CANADA (11 February)
Latest estimates put the 1999 wheat output at some 26.8 million tonnes, 11 percent up from the previous year and above the average of the past five years. Regarding the 2000 wheat crop, the bulk of which will be sown in the spring, latest official forecasts point to a possible increase in area at the expense of canola and flaxseed because of their relatively lower prices. Aggregate output of coarse grains in 1999 is estimated at 26.9 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the previous year and above average.
UNITED STATES (11 February)
The final official estimate of the 1999 wheat crop is 62.7 million tonnes, 9.5 percent down from 1998 and below the average of the past five years. The decrease mostly reflects reduced plantings and a lower ratio of harvested to planted land than in the previous year. The winter wheat area for the 2000 crop has declined for the fourth year in succession, by 1 percent, to an estimated 17.4 million hectares. Farmers are reported to have responded to continuing low price prospects for wheat at planting time last autumn. While it is expected that some of the unused wheat area will be planted with feed grains or non-cereal crops this spring, some will likely remain fallow, especially in the drier areas of the Southern Great Plains. Regarding growing conditions for the winter wheat, dry weather during the autumn of 1999 delayed emergence and affected the crop in several parts of the Great Plains as it entered the winter season. According to the last official Crop Progress report of the 1999 season in late November, overall, only 43 percent of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent, 29 percentage points below the ratings at the same time in 1998. Since then, continuing dry conditions throughout most of the Great Plains have largely precluded any improvement in crops conditions, and in some cases a deterioration has been noted.
The final estimate of the 1999 coarse grains crop is 264 million tonnes, about 3 percent down from the previous year’s crop but still above the average of the past five years. Of the total, maize is estimated to account for about 240 million tonnes.
Harvesting of the 1999 paddy crop is complete in all states. Output is estimated at a record 9.5 million tonnes, about 12 percent up from last year. In addition to the 7 percent expansion in area, favourable growing conditions boosted yields by 3 percent to about 6.6 tonnes per hectare.