GIEWS COUNTRY UPDATES

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AFRICA

ASIA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE AND OCEANIA

NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE AND OCEANIA

NORTH AMERICA

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CANADA (20 September)

With the harvest of the bulk of the wheat crop in the main producing regions in western Canada virtually complete, latest official forecasts continue to point to a decrease in total wheat production in 2006, of about 3 percent. The reduction is due to sharp declines in both area and yield of durum wheat, production of which is now forecast to reach just 3.4 million tonnes, compared to almost 6 million tonnes in 2005. The reduction in the durum output is expected to more than offset an increase in production of other wheat.

The non-durum wheat area for harvest this year is estimated to be up by 17 percent, which would more than offset lower yields expected and could result in a crop of about 22.8 million tonnes, compared to 20.9 million tonnes last year. However, it is noted that the quality of all crops is above average, largely a reflection of the favourable conditions allowing a rapid harvest at the optimum time.

For coarse grains, latest indications point to a marginal decrease in the overall area, along with a significant switch to more oats and less barley compared to the previous year. With yields expected to return closer to average, as for wheat, the aggregate coarse grain output is forecast at some 23.6 million tonnes, nearly 8 percent down from last year.

UNITED STATES (15 September)

With the wheat harvest virtually complete by the end of August, the USDA’s September Crop Report confirmed earlier estimates of an aggregate wheat output of about 49 million tonnes, 14 percent below the 2005 crop and well below the average of the past five years. An overall increase in plantings was more than offset by a sharp drop in yields following drought during a large part of the 2005/06 season. Planting of the winter wheat crop for harvest in 2007 was reported to be about 20 percent done as of mid-September. This is somewhat behind the average pace as fieldwork is hampered in some areas by wet fields, and in others by excessive dryness.

With regard to coarse grains, harvesting of maize was underway in the southern states as of early September. The area for harvest is estimated to be about 4 percent down from the previous year but better yields are expected, and output is forecast up marginally on last year’s at 282.3 million tonnes, which would be the second largest crop on record after 2004. Crop conditions and yield prospects improved across the northern Great Plains and the western Corn Belt in August following favourable rainfall. Output of other coarse grains is expected to decrease in 2006 after planted areas were reduced and also because smaller yields are forecast.

EUROPE

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EU (26 June)

Total cereal production in the EU in 2006 is forecast at 269 million tonnes, which is 9 million tonnes higher than last year. The increase is mainly accounted for by France, Germany and Spain. Output of wheat is forecast to increase to 128.6 million tonnes, almost 4 percent up from last year's already above-average crop. In France, despite dry conditions at the beginning of the season, yields are expected to be higher than last year and, combined with an increased area, production is forecast to rise by about 5 percent to almost 39 million tonnes. In Germany, the wheat area has not changed significantly this year but despite an abnormally cold spring, which delayed crop development, higher yields are expected, and production is forecast to rise to 25 million tonnes, 5 percent up from 2005. Spain is also expected to harvest a larger wheat crop this year of about 6.2 million tonnes, which although somewhat down from earlier expectations, would still be well above last year's drought-stricken crop of just 3.8 million tonnes. Among the other major wheat producers, output is expected to change little in the United Kingdom, where forecast is to remain close to the five-year average at 14.7, but could drop again this year in Poland to about 8.3 million tonnes because of harsh winter conditions and a significant delay encountered with the spring wheat sowing campaign. Regarding coarse grains, the total EU output is forecast at 138.2 million tonnes, 4.6 million tonnes up from 2005. For barley, as for wheat, most of the increase is expected in France, Germany and Spain, partly due to increased areas and partly due to improved yields expected. The latter is most relevant in Spain where a significant recovery in yields of all cereals is expected after the severe drought-reduced levels last year. Maize production is not expected to change much in 2006. Slightly larger crops in France and Italy are likely to be offset by smaller harvests in Hungary and Germany.

ALBANIA (20 September)

Weather conditions for the 2006 cereal crops were generally satisfactory. Abundant rains in June allowed some recovery in crop conditions after the May dry spell and improved production prospects. Output of wheat, the main cereal crop, is estimated at around last year’s level and the average of the past few years at 260 000 tonnes. Imports of wheat would also remain close to last year’s level at about 390 000 tonnes, in order to meet normal utilization requirements of around 650 000 tonnes.

BELARUS (13 September)

Latest reports show that cereal harvesting has been completed and aggregate output is estimated at about 5.7 million tonnes, 250 000 tonnes down on last year’s good harvest. This aggregate includes over 1 million tonnes of wheat, about 1.8 million tonnes of barley, 1.6 million tonnes of rye and 625 000 tonnes of maize.

The aggregate cereal import requirement during the 2006/07 marketing year is forecast at about 695 000 tonnes, including 295 000 tonnes of wheat, 270 000 tonnes of maize and 110 000 tonnes of barley. Cereal exports in the same period includes 60 000 tonnes of rye.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (19 September)

Latest reports show that cereal harvesting is nearly complete and aggregate output is estimated at just over 1 million tonnes, nearly 100 000 tonnes down from the five-year average harvest. This total includes 180 000 tonnes of wheat, 750 000 tonnes of maize and 55 000 tonnes of barley. Cereal import requirement for the 2006/07 marketing year is forecast at about 570 000 tonnes, including 40 000 tonnes in food aid. Total import requirements include some 400 000 tonnes of wheat, 150 000 tonnes of maize and 20 000 tonnes of barley.

BULGARIA (15 September)

The 2006 wheat harvest was virtually complete by the end of August, and based on results to that date, the total output by the end of the season is officially forecast to reach 3.2 million tonnes, 8 percent lower than last year’s crop and below average but in line with expectations. However, for barley, contrary to earlier indications, the total crop (winter and spring) has increased 13 percent from last year to and estimated 547 000 tonnes.

