I.G.C. trims 2014-15 world wheat crop forecast

by Jay Sjerven
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LONDON — The International Grains Council on April 25 lowered its forecast for 2014-15 world wheat production to 697 million tonnes, down 3 million tonnes from the I.G.C.’s March outlook and down 12 million tonnes, or 2%, from 709 million tonnes in 2013-14. Even with the lower forecast, the 2014-15 world wheat crop was projected to be second in size only to last year’s record outturn.

The I.G.C. pointed to smaller projected crops in Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Iran, China, Morocco and Australia, which were only partly offset by expected increased production in the European Union, Kazakhstan, the United States, South America and India. The I.G.C. noted the global wheat harvested area was expected to expand by 1.9% to about 223.5 million hectares but added yields weren’t likely to match the record levels seen in 2013-14.

The European Union crop was forecast at 144.8 million tonnes, up 2.6 million tonnes, or 2%, from 142.2 million tonnes in 2013 and compared with 131.6 million tonnes in 2012. The I.G.C. noted production in both the United Kingdom and Scandinavia should rebound from poor 2013 outturns.

Russian wheat production this year was forecast at 51 million tonnes, down 1.1 million tonnes from 2013. While harvested area was projected to be larger, yields were expected to return to average levels. Ukraine harvested area was forecast to be down 3% from a year ago because of poor weather during winter wheat planting. Ukraine’s crop was forecast at 20 million tonnes, down 10% from 22.3 million tonnes in 2013. Meanwhile, the Kazakhstan crop was forecast at 15 million tonnes, up 1.1 million tonnes from 2013.

The Canadian crop was forecast at 29 million tonnes, down 8.5 million tonnes, or 23%, from a record 37.5 million tonnes in 2013.

“Lower domestic prices and higher carryover stocks are expected to result in reduced plantings in Canada, placed at 9.8 million hectares, down 6% year over year,” the I.G.C. said. The I.G.C. forecast also assumed yield would return to normal after setting a new record high during the previous season.

The I.G.C. forecast U.S. wheat production at 59 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from 2013. The I.G.C. forecast a harvested area of 19 million hectares, 4% larger than in 2013.

“To reflect the impact of drought (in the southern Plains) on yields, production is forecast 1 million tonnes lower than before (in March), at 59 million tonnes, but still 2% higher year over year,” the I.G.C. said.

The I.G.C. forecast China’s 2014 wheat crop at 120 million tonnes, down 1.7 million tonnes from 2013. The I.G.C. said despite a slight increase in projected harvested area, the wheat outturn should be smaller this year based on average yields. The I.G.C. forecast India’s crop at 95 million tonnes, which would be up 2% from 2013 and match the record crop harvested in 2012.

“In Australia, plentiful rains across much of the eastern wheat belt improved soil moisture for planting, which is now under way,” the I.G.C. said. “The area is projected slightly larger year over year, at 13.8 million hectares, but with yields likely to return to average, the crop is forecast 5% lower year over year, at 25.5 million tonnes.”
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