OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — Canada’s wheat output in marketing year 2021-22 is expected to shrink significantly due to one of the hottest and driest summers on record, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projects wheat production at just 21.7 million tonnes, 38% lower than the previous year and the lowest mark since a 20-million-tonne harvest in 2007-08.

The average yield for all types of wheat is expected to fall more than 30% below the five-year average of 3.42 tonnes per hectare, the USDA said.

“Drought conditions stretched across vast regions of farmland in 2021,” the USDA said. “Typically, moisture levels and temperature vary significantly across the prairies and drought occurs in isolated pockets.

“However, 80% of crops in Alberta, for example, are of lower quality than the previous year, largely due to an uncommonly expansive drought.”

The country’s wheat exports also will be impacted, with the USDA projecting only 15.7 million tonnes to be shipped. If realized it would be the lowest total since 2004-05, when 14.8 million tonnes were exported.

Canada is one of the world’s most important wheat suppliers. It ranked fourth in wheat exports in 2020-21 at 26.4 million tonnes, just a couple of thousand tonnes behind the United States.

Global wheat supplies are the tightest they have been in years, causing the price of wheat to skyrocket in recent weeks.