LONDON, ENGLAND — Total world grain production in 2015-16 is estimated at 1.99 billion tonnes, about 1% lower than last season’s record, the International Grains Council (IGC) said in its Sept. 24 Grain Market Report.

 The year-on-year fall mainly reflects an anticipated drop for maize (corn), seen down by 38 million tonnes, with the projection trimmed from before by a further downgrading of the E.U. crop. Revisions for wheat, barley and sorghum lifted the forecast for world total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production in 2015-16 by 9 million tonnes month-over-month.

The modest decline in world total grains from last season is almost entirely due to a smaller maize crop. In contrast, the wheat outturn is expected to be a third successive record, while sorghum is forecast at a two-decade peak and barley is seen 7% above the five-year average. Although output is lower year on year, total grains availabilities will be boosted to a new high by large opening stocks. 

Mainly because of stronger demand for feed wheat, the forecast for global grains consumption is increased by 1 million tonnes, to 1.9 billion, slightly higher year on year. Tighter supplies of maize will increase interest in alternative feeds and use of wheat is seen at its second highest level ever, including a jump in the E.U. Because of the larger crop forecast and little change in projected demand, the end-2015-16 world stocks figure is raised by 9 million tonnes, to 456 million tonnes, up by 2% year on year and the most in 29 years.

Those of wheat are forecast at a record, with barley, sorghum and oats expected to increase, too. However, a small decline is envisaged for maize. Reduced wheat and barley import needs in Near East Asia and North Africa is reflected in a forecast 3% contraction in global trade, to 313 million tonnes.

Reflecting slight reductions for a number of countries, the projection of world rice output is cut by about 2 million tonnes, to 477 million tonnes, but would still be only a fraction lower year on year. Feeding through to a smaller prediction of total supplies, and with consumption little changed from last month, global inventories are trimmed to 95 million tonnes, the year on year contraction of 10% almost entirely due to India and Thailand. The outlook for trade in 2016 is maintained at 42 million tonnes, down slightly from the year before, but well above the prior five-year average. 

At 317 million tonnes, world soybean production is seen little changed from August and only marginally lower than the previous year’s record. Key northern and southern hemisphere producers are expected to harvest above-average crops. Owing to a higher figure for carry-ins, supplies are lifted to a new peak and, despite anticipated growth in uptake, end-season carryovers are predicted to rise by 5% year on year. Both the increase from last month – of about 5 million tonnes – and the expected annual expansion stems from the major exporters, more than offsetting falls elsewhere. Global trade is projected at 126 million tonnes, but the increase would be less pronounced than in the past, tied to anticipated slower growth in demand from China.

The IGC’s Grains and Oilseeds Index (GOI) showed little net change over the past month, staying close to five-year lows.