E.U. 2012 wheat output projected at five-year low

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on May 14 in its Wheat Outlook that world-leading wheat producer, the E.U., is projected to harvest 132 million tonnes in 2012-13, a five-year low.

The USDA said adverse fall and winter weather conditions, such as dryness and excessive cold, are projected to reduce harvested areas and have a negative impact on yields in the E.U.

Total world wheat production is predicted to slip 2.5% to 677.6 million tonnes from last year’s record of 694.6 million tonnes, the USDA said. Foreign wheat production is expected to decrease 3.7%, down 23.8 million tonnes to 616 million tonnes, from 643.7 million tonnes in 2011-12.

Despite the smaller harvests both in the E.U. and some other parts of the world, total wheat output is still expected to be the fourth largest ever, behind record crops of 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Total world wheat acreage is expected to decline slightly by 0.2%, reflecting the view in some countries that other crops offer greater attractions. In the E.U. and Ukraine, some wheat acreage has fallen prey to winterkill and drought, which negatively impacts production, the USDA said.

In late March, precipitation restored parts of the E.U. to much improved crop conditions, with favorable moisture in some, but not all, dry areas.

Among other wheat-growing countries outside the United States, China is predicted to be the second-largest wheat producer in 2012-13, reaching a record 120 million tonnes, up 1.8% from 117,900,000 a year ago. The USDA said area plantings are up slightly and planting conditions for winter wheat, China’s major wheat variety, were very favorable.

Among other important wheat-producing nations, India is projected to produce another record wheat crop, up almost 5% from a year ago, 4.1 million tonnes, to 91 million tonnes.

Canadian planting intentions show about a 10% increase in total wheat sowings amid expectations for good weather and high prices after last year’s flood year. The USDA said intended Canadian plantings of western red spring wheat were up 9%, durum, up 27%, and winter wheat seeding up almost 25% in Eastern Canada.

“Assuming a 10-year trend yield, (Canadian) wheat production in 2012-13 is forecast up 7% to 27 million tonnes,” the USDA said.

European Russia winter wheat plantings are expected to be higher in 2012, reflecting favorable weather.

Several other regions or countries are expecting declines in wheat production. In the Middle East, the USDA forecast a 2.4% decline to 39.3 million tonnes. The South American wheat crop is expected to fall 12% from last year to 22 million tonnes on competition from other crops. Australian production appears to be headed down 3.5 million tonnes to 26 million tonnes, the USDA said.

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