LONDON — The International Grains Council on April 27 raised its forecast for 2017-18 world wheat production to 736.3 million tonnes, up 1.8 million tonnes from the March projection but down 17.1 million tonnes, or 2%, from a record 753.4 million tonnes in 2016-17. If the forecast is realized, the 2017-18 world wheat crop would be the third largest produced, trailing only last year’s record outturn and 736.5 million tonnes in 2015-16.
The I.G.C. production forecast assumes average yields. In 2016-17, world wheat yields were well above average. Harvested area in 2017-18 at around 223 million hectares is nearly unchanged from 2016-17 with larger areas forecast for North Africa and parts of South America offsetting reduced areas in North America, the European Union and Australia.
The I.G.C. forecast wheat production in the major exporting countries to be lower in 2017-18 than in the previous year except in the European Union, where production was forecast to increase 4% from 2016 to 150.3 million tonnes. While larger than in 2015, the E.U. crop would be more than 9 million tonnes smaller than the 2015 crop of 159.6 million tonnes. U.S. wheat production in 2017 was forecast at 50.2 million tonnes, down 20% from 62.9 million tonnes in 2016. The Russian crop was forecast at 67 million tonnes, down 8% from 72.5 million tonnes in 2016. The Canadian crop was forecast at 28.1 million tonnes, down 11% from 31.7 million tonnes in 2016. The Australian 2017-18 crop was forecast at 25.6 million tonnes, down 27% from a record 35.1 million tonnes in 2016-17. The Ukrainian crop in 2017 was forecast at 24.5 million tonnes, down 9% from 26.8 million tonnes in 2016.
The I.G.C. forecast world wheat consumption in 2017-18 at a record 737.6 million tonnes, up slightly from the record 736.7 million tonnes forecast for the current year. The I.G.C. noted a forecast increase for food use in 2017-18 was partly offset by a decrease in forecast feed use. Food use of wheat in 2017-18 was forecast at 503 million tonnes, up 1.4% from the current year.
World trade in wheat in 2017-18 was forecast at 166.3 million tonnes, down 4.3 million tonnes from a forecast record 170.6 million tonnes in 2016-17.The I.G.C. projected world wheat ending stocks in 2017-18 at 239 million tonnes compared with a record 240.3 million tonnes in 2016-17.