CANADA (3 June)
Latest information confirms earlier expectations of a decline in the overall wheat area for the 2002 harvest. The latest official forecast puts the wheat area to be harvested later this year at 10.4 million hectares, about 6 percent down from the previous year. The average yield expected is currently put at nearly 2.2 tonnes per hectare, somewhat less then earlier forecast following some extremely dry conditions in Saskatchewan in Western Canada, but still well above the previous year’s reduced level. The country’s aggregate wheat output is now forecast at just over 23 million tonnes, about 1.7 million tonnes up from 2001. For coarse grains, latest indications continue to point to an increase in area. The barley area is expected to increase by 15 percent to about 5 million hectares, that of oats, by almost 21 percent, to some 1.6 million hectares, and that of maize, by 5 percent to 1.3 million hectares. Yield prospects for coarse grains are also more favourable than in the previous year, and the aggregate coarse grain output is forecast at 28.4 million tonnes, 24 percent up from last year.
UNITED STATES (14 June)
Winter wheat production is set to fall to the lowest level since 1978 in anticipation of one of the smallest harvested areas ever recorded and expectations for yields well below the average of the past five years. Based on conditions in early June, the latest official forecast for the winter wheat output is 33.7 million tonnes, 9 percent below last year’s crop. Regarding spring wheat, planting was virtually complete by the end of May and, if early indications in the USDA's Prospective Plantings Report have materialized, the area will be down by about 3 percent from 2001 to 7.3 million hectares. Based on these latest indications, the country’s aggregate wheat output is set to fall further this year, and could drop below 50 million tonnes for the first time since 1993. With regard to coarse grains, planting of the main crops was well advanced by the end of May, although, for maize and sorghum, slightly behind the average pace of the past five years. According to the USDA's Prospective Plantings Report, a 4 percent increase in maize area is expected after reductions last year due to adverse wet weather, while, by contrast, a sharp 12 percent decrease is forecast for sorghum. Based on the indicated areas planted, and assuming normal weather conditions prevail for the remainder of the season, aggregate 2002 coarse grains output in the United States is forecast at about 267 million tonnes, which would be about 2 percent up on the previous year. Of the total, maize would account for 245 million tonnes. The area sown to rice in 2002 is likely to remain close to that of last year. However, assuming a return to normal conditions after the excellent season in 2001, production will probably decline somewhat this year.