LONDON – Global ending stocks of grains in 2023 will total 581 million tonnes, down 27 million tonnes, or 4.4%, from a revised 608 million tonnes in 2022, according to an initial forecast issued April 21 by the International Grains Council. If realized, the carryover would be the smallest since 553.7 million tonnes in 2015.

The Council called its preliminary forecast for 2022-23 “especially tentative given the conflict in the Black Sea region.”

 “Despite larger carry-in stocks, world grains supply (production plus opening stocks) is forecast to contract slightly on a comparatively steeper drop in output, placed almost 1% lower year-over-year at 2,275 million tonnes. While consumption growth is forecast to be slower than average, end-season inventories are seen sharply down.”

At 2,275 million tonnes, production in 2022-23 would be down 12 million tonnes from 2021-22. Consumption was forecast at 2,302 million tonnes, up 21 million tonnes, or just under 1%, from the year before. Global grain trade was projected at 407 million tonnes in 2022-23, down 17 million tonnes, or 2.2%, from 416 million tonnes in 2021-22.

The largest factor in the projected carryover decrease was a drop predicted for corn. The Council said ending stocks of corn in 2023 will total 265 million tonnes, down 21 million tonnes, or 7%, from 286 million tonnes in 2021-22. Production of corn in 2022-23 was forecast at 1,197 million tonnes, down 13 million tonnes, or 1%, from 1,210 million tonnes.

Wheat ending stocks for 2023 were forecast at 277 million tonnes, down 5 million tonnes, or 1.8%, from the year before. The global wheat crop was forecast to be flat at 780 million tonnes in 2022-23, versus 781 million tonnes in 2021-22.

The IGC did not publish specific figures for leading grain exporters, including Ukraine and Russia.

“Despite forecasts for slower-than-average growth in feed and food uses, tied to potentially high prices and resulting demand rationing, world consumption is expected to edge to a new peak,” the Council said. “At 581 million tonnes at the end of 2022-23, global stocks are projected to be 26 million lower year-over-year, mainly on tightening in maize and wheat. Global trade is seen declining for a second year in a row, down 2%, to 407 million tonnes.”

For 2021-22, changes in the IGC forecasts from the March 17 report were modest. The total grain carryover in 2022 was forecast at 608 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from the month before and up 1% from 601 million in 2021. The wheat carryover was projected at 282 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from the March projection and up 3 million tonnes, or 1.1%, from 279 million tonnes in 2021.