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Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Affect Long-Term Growth in Grain Milling?
Last year, research predicted that long-term growth in the grain milling business would lead to substantial increases in revenue among milling businesses. However, this year, the pandemic made people throw out all kinds of predictions. Among them are business revenues for many industries.
But does this include grain milling? Will the coronavirus pandemic significantly upend the predictions for the industry?
Last Year's Predictions
First, let's take a look at the predictions made last year. In the predictions by Grand View Research, we see steady growth in the market size of grain mill products in North America. Wheat continues to dominate the market, accounting for more than 40% of the total, followed by rice.
One key trend that researchers talked about driving new market growth is demand for gluten free products. This might see rice gaining relative to wheat in the future.
However, demand for wheat is also expected to grow, and wheat is likely to remain the industry leader for the foreseeable future. Factors influencing wheat's growth include the increased demand for fortified flours of different types, the ongoing popularity of bread, and the growth of bakeries and cafes in North America and Europe.
Impact of the Pandemic on Grain Industry
So what has the coronavirus pandemic done to demand for milled grains? A recent survey shows that the impact of COVID on the grain industry has been mixed, but overall fairly negative.
About 32% of respondents reported that they saw an increase in demand. However, 45% said that they saw a decrease in demand.
The increase has been primarily in small bags of flour for retail consumption. Early shortages in yeast (and interest in sourdough starters) were a sign of how much people turned to making their own bread.
The decrease, on the other hand, comes from the closure of many businesses that typically consume large amounts of flour, such as restaurants, schools, and other large gathering places. Overall, most respondents think, this decrease was much larger than the increased demand for retail flour.
Along with this, some commercial manufacturers of animal feed reported challenges in getting necessary raw ingredients. In particular, many reported that reduced demand for gasoline meant a reduction in the ethanol byproduct DDGS. About 98% of DDGS is produced by the oxygenated gasoline industry.
Whether these remain long-term trends depends on how well the economy is able to bounce back with widespread vaccination.
Milling for Your Future
These large-scale trends could have a big impact on your personal milling operation. You might find access to commercial feed is reduced, or you might decide that you would prefer to make more of your own feed to avoid potential future disruption.
If you are considering adding a mill to your farm, Automatic Equipment Manufacturing can help. Please contact us today to find the best grain mill for your farm.