ROME, ITALY — Strong growth is expected for global wheat, coarse grains and rice production in 2013, according to early forecasts published in the May issue of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) monthly Cereals Supply and Demand Brief. 

Assuming more normal weather conditions than in 2012, global wheat production in 2013 is expected to reach 695 million tonnes, 5.4% up from last year's harvest and just some 6 million tonnes short of the 2011 record level.

And in 2013, coarse grains production is expected to set a new record at 1.266 billion tonnes - 9.3% up on the previous high of 1.167 billion tonnes registered in 2011. 

Of this total, maize is forecast to account for about 960 million tonnes, some 10% up from 2012. The bulk of the increase is expected in the U.S., the world's largest producer, where maize plantings are forecast to reach their highest level since 1936. Recovery from drought in the major CIS producing countries should also contribute significantly to the record global production. 

Still tentatively, FAO foresees rice production in the forthcoming 2013 season to rise to 497.7 million tonnes, 16 million tonnes more than in 2012, with particularly large increases expected in India and Indonesia. 

Despite the expected production increases, world cereal utilization is expected to stagnate in 2012-13, constrained by rising grain prices and faltering ethanol demand. Global cereal utilization is now forecast to be 2.332 billion tonnes, roughly unchanged from the 2011-12 level.

World cereal stocks by the close of seasons ending in 2013 are forecast at 505 million tonnes, up 1% (5 million tonnes) from the previous forecast, but some 3% (16 million tonnes) below their opening levels.

A sharp fall in world cereal trade is expected in 2012-13, involving all major cereals. At 304.4 million tonnes, it would be almost 1 million tonnes larger than forecast last month, but still representing a decline of about 4% (13 million tonnes) from 2011-12.