The International Grains Council last week forecast 2011-12 world wheat ending stocks at 190 million tonnes, up 5 million tonnes from its June projection and just 2 million tonnes shy of 2010-11 wheat ending stocks at 192 million tonnes. Ending stocks were 199 million tonnes in 2009-10, 172 million tonnes in 2008-09, 132 million tonnes in 2007-08, and a 26-year low of 115 million tonnes in 2006-07. The increase in the ending stocks forecast resulted from an 8-million-tonne hike in the I.G.C.’s world wheat production projection that more than offset a higher consumption forecast.

The I.G.C. projected world wheat production in 2011-12 at 674 million tonnes, up 8 million tonnes from the June forecast and up 23 million tonnes, or 4%, from 651 million tonnes in 2010-11. The I.G.C. said, “Crop estimates are increased for the European Union, Russia, the United States, Australia and Morocco. A record outturn has been harvested in India (85.9 million tonnes).”Late season rains resulted in higher-than-expected yields in the E.U., where the harvest was well under way. E.U. wheat production was forecast at 136.8 million tonnes, up 5.1 million tonnes from the June outlook and 0.6 million tonnes higher than the 2010-11 outturn. Russian wheat production was raised by 2 million tonnes from the June forecast to 56 million tonnes. The Russian outturn would be up 14.5 million tonnes, or 35%, from the drought-reduced 2010 crop. China’s wheat crop was projected at 115.5 million tonnes, which would be that nation’s largest crop since a record 123 million tonnes were harvested in 1997.

The I.G.C. forecast world wheat consumption in 2011-12 at a record 676 million tonnes, up 6 million tonnes from the June outlook and up 19 million tonnes, or 3%, from 657 million tonnes in 2010-11, which was the previous record. The increase was mostly attributed to expected higher feed use of wheat because of high corn prices.

The I.G.C. forecast world trade in wheat in 2011-12 at 127 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from the June projection and up 3 million tonnes from 124 million tonnes in 2010-11. World trade in wheat reached its record level in 2008-09 at 137 million tonnes. Of particular note was the raising of the forecast for 2011-12 Russian wheat exports to 13 million tonnes from 9 million tonnes as the June projection. Russia exported only 3.9 million tonnes of wheat in 2010-11.