Severe winter conditions destroyed some of the crop, prompting the reduction of the production forecast earlier in the year but the yield of the surviving area turned out better than expected. The area sown to maize in 2006 increased slightly but yields are not expected to match the bumper levels achieved last year and output may fall somewhat.

CROATIA (19 September)

Cereal harvesting is complete and aggregate output is estimated at 3.1 million tonnes, slightly up on the harvest last year. This aggregate includes 500 000 tonnes of wheat, 2.4 million tonnes of maize and 160 000 tonnes of barley. Total cereal exports during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at about 270 000 tonnes of mainly maize and cereal imports in the same period are estimated at 152 000 tonnes.

MOLDOVA (12 September)

Cereal harvesting is complete and aggregate output is estimated at nearly 2.3 million tonnes, some 250 000 tonnes down on the good harvest in 2005. Unfavourable weather conditions in winter compromised the wheat crop significantly and the total wheat output is now estimated at 700 000 tonnes, which is 350 000 tonnes down on the harvest in 2005. This year’s aggregate cereal harvest also includes some 1.3 million tonnes of maize and 260 000 tonnes of barley. Aggregate cereal exports during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at 230 000 tonnes, which includes 55 000 tonnes of wheat, 80 000 tonnes of barley and 95 000 tonnes of maize. Moldova exported some 323 000 tonnes of cereals during the 2005/06 marketing year.

ROMANIA (15 September)

Confirming earlier expectations, the 2006 wheat production is estimated at 5.3 million tonnes, 27 percent down from last year’s crop and about 10 percent below the five-year average. The reduction was largely a result of severe cold spells and extensive floods over the winter. However, it is reported that, contrary to last year, this year’s harvest has a higher proportion of food-quality wheat, which is contributing to the increase in prices on the domestic market. It is estimated that of the total crop, about 3.5 million tonnes is fit for food consumption, which would more than cover the domestic needs for the year, and imports, if any, will be for fodder or seed. The maize harvest is reported to be underway as of mid-September. Official forecasts point to a crop of about 10 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from last year’s output and close to the average of the past five years.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION (13 September)

Cereal harvesting is complete and aggregate cereal output this year is estimated at just over 71 million tonnes, more than 5 million tonnes down from last year’s harvest. Severely cold weather and thin snow cover in winter compromised winter wheat significantly and aggregate wheat output, estimated at 41.5 million tonnes, is more than 6 million tonnes down from the 2005 harvest. Barley output is estimated at 17.2 million tonnes, rye at 2.8 million tonnes and maize at 3.3 million tonnes.

Total cereal exports in the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at just over 9 million tonnes, some 3.2 million tonnes down on 2005/06. Aggregate exports include some 6.88 million tonnes of wheat and about 2.2 million tonnes of barley. The aggregate cereal import requirement during the 2006/07 marketing year is forecast at about 2.2 million tonnes, including just over 1 million tonne of food-quality wheat and 430 000 tonnes of rice.

Civil strife in Chechnya continues to disrupt social and economic activities. The conflict has displaced more than 300 000 people, 187 000 of whom are internally displaced, 30 000 live in Ingushetia and 9 000 live in Dagestan.

SERBIA (12 September)

Cereal harvesting is complete and aggregate output is estimated at just over 8 million tonnes, some 1.5 million tonnes down on the harvest in 2005. The lower than expected harvest is mainly due to harsh winter weather that reportedly damaged more than 5 percent of the winter cereals. The estimated cereal harvest includes some 1.8 million tonnes of wheat, 5.7 million tonnes of maize and 400 000 tonnes of barley. Cereal exports during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at about 405 000 tonnes and includes 100 000 tonnes of wheat, 280 000 tonnes of maize and 25 000 tonnes of barley. High quality food-wheat imports for the same period are forecast at about 110 000 tonnes, in addition to 10 000 tonnes of rice and 10 000 tonnes of barley.

UKRAINE (13 September)

Cereal harvesting in Ukraine has been completed and aggregate output is estimated at 34.5 million tonnes compared with 37.4 million tonnes in 2005. Harsh winter conditions compromised significant areas planted with winter cereals but favourable weather conditions in spring allowed some replanting and replenished soil moisture improving yields. Wheat was the most affected crop, output of which is down by about 5 million tonnes compared with 18.7 million tonnes harvest in 2005. The estimated harvest also includes some 12 million tonnes of barley (8.9 million tonnes in 2005) and 6.3 million tonnes of maize.

Aggregate cereal exports during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at 9.8 million tonnes, compared with about 13.2 million tonnes in 2005/06. This total includes some 2.9 million tonnes of wheat, 4.3 million tonnes of barley and about 2.5 million tonnes of maize.

OCEANIA

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AUSTRALIA (22 September)

As the winter grain season progresses towards the start of harvest (about November in most parts), earlier predications of a drier than average winter cropping season in 2006 have materialized. Throughout most cropping regions crops have been stressed by lack of moisture, and in some parts this has been compounded by particularly hot temperatures. The latest official forecast for winter grain production released in the ABARE September Crop Report, has been revised downward sharply. Output of wheat in 2006 is now forecast at just 16.4 million tonnes, 35 percent down from last year and well below the five-year average. Output of barley is seen to fall by 41 percent to just 5.8 million tonnes. Early prospects for the summer cereals to be planted in the coming weeks are somewhat mixed. The sorghum area could be maintained about the level of last year as plenty fallow land is available in summer crop areas because of reduced winter plantings. However, good spring rains will be vital to allow planting to proceed and for crop establishment. The rice area is expected to decrease sharply in response to the reduced availability of irrigation supplies available after the dry winter.

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