NORTH AMERICA

CANADA (1 December)

The main wheat harvest is virtually completed and although drought conditions earlier this summer lowered some yields, crop quality is reported to be good. The exception is northern Alberta where excess rain has delayed harvest and grain quality has been affected. The latest official estimate puts the 1997 wheat crop at some 23.5 million tons, 21 percent down from last year. However, this reflects an 8 percent reduction in area, due to a shift from wheat to oilseed production, as well as the lower yields. Coarse grains production is expected to decrease in 1997 after reduced plantings and drought conditions earlier in the summer which reduced yields. Aggregate coarse grains output is officially estimated at 25 million tons, about 12 percent down from the previous year, but still above the average of the past 7 years.

UNITED STATES (1 December)

The November USDA crop report estimates the 1997 aggregate (winter and spring) wheat output at 68.8 million tons, some 10 percent above the harvest in 1996. Most of the increase is due to a sharp recovery in winter wheat output after last year's poor crop, while the spring wheat harvest output remained virtually unchanged from the previous year. Planting of winter wheat for the 1998 harvest is virtually complete, and early estimates point to an increased area compared to the previous year and the crop is reported to be in generally good condition. Harvesting of the 1997 coarse grains crop is virtually completed, and latest estimates confirm another good crop close to last year’s output. In the USDA's November crop report aggregate coarse grain production was raised slightly to 265.6 million tons, compared to 267.8 million tons in 1996. Maize Output is estimated at 237.7 million tons, virtually unchanged from 1996.