LONDON, ENGLAND — Estimates for global grain production for 2019-20 dropped by 21 million tonnes from the previous month largely due to a slow start to U.S. corn plantings, the International Grains Council (IGC) said on June 27.

In its Grain Market Report, the IGC said it now estimates total grain production at 2.156 billion tonnes, up 1% from last year.

Wheat output is estimated 3 million tonnes higher to a record 769 million tonnes due to revisions for India, the E.U. and Ukraine. The total is up 5% from last year.

Smaller supplies and a drop in demand has ending stocks at 588 million tonnes, down 5% year-over-year, and a five-year low. This is the third consecutive season that stocks are predicted to contract, the IGC said. The forecast dropped 14 million tonnes from the previous month due to a tighter outlook for U.S. corn inventories.

The rate of decline has accelerated to 31 million tonnes year-over-year due to a third successive decline for corn. 

“These are seen dropping to a six-year low, with most of the fall in China and the U.S.,” the IGC said in its report.

Trade was up 1 million tonnes month-over-month with increased forecasts for wheat and corn partially offsetting a reduced outlook for sorghum.

The forecast for global production in 2018-19 increased 5 million tonnes month-over-month to 2.142 billion tonnes, mostly due to upward revisions for maize harvests in South America and South Africa. As consumption is boosted a little from before, the outlook for ending stocks is raised by around 2 million tonnes, to 619 million tonnes, a drawdown of 26 million tonnes year-over-year, the IGC said.

Again due to conditions in the United States, soybean production for 2019-20 was estimated 9 million tonnes lower from last month to a total of 349 million tonnes. That would be down 4% from the previous year.

Production in 2018-19 is estimated at 363 million tonnes, a record total. Since total use was down compared to last month, stocks are estimated marginally higher to 54 million tonnes.

The IGC said estimates for rice were little changed month-over-month with trade for 2018-19 expected at 46 million tonnes.

The projection of global trade in 2020 is down slightly month-over-month, at 47 million tonnes, on lower expectations for China’s purchases.