WASHINGTON, DC, US — The US Department of Agriculture lowered its forecasts for 2020-21 US and world wheat ending stocks in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report issued Dec. 10.

The USDA forecast the US carryover of wheat on June 1, 2021 at 862 million bushels, down 15 million bushels from the November outlook and down 16% from 1.028 billion bushels in 2020. The lower forecast reflected a 5-million-bushel reduction in the forecast for wheat imports in 2020-21 to 120 million bushels and a 10-million-bushel increase in projected exports to 985 million bushels.

The USDA said the higher export projection reflected stronger white wheat exports that were only partially offset by lower hard red winter wheat exports.

“Sales and shipments of white wheat have been robust this marketing year to several East Asian countries,” the USDA said. “Conversely, hard red winter exports have slowed for the past several weeks.”

With the exception of the lower import forecast, which reduced the projection for the total 2020-21 wheat supply to 2.974 billion bushels versus 2.979 billion bushels in November, the supply side of the wheat balance sheet was unchanged with a carry-in of 1.080 billion bushels and a crop estimate at 1.826 billion bushels.

With the exception of the higher export forecast, which raised the projection for total wheat disappearance in 2020-21 to 2.112 billion bushels versus 2.102 billion bushels as the November number, the demand side of the balance sheet was unchanged with food use of wheat in 2020-21 forecast at 965 million bushels, seed use at 62 million bushels and feed and residual use at 100 million bushels.

The USDA projected 2020-21 world wheat ending stocks at a record 316.5 million tonnes, down 3.95 million tonnes from the November forecast but up 15.88 million tonnes, or 5%, from 300.62 million tonnes in 2019-20, the current record.

The USDA forecast world wheat production in 2020-21 at a record 773.66 million tonnes, up 1.28 million tonnes from November and up 9.16 million tonnes from 764.5 million tonnes in 2019-20. Most of the production increase was because of a larger forecast for Australia, now at 30.5 million tonnes, up 1.5 million tonnes from November. Russian production was raised 500,000 tonnes to 84 million, and Canadian production was raised 0.2 million tonnes to 35.2 million.

“With this month’s production changes, Australia, Canada and Russia all have their second-largest wheat production on record,” the USDA observed.

World wheat consumption in 2020-21 was forecast at a record 757.78 million tonnes, up 5.1 million tonnes from November and up 9.8 million tonnes from 747.98 million tonnes in 2019-20. The increase from November was mostly attributed to higher wheat feeding in China.

World wheat exports in 2020-21 was projected at a record 193.65 million tonnes, up 2.86 million from the November outlook and up 2.19 million tonnes from 191.46 million tonnes in 2019-20. Export forecasts were raised for Australia, Canada, Russia and the United States.

China was forecast to import 8.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2020-21, up 0.5 million tonnes from November. Chinese wheat imports would be the highest since 2008-09, the USDA said.