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Tiny North American Oat Crop Could Be Coming for Your Breakfast

The smallest harvest ever in the U.S. is expected to shrink supplies needed for everything from Cheerios to oat milk

Stunted growth and dry, sandy soil on a drought stricken oat crop near Osler, Saskatchewan, Canada, in July, 2021.

Stunted growth and dry, sandy soil on a drought stricken oat crop near Osler, Saskatchewan, Canada, in July, 2021.

Photographer: Kayle Neis/Bloomberg
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A drought struck North America’s oat fields this season, and farmers are harvesting such a small crop that prices have risen to record highs, signaling inflation for breakfast staples like oatmeal and trendy alternative milk.

Severe hot and dry weather probably slashed oat production by nearly half to an 11-year low in Canada, the world’s biggest exporter. Similarly in the U.S., one of the world’s top consumers of the grain, the harvest will be the smallest ever. The result is all-time high costs that will likely filter down to consumers.