The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Dec. 10 raised its forecast of the carryover of wheat in the United States on June 1, 2010, by 15 million bus, to 900 million bus. If the forecast is realized, the June 1 wheat inventory next year will be the largest since 950 million bus in 2000 and nearly triple the 2008 carryover of 306 million bus.

Many observers had anticipated a reduction in the U.S.D.A.’s 2009-10 wheat export forecast, but there was none. Instead, the department lowered its projection for domestic food use of wheat by 15 million bus, to 940 million bus, and this accounted for the hike in the carryover forecast.

All U.S. wheat supply estimates were unchanged from November. The U.S.D.A. projected a wheat supply in the current year of 2,983 million bus, up 51 million bus from 2008-09. It would be the largest wheat supply in the United States since 3,268 million bus in 2000-01. The supply included 657 million bus as the current year’s carry-in, 2,216 million bus in production and 110 million bus in projected imports.

At 940 million bus, the projected food use of wheat compared with the November forecast of 955 million bus. The latter would have constituted record large usage of wheat for food. The current record for food use of wheat remains 950 million bus in 2000-01 followed by 948 million bus in 2007-08. In commentary accompanying the supply/demand data, the U.S.D.A. said, “Food use is projected 15 million bus lower based on the latest mill grind data from the U.S. Census Bureau and indications of 2009 crop quality that suggest higher-than-normal flour extraction rates again in 2009-10.”

Other 2009-10 wheat use forecasts were unchanged from November with feed and residual use at 190 million bus, down 68 million bus from 2008-09, and seed use at 78 million bus, up 3 million bus from 2008-09. Wheat exports in 2009-10 were projected at 875 million bus, down 140 million bus, or 14%, from 1,015 million bus in the previous year and the lowest since 950 million bus in 2002-03 and before that 599 million bus in 1971-72.

Wheat disappearance in the United States in 2009-10 was projected at 2,083 million bus, down 15 million bus from the November forecast and down 192 million bus, or 8%, from 2,275 million bus in the previous year.

The largest carryover adjustment by class from November was in hard winter wheat. The 2010 hard winter carryover was projected at 384 million bus, up 20 million bus from the November forecast and up 130 million bus, or 51%, from 254 million bus in 2009. The hard spring wheat carryover was forecast at 257 million bus, up 2 million from November and up 115 million bus, or 81%, from 142 million bus in 2009. The soft red winter wheat carryover was projected at 177 million bus, up 10 million bus from November and up 6 million bus from 171 million bus in 2009. The white wheat carryover was projected at 42 million bus, down 10 million bus from the previous forecast and down 22 million bus, or 34%, from 64 million bus this year.

The 2010 durum carryover was projected at 40 million bus, down 7 million bus from November but up 15 million bus, or 60%, from 25 million bus in 2009.