World wheat production prospects boosted further

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World wheat production in 2013/14 is forecast at 708.9 million tons, up 3.5 million this month. The largest increase is for Canada, where the wheat crop is forecast up 2.0 million tons to 31.5 million. This is based on a 2-percent increase in harvested area, and on yields that are projected to be 5 percent higher than last month and surpass the existing record.

It appears that a combination of optimal temperatures and adequate soil moisture and precipitation since mid-July during the flowering and filling stages of crop development, more than mitigated delayed planting after a cold wet spring.

Yields are boosted to a record-high level, as confirmed by increased estimates from the Statistics Canada July report. The unusually dry and warm weather since the beginning of August promoted rapid maturation of the wheat crop, and the latest provincial reports gauge 88 percent of wheat to be in excellent/good condition.

Winter wheat harvesting, which covers less than 10 percent of wheat area, is already complete. Spring wheat harvesting is progressing rapidly, while favorable weather forecasts with no early frosts in sight reduce risks of its disruption, and are expected to benefit grain quality.

It is worth mentioning that the July Statistics Canada estimates for both area and production do not include British Columbia and the Maritime Provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick), which are estimated to add about 3 percent to the area and production estimates. Estimates covering the whole country will be made available by Statistics Canada in November (see http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130821/t130821a001-eng.htm).

Despite previous concerns about an excessively cold winter, a late spring, and a hot summer, EU-27 wheat production is expected to reach 142.9 million tons in 2013/14, adding another 1.5 million to its third-highest ever crop this month.

Wheat harvesting of the 2013/14 crop is virtually complete, and statistical offices in individual countries continue to compile and report wheat production numbers.

The largest increase is in Germany, up 0.5 million tons to 24.7 million, and the harvest has reached its final stage. Reports indicate that despite extreme cold in March, a delayed, wet spring, and back-to-back outbreaks of excessive heat, the overall conditions for wheat development were mostly favorable. This boosted wheat yield potential to near-record highs, with the quality of the crop higher than expected.

August also brought further improvement in the United Kingdom (UK), where wheat area is at a 30-year low after an exceptionally wet autumn reduced planted area. The wheat crop in the UK is about 50 percent harvested, wheat yields are slightly below the 5-year average, and output is projected this month up 0.2 million tons to 12.1 million. Wheat production expectations continue to improve for the countries in the eastern EU, namely Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland, up from 0.1-0.3 million tons each. A tiny increase is made for the Czech Republic. In neighboring Serbia (not an EU member), official government reports suggest a 0.2- million-ton increase in wheat production.

Wheat production is expected to be higher in Ukraine, up 0.5 million tons to 22.0 million, as indicated by the latest harvest reports. In Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, the two other countries of the Asian part of the Former Soviet Union block (FSU- 12), wheat production is projected up 0.4 and 0.1 million tons, respectively, based on the countries’ Ministries of Agriculture reports.

The wheat production forecast is up 0.2 million tons for Morocco where the harvest is complete, and reflects government estimates. South African wheat production is slightly increased by 0.1 million tons to 1.8 million, reflecting slightly higher area, generally good crop conditions in the Western Cape Province, and the first wheat production estimate by South Africa's National Crop Estimates Committee. Partly offsetting are declines in projected wheat output for Iran, Paraguay, and Saudi Arabia.

In Iran, wheat production is projected down 1.0 million tons to 14.5 million this month, which is still 0.5 million tons higher than last year. Iran has been enjoying favorable weather conditions, but a slow moving storm in May in southwestern Iran is expected to have affected wheat harvesting in that part of the country.

Wheat output in Paraguay is projected 0.4 million tons lower to just 1.0 million, the lowest wheat output in 8 years. Unusually timed frosts in the majorproducing areas at the end of July and in August are expected to have reduced harvested area by more than 30 percent, as well as generating much lower than expected crop quality.

In Saudi Arabia, the continued implementation of a 2008 decree intended to completely phase out domestic wheat production by 2016 resulted in an additional reduction in projected wheat area, down 20 thousand hectares to 0.1 thousand hectares, and in production down 0.1 million tons to 0.6 million. Wheat production for 2013/14 was also adjusted for Eritrea.

A decrease of 0.6 million tons in global beginning stocks—due to trade revisions in prior years and other changes in supply and demand—only partly offsets the 2013/14 production increase.

Trade revisions for the prior years (mostly for 2012/13) led to lower beginning stocks in the EU, Pakistan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, and higher stocks in Algeria, Uzbekistan, and Indonesia. Statistics Canada reported 2012/13 wheat ending stocks 0.2 million tons higher than USDA’s earlier forecast, with an increase in the 2013/14 beginning stocks that gives Canadian wheat supplies an additional boost. Numerous changes in beginning stocks of less than 0.1 million tons are made for a number of countries, mostly reflecting the availability of trade data


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