This reports includes the weather briefs, production briefs, and commodity feature articles from the full World Agricultural Production circular, with the exception of some of the statistical tables and charts. This report draws on information from USDA's global network of agricultural attaches and counselors, official statistics of foreign governments, other foreign source materials, and results of office analysis. Estimates of U.S. acreage, yield, and production are from the USDA Agricultural Statistics Board, except where noted. This report is based on unrounded data; numbers may not add to totals because of rounding. The report reflects official USDA estimates released in the World Agricultural Supply Estimates (WASDE-329) August 12, 1997. The report was prepared by the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division, FAS, AG STOP 1045, 14th and Independence Ave., Washington, DC 20250-1045. Further information may be obtained by writing to the division, or by calling (202) 720-0888, 9516, or by FAX (202) 720-8880. The report was prepared by the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division, FAS, AGBOX 1045, 14th and Independence Ave., Washington, DC 20250-1045. Further information may be obtained by writing to the division, or by calling (202) 720-0888, 9516, or by FAX (202) 720-8880. We plan to issue PART 2 of this circular every month, normally 5 working days AFTER the release of Part 1. The next issue of World Agricultural Production, Part 1, will be available electronically after 3:30 pm local time on September 15, 1997.
A drying trend during June 1997 throughout eastern Australia reduced moisture for early winter grain development. Temperatures averaged below normal across the main winter grains belt, with frost and freezing temperatures hampering early development. During the first week of July 1997, beneficial showers swept across Western Australia's winter grain belt, increasing topsoil moisture for crop establishment. Dry and cool weather continued to dominate the east. During July 6 - 12, showers brushed the growing areas of Western and southeastern Australia. In the west, rain maintained generally favorable topsoil moisture reserves for vegetative growth. In the southeast, however, showers, if any, were too scattered and light to significantly help parched soils. Elsewhere, dry weather dominated interior crop areas of east-central Australia, although a few mostly light showers were scattered throughout southern Queensland. During July 13 - 19, light showers dampened topsoils in the primary winter grain growing areas of the west and southeast. Dryness continued in New South Wales and Queensland. During the following week, July 20 - 26, a frontal system swept across southern Australia, bringing scattered showers to the winter grain belts. In Western Australia, rainfall totaled 2- 18 millimeters in the major crop areas, with heavier amounts (25 - 50 millimeters) along the coast. Light showers moistened topsoils in the southeast but were far too light to significantly improve moisture reserves. Moderate showers developed over New South Wales, but activity diminished from the Darling Downs northward. From July 27 through August 2, dry weather dominated the major winter grain areas. Temperatures, that week averaged 2 to 3 degrees C above normal in Western Australia and near- to below-normal in the eastern grain belts, with freezing temperatures continuing even as far north as Queensland. In August, seasonal warming across Australia typically spurs growth to the extent that barley and some wheat begin heading in Queensland. August and September will, therefore, be critical months for gaining needed rainfall, especially in the southeast.
In June 1997, rainfall was near-to-above normal over all but southeastern Europe, i.e., southern Italy to Bulgaria. During the first week of July 1997, rainfall continued in northeast Europe. Germany and Poland received 15 - 50 millimeters that week and the rain threatened crop quality. Soaking rains (18 - 60 millimeters) also fell in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. During July 13 - 19, moderate-to-heavy rain covered a broad area of central and eastern Europe. The heaviest rain was concentrated over Austria and the Czech Republic, exacerbating flooding and increasing the potential for lodging of small grains from southern Germany to southern Poland. From July 20 - 26, wet weather continued to aggravate flooding in eastern Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The persistent rainy pattern in these areas slowed winter grain maturation and harvesting, caused some crop lodging, and increased the potential for wet-weather related diseases. During July 27 through August 2, rain continued to saturate soils in these areas. That week, thunderstorms also produced moderate-to-heavy rain in Romania, Bulgaria, and eastern areas in former Yugoslavia, delaying winter grain harvesting and likely causing localized flooding and crop lodging.
