Carriers responsible for transporting wheat could see a significant change in the routes they were originally scheduled to run once the harvesting season hits. The recent discovery of unapproved genetically modified (GM) wheat on an Oregon farm has led many countries to ban American wheat imports, leaving many farmers with crops they'll need to find new buyers for. This means carriers may have to alter planned schedules with route optimization software.
GM appearance puts off major purchasers
While the U.S. permits the growth of several GM crops, wheat has never been one of them. Agricultural company Monsanto tested new strains of GM wheat several years ago, but these varieties were never used by domestic farmers. As a result, the company stopped the project in the early 2000s and the product was never made commercially available.
However, an Oregon farmer recently discovered some of this strain in his fields, much to the alarm of consumers throughout the U.S. and countries that import American wheat. The U.S. exports half of its annual wheat crop, according to The Associated Press, and because few countries will accept GM food products, the appearance of this strain has the potential to slash American wheat exports drastically.
In the days since the discovery, several countries have already put a moratorium on U.S. wheat imports or vowed increasing scrutiny, even though the GM strain was thus far discovered in only one field. The European Union and South Korea, which ban GM foods, will test all wheat grown in America and reject any with Monsanto genes, while Japan has prohibited all American wheat imports entirely.
Transportation may change as farmers find new buyers
As a result, farmers who typically rely on overseas purchasers may need to find new customers before they harvest their wheat, especially if more countries ban crop imports. This is especially true if more fields are discovered to be contaminated with GM crops, something that could be possible, considering Monsanto tested this crop in 16 different states over the course of several years.
With less need for carriers to bring wheat to ports that will ship it overseas, crop transportation companies may find themselves hauling more product to more domestic buyers. This could lead to them making more pickups and deliveries and completing longer runs, highlighting how important it is for these companies to utilize route planning software and optimize schedules.