CANADA (2 June)
The official March seeding intentions report pointed to virtually no change in this year's overall wheat area. A sharp increase expected in the area sown to durum wheat would be offset by reduction plantings of other spring wheat. Planting conditions have been generally favourable, and as of end-May, planting was reported to be nearing completion in some areas after progressing at normal to ahead-of-normal pace across most of the main growing areas in the past few weeks. For coarse grains, early indications point to an increase in area. The barley area is expected to increase by 22 percent to 5.4 million hectares, while that of maize, by 14 percent, to over 1.3 million hectares. Reflecting this significant expansion in area, aggregate coarse grains output in 2000 is forecast at some 29 million tonnes, about 9 percent up from 1999.
UNITED STATES (2 June)
Aggregate (winter and spring) wheat production in 2000 is officially forecast at 60.9 million tonnes, 3 percent down from the previous year. The area of winter wheat to be harvested in 2000 is now forecast at about 14 million hectares, 2 percent down from 1999 and the smallest area since 1971. However, good yields, close to last year's record levels are expected again. Regarding spring wheat, planting was virtually complete by late May and, if early indications in the USDA's March 31 Prospective Plantings Report materialise, the area will be down by about 5 percent from 1999 to 7.5 million hectares.
With regard to coarse grains, according to the Prospective Plantings Report, no major changes are expected in the areas sown to the main coarse grains crops this year compared to last. A slight increase is expected for Maize, but a decrease for sorghum. Maize planting was reported to be virtually complete by May 22, well ahead of the average pace reflecting favourable dry conditions. By the end of the month most of the crop had emerged, and significant rainshowers in several parts of the Corn Belt had somewhat relieved earlier concerns over insufficient moisture availability. In the USDA May 30 Crop Progress Report the bulk of the crop was rated in fair to good condition (fair: 24 percent fair, good: 55 percent), virtually the same as the ratings for the crop a year earlier. However, with large subsoil moisture deficits recorded in many parts after the early season dry weather, much more good rainfall will still be needed in the coming weeks. Based on the indicated areas planted, and assuming sufficient rainfall during the remainder of the season, aggregate 2000 coarse grains output in the United States is forecast at 271.3 million tonnes, 2.8 percent up from the previous year.
Planting of the 2000/01 rice crop is almost complete. According to the Prospective Plantings report, farmers intend to cut the area under rice to about 1.38 million hectares. This would be down by over 5 percent from the previous season, in response to the substantial decline in rice prices in the preceding season that has fostered a farmers' switch to more lucrative crops. Based on intended area, rice/paddy output in 2000/01 is officially forecast at 9.1 million tonnes.