Record Kazakhstan crop leads world wheat production

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World wheat production is projected up 2.1 million tons this month to a near-record 683.3 million, just 1 million tons lower than the all-time high in the 2009/10 marketing year. While world harvested area is left almost unchanged, the already record-high world average wheat yield inched up 0.01 tons per hectare due to increased yields in Kazakhstan and EU-27.

Harvest reports for the EU-27 and Kazakhstan indicate increased production, more than offsetting reduced production prospects for Argentina and several African countries.

Kazakhstan’s wheat production for 2011/12 is forecast up 2.0 million tons this month to a record 21.0 million, with the wheat yield exceeding the previous record of 1992/93 by 15 percent.

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country, with a territory bigger than Western Europe, and borders Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Wheat, predominantly spring varieties, constitutes about 85 percent of the country’s grain production. The harvest is nearly complete in Kazakhstan, and progress reports indicate a remarkably big wheat crop. Phenomenal weather conditions–high precipitation and moderate temperatures–
throughout the growing period generated a huge amount of lower than usual quality wheat, while lack of snow through the beginning of November allowed farmers to complete the harvest.

The wheat production forecast for 2011/12 for the world’s largest producer, the EU-27, is increased 1.2 million tons this month to 137.5 million. While area estimates remained nearly unchanged this month, better-than-expected yields were reported, boosting EU-27 wheat production. The wheat harvest is complete in most EU-27 countries, and the countries are revising their estimated production. The largest increases are for France and the United Kingdom (UK), up 0.7 and 0.6 million tons, respectively, while increases of 0.3 million tons and smaller occurred in the Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and Portugal. Those increases more than offset modest reductions in Denmark, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Netherlands. Despite generally unfavorable growing conditions across most of the EU-27 during this season, it appears that the wheat crop managed the adverse weather conditions well.

Small upward adjustments in wheat production are made for Mexico, Serbia, Zambia, and Lesotho.

The wheat production forecast for Argentina is reduced 0.5 million tons this month to 13.0 million tons. Wheat area is projected down 0.1 million hectares to 4.6 million, as dryness during planting, especially in southern and western wheat areas, affected farmers’ decisions. Wheat yield prospects are slightly reduced mainly reflecting conditions in Cordoba and southwestern Buenos Aires where, despite good spring rains, winter dryness affected the wheat crop during early development. Rains in the southeastern part of Buenos Aires were favorable throughout the season, mitigating the decline in production prospects.

In Algeria and Ethiopia, wheat production is trimmed by 0.3 million tons to 2.8 and 2.7 million, respectively. The harvest in Algeria has long been completed, and the change reflects the official government estimate. In Ethiopia, harvesting in underway, and with the rainy season delivering less precipitation than last year, yields are expected to return to normal. The same adjustment in percentage points is made for Kenya, where weather conditions are very similar to Ethiopia. Small downward adjustments are made for South Korea and Sudan.

The increase in global supplies caused by higher production prospects this month is augmented by a 0.5-million-ton increase in 2011/12 world wheat beginning stocks. Although Argentina’s 2010/11exports were up, its production increased by even more, such that the country’s 2011/12 beginning stocks are up 0.2 million tons this month. In both Mexico and Ethiopia, beginning stocks are also up this month 0.2 million tons, due to the previous year’s revisions to wheat use. Stocks are also slightly increased for EU-27 and South Korea, but decreased for Australia, Brazil, and Uzbekistan.

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