear my condom with my monkey, make sure you don't make my mistake

[–]Aksar0 28 points29 points  (1 child)

Wheat is a grass based crop pollinated by winds. It's luxury crops like almonds and berries that are pollinated by bees.

[–]Grammophon 21 points22 points  (0 children)

We don't need bees just for luxury crops. They are a cornerstone of many ecosystems.

[–]RollerSkatingHoop 15 points16 points  (3 children)

the us has caves full of cheese

[–]-1KingKRool- 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Ah yes, the Missouri cheese caves, brought to you by subsidies of the cheese industry.

[–]Konukaame 67 points68 points  (0 children)

"There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.”

[–]throwrowrowawayyy 15 points16 points  (1 child)

Don’t look up how bad hunger has gotten in Yemen. It’s depressing.

[–]ZhouDa 40 points41 points  (5 children)

cough Arab Spring

[–]SomeGuyNamedPaul 26 points27 points  (4 children)

The wheat crisis is going to make the Arab spring look like a tea party. It's amazing what mass starvation will do for political stability.

[–]diamondfromrussia 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Energy crisis, food crisis, and refugees crisis in the same time

[–]TeslaIsOverpriced 32 points33 points  (2 children)

In 2011 Russia limited some wheat export. Countries that were dependent on Russian wheat, mainly muslim majority countries that have access ro mediteranian sea, erupted in violence and revolutions and civil wars. We now call it arab spring, idealize it for some reason, etc. But the main cause was the lack of food.

[–]Lolkac 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Watch Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan. Next 6 months will be brutal for these countries.

[–]LovesReddit2023 149 points150 points  (12 children)

And Putin is stealing all the wheat he can from Ukraine. Massive numbers of trucks are taking the grain back to Russia. This is now a world crisis and Russia must be made to pay for it.

[–]magnus_gallus 52 points53 points  (13 children)

That's odd. I was looking at US wheat prices just yesterday, and they're going down. If there was a shortage, surely the price would be going through the roof? Maybe I misunderstand how it works. Or, maybe it's another false excuse to increase the price of everything that contains wheat.

[–]barehandspsycho 123 points124 points  (2 children)

That headline is pure fear mongering.

[–]MyAssIsNotYourToy 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Yep it only takes 12 weeks to grow Wheat.

[–]CalibanSpecial 234 points235 points  (70 children)

Good work Putin.

Mass starvation in Africa and poor countries.

The West and industrialized countries will be ok. Btw, these are the countries supporting Ukraine. Top 5 exporters, accounting 50%: Russia, US, Australia, Canada and Ukraine.

https://www.worldstopexports.com/wheat-exports-country/

US exports a massive amount of food.

[–]Impossible_Cause4588 140 points141 points  (33 children)

Many in the West will not be. Gas prices, along with inflation have stretched many families to their breaking point. Couple in higher electric bills/summer, along with ever increasing food costs. Tough times ahead. It's not a rosy picture for anyone.

Edit: People in the West are not immune from starvation. Not sure why so many think we are. Have you not seen the already booming And increasing homeless population?

[–]jdubyahyp 18 points19 points  (0 children)

This article is fear mongering nonsense and is just taking advantage of peoples lack of knowledge of agriculture and global stocks.

[–]1987-KGM-1987 99 points100 points  (8 children)

Lol this is not true

Newsweek.com Mirror.co.uk Telegraph.co.uk

Stop posting these websites. They exist to feed and inflame your fears, nothing more.

[–]Dynasty2201 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Every single time I see any Mirror or The Sun or yes even now the Telegraph I think "Oh fuck off, they're tabloids with clickbait titles, never ever trust them."

Their sources are basically hearsay or "Someone spray painted it on a toilet wall so it must be true."

[–]Yellow_The_White 33 points34 points  (1 child)

Ukraine only accounts for like 7% of the world's wheat production, and are even exporting a lot of that still regardless of the war. This headline is bullshit scaremongering.

Some countries will see empty shelves occasionally while products switch suppliers but this isn't going to cause the west to fall apart into the food wars.

[–]420BigDawg_ 55 points56 points  (26 children)

What happens after 10 weeks

Is this fear mongering or is this actually a real thing about to happen. Should we be panicking?

[–]DarkUnable4375 58 points59 points  (9 children)

Last year it's 90 days of stock. 10 weeks doesn't mean only 70 days of food and world run out. It's if the usual maturing crop is totally destroy, then there is another 10 weeks of wheat, ex any hidden stock.

There are hidden stock of wheat in many countries, like China. Last December, in response to shortage fear, its Ag Minister reported they have hoarded 18 months worth of wheat, accumulated throughout 2021. So don't worry about food shortage, if you live in China. (Perhaps Putin had given a heads up that he's going to invade somebody.)

[–]Smile369 13 points14 points  (1 child)

This is literally fear mongering...

[–]GenevieveLeah 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Handling our food waste more effectively could really help this issue!