The drought that hit much of the country last year led to lower crop harvests and devastated many industries. With lower than average supply, fewer farmers were able to get the necessary amount of crops to major purchasers, and some food companies weren't able to increase their product output given the limited resources available. Because of the low number of bushels that were harvested last year, bulk truck transport shipments were down substantially.
However, 2013 may end up being a very different year for growers and those responsible for moving harvested crops and food products across the country. Reports indicate American farmers will plant more crops this year, and if 2013 shapes up to be a good growing season, many industries could see a spike in business.
Numbers indicate harvests may be significant this year
Forecasts revealed that domestic farmers will plant 97.3 million acres of corn this year in addition to 77.1 million acres of soybeans. The soybean planting will be the fourth largest ever recorded, and wheat planting will be up 1 percent to 56.4 million acres.
It stands to reason farmers will up their planting in an effort to make up for the small crop harvests seen last year. Dry conditions left many planters unable to reap much of the crop they had planned to, leading to lower profits, higher prices and less work for those tasked with transporting the goods. Rainfall and heat will remain the factors that could determine whether the farming industry experiences a repeat of last year's drought. However, hopes for better conditions remain high and many states could be on the way to drought recovery, indicating farmers could have a better year.
Whether another drought strikes or the farming industry receives sufficient rain, food transporters will have to contend with shrinking truck capacity in the U.S. market. Increases in manufacturing, building and retail shipments moving over the road are already faced with reduced truck availability, due to the large number of trucking companies that went out of business during the recent recession. Dedicated and private fleets that are focused on agricultural loads are looking to vehicle routing software to make the optimal use of available trucks and increase productivity in the face of a potential boom in harvests this year.