MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY — Uruguay’s wheat production in 2021-22 is expected to reach 980,000 tonnes, its highest level in the last six years, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Overall volume growth will only reach 4%, the USDA said, due to a trend yield that is significantly lower than 2020-21. Dry conditions in the south with the possibility of it continuing into the next few months could negatively impact planted area and/or yields.

“Last year wheat farmers saw high levels of productivity, quality and profitability,” the USDA said. “Despite higher input and production costs expected for this year’s crop, current future wheat prices are attractive and double cropping with second soybean planting remains a profitable combination.”

Wheat exports in 2021-22 are projected at 500,000 tonnes, 50,000 tonnes higher than in 2020-21, and the highest since 2015-16.

Corn production in 2021-22 is projected at 960,000 tonnes, an increase of 37% from 2020-21 expectations. Commercial corn area is expected to increase to 160,000 hectares.

“Corn has been displacing sorghum over the past few years as it is more profitable and its demand and use are bigger,” the USDA said.

In 2020-21, planting intentions for corn exceeded actual planted area as an unexpected jump in soybean prices late last year shifted roughly 20,000 hectares from corn to soybean production.