CANADA (3 April)
In Canada, the bulk of the 2001 wheat crop is due to be sown from May to June. The area planted is expected to expand marginally from the previous year and overall output of wheat is tentatively forecast at almost 27 million tonnes, compared to 26.8 million tonnes in 2000. The bulk of the coarse grains crops will be sown in May-June. Latest indications of farmers planting intentions point to a likely increase in area dedicated to the main coarse grains. Output of barley and maize are currently forecast to increase by 9.5 percent and almost 30 percent respectively to 14.7 million tonnes and 8.9 million tonnes respectively.
UNITED STATES (2 April)
Wheat output in the United States could decline further in 2001. Winter wheat plantings fell to their lowest level since 1971 and harsh weather in some areas in late 2000 delayed crop emergence while a reduction in the spring wheat area is also in prospect. Latest official estimates put the winter wheat areas at 16.7 million hectares, some 800 000 hectares or 5 percent less than in the previous year. Early indications for spring wheat plantings in the USDA Prospective Planting Report point to a 1.2 percent reduction in area to about 7.7 million hectares. A sharp decline in durum plantings is expected to more than offset a marginal increase in the area sown to other spring wheat. Based on the estimate of the winter wheat area and the spring wheat planting intentions, and assuming normal weather conditions prevail for the rest of the season, FAO currently forecasts the aggregate 2001 wheat output in the United States at about 60 million tonnes, slightly down from the previous year's below-average crop.
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 Planting Report point to 4 percent reduction in maize plantings but a 2 percent increase for sorghum. Planting of the 2001 rice crop in the United States is expected to start in March/April. Output is forecast to reach 8.9 million tonnes, 200 000 tonnes more than last year. This forecast is based on expectations of a 4.2 percent expansion in area but a return to normal yields from the exceptionally high levels achieved last year. Paddy producers have benefited since 1999 from high government support that has boosted their incomes, notwithstanding low international prices. As a result, rice remains an attractive crop.