BRAZIL (9 February)
Harvesting of the 2004 winter wheat crop has been recently completed and the output is officially estimated at 5.8 million tonnes, similar to the record level achieved the previous year. Dry weather is negatively affecting 2005 first season (summer) maize crop in main growing southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where an increase in production of about 40 percent was expected. Maize crop harvest is about to start and, due to reduced rains, the official forecast of an output of 32.5 million tonnes, 4.6 percent higher than in the same season of 2004, may need to be somehow downward revised. Harvesting of 2005 paddy crop in Centre and South areas is about to start and production early forecast point to a result of 11 million tonnes below last year’s record output.