WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The 2011-12 U.S. rice production forecast was lowered 11.5 million cwt to 199.5 million cwt due to severe flooding that reduced plantings in the Mississippi Delta, especially in Arkansas and Missouri, according to the most recent Rice Outlook report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

At 2.85 million acres, rice plantings are almost 6% below the 3.018 million acres reported in the March Prospective Plantings and 22% below a year earlier. The average yield, forecast at 7,040 pounds per acre, is almost unchanged from last month's forecast. Although U.S. crop conditions improved during the week ending June 5, conditions remain well below a year earlier in all southern states.

Total U.S. rice supplies in 2011-12 are projected at 274.1 million cwt, almost 4% below last month's forecast and 8% below the record a year earlier. Beginning stocks of all-rice are forecast at 56.6 million cwt, up 1 million cwt from last month and 55% larger than a year earlier. U.S. rice imports for 2011-12 remain forecast at 18 million cwt, 3% above the previous year's forecast and the first increase since 2007-08.

Projections for both exports and total domestic and residual use decreased this month. Total domestic and residual use decreased 1 million cwt to 126 million cwt for 2011-12 based on a smaller crop. Total U.S. rice exports decreased 3 million cwt to 106 million cwt based on smaller supplies and a forecast wider price difference over Asian competitors. Long-grain accounts for all of the downward revision in the U.S. export forecast. On balance, these revisions resulted in a 6.5 million cwt reduction in the U.S. ending stocks forecast to 42.1 million cwt, 26% below a year earlier.

Tighter supplies resulted in an increase in the 2011-12 season-average farm price (SAFP) for long-grain rice to $11.30-$12.30 per cwt, up 30¢ on both the high and low ends from last month. The combined medium- and short-grain 2011-12 U.S. SAFP remains projected at $15-$16 per cwt.

The 2011-12 global production forecast was reduced by 1.5 million tonnes this month to 456.4 million tonnes, still the largest crop on record and up more than 1% from 2010-11. China accounts for most of the downward revision. Production forecasts also decreased this month for the U.S., Cuba, and El Salvador. These reductions were partially offset by increased crop projections for Egypt and Guyana.

Global disappearance in 2011-12 is projected at a record 458 million tonnes, down 800,000 tonnes from last month, with China accounting for most of the downward revision. Global ending stocks for 2011-12 are projected at 94.9 million tonnes, down more than 1% from last month.

The trade forecast for calendar year 2012 increased fractionally this month to a record 32.2 million tonnes (milled basis), up nearly 4% from 2011. An increase in Egypt's export forecast more than offset a reduction in the U.S. export forecast. The global trade forecast for 2011 increased slightly this month to 31.1 million tonnes, a result of a higher export forecast for Uruguay.

Trading prices for Thailand's most high- and medium-quality grades of non-specialty rice are up about 2% since the second week of May. In Vietnam, large supplies due to the recent spring harvest have softened export price quotes over the past month. U.S. long-grain milled rice prices have increased slightly over the past month, largely on concerns about the size of the 2011-12 crop due to flooding in the Mississippi River Delta. Prices for California rice have remained strong over the past month.