The bulk of the 1999 wheat crop is due to be sown in May/June. Planting intentions are uncertain and are likely to be influenced by market developments in the coming weeks. However, latest indications based on projected returns for Canadian producers in 1999, indicate little change over the area and production of wheat in the previous year. The bulk of the coarse grains crops will be sown in May-June.
UNITED STATES (9 April)
A significant reduction in wheat output is expected in 1999. Latest official estimates put winter wheat plantings at 17.6 million hectares, the lowest since 1972/73 and down 7 percent from 1998, while early indications for spring wheat plantings point to an area similar to the previous year’s level of 8 million hectares. Assuming the forecast spring wheat area materializes, even if normal conditions prevail for the rest of the growing season, wheat output in the United States is forecast to fall to about 59 million tonnes, compared to some 69 million tonnes in 1998. Some early coarse grains crops are already in the ground in southern parts, but the bulk of the maize planting in the Corn Belt states takes place from late April. Early indications in the USDA Prospective Plantings report point to a slight reduction in maize plantings this year, to 31.7 million hectares. The sorghum area is also expected to decrease somewhat. Planting of the 1999 rice crop is underway. In response to lower rice prices, early forecasts point to an area of about 1.3 million hectares, some 4-5 percent down from last year.