During June 1997, rainfall averaged less than 75 percent of normal across most of the North China Plain and western Jilin. Near-to-above normal June rainfall prevailed elsewhere in China. During the week of June 29 through July 5, 1997, widespread, timely rain fell across the North China Plain, benefitting vegetative summer crops. Heavier rain was reported across the southern portion of the North China Plain, boosting irrigation supplies. Beneficial rain covered most of Manchuria, but western Jilin received less than 10 millimeters. Also that week, widespread showers blanketed central and southern China, maintaining abundant moisture supplies for rice but slowing early double-crop rice harvesting. Excessive rainfall caused local flooding in Hubei and Guangdong. During July 6 - 12, warm and mostly dry weather returned to the North China Plain, increasing stress on vegetative summer crops. Temperatures averaged 3 to 4 degrees C above normal, with highs ranging from 37 to 40 degrees C. In Manchuria, mostly dry weather in the south reduced soil moisture for summer crops, but moderate rain fell elsewhere across the region. Widespread showers covered central and southern China, maintaining abundant moisture supplies for rice but slowing early double-crop rice harvesting. Excessive showers fell in portions of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Fujian, causing flooding and possible damage to mature early rice. During July 13 - 19, widespread late-week showers brought much needed relief to reproductive corn, soybeans, and cotton across the North China Plain. The moisture was especially welcome since warm, dry weather earlier in the week stressed summer crops. Heavier showers caused flooding across Hubei and northern Anhui and Jiangsu. Light-to-moderate rain fell across Manchuria. Somewhat drier weather prevailed across southeastern China, helping to ease flooding. Excessive rainfall in Guangdong, however, continued to exacerbate flooding, delaying late-double rice transplanting, and possibly damaging coastal sugarcane. During July 20 - 26, moderate rain across Shandong Province in the North China Plain favored vegetative-to-reproductive summer crops. Lighter amounts fell elsewhere across the region, limiting soil moisture. The below-normal summer rainfall is causing some declines in summer crop yield prospects, especially for corn. Light-to-moderate rain fell across Manchuria, with rainfall more scattered across the south. Widespread showers continued to maintain moisture supplies across central and southern China. Late in the week of July 27 through August 2, showers brought some relief to stressed summer crops across the North China Plain, but more rain is needed to stabilize yield prospects. Earlier in the week, temperatures ranged warmer than normal. Heavier showers in central and southern Hebei provided significant relief. Widespread moderate showers benefitted reproductive summer crops and filling spring wheat across Manchuria. Showers continued to favor summer crops across Sichuan, the Yangtze Valley, and most of southern China. Tropical Cyclone Victor hit Guangdong on August 2, with sustained winds of 55 knots. The storm helped to produce heavy coastal rain and the subsequent flooding caused local damage to rice and sugarcane.
Australian wheat production for 1997/98 is forecast at 16.0 million tons, down 32 percent from 1996/97 due to a decrease in planted area and unfavorable weather. Area is forecast at 10.8 million hectares, down 3 percent from 1996/97. The decrease in area reflects drought-reduced plantings.
Wheat-growing areas in Australia have been significantly drier than normal, particularly in the southeastern growing regions. Victoria and South Australia, historically producing roughly 26 percent of the wheat, had low soil moisture at planting and are most affected by the below-average rainfall. The recent and much needed rains in the southern areas will only partially offset the extremely dry conditions to-date. In addition, the USDA agricultural counselor in Canberra reports that heavy frosts have been recorded in many areas of southern New South Wales and Victoria. Queensland and New South Wales, producing 33 percent of all wheat, had satisfactory soil moisture, but conditions have deteriorated with lack of precipitation. Heading will occur in late August for Queensland and New South Wales. The remaining growing areas will be heading in September. Western Australia historically produces about 40 percent of Australia's wheat. Growing conditions in Western Australia remain good and production may approach last year's 7.7 million tons.
Bulgaria's 1997/98 wheat production is forecast at 3.3 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month's forecast of 2.8 million. Harvested area is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month. The increase in production is primarily based on early harvest results which showed area and yield to be higher than previously expected. The weather throughout the growing season has been favorable for crop development. Bulgaria is coming off a devastated 1.8 million ton crop in 1996/97 which was down primarily because of unfavorable weather during planting, overwintering, and early spring development.
Favorable weather and soil moisture at planting got the Canadian wheat and barley crops off to a good start this season; however, hot, dry weather across most of the Prairie Provinces in July, especially in southern Saskatchewan, has lowered overall yield potential. Canadian wheat production is projected at 23.5 million tons compared with 25.5 million in July, and barley production is projected at 13.5 million tons, down from 14.0 million last month. Yields are estimated at 2.06 tons per hectare for wheat, 8 percent below the 5-year average, and 2.92 tons per hectare for barley, 3 percent below the 5-year average. Yields are not projected to be off as sharply in Alberta (Canada's largest barley-producing province) or Manitoba as they are in Saskatchewan.
Excellent yields and record planted area resulted in a record estimated wheat crop for China for 1997/98. Production is estimated at 121.0 million tons, up more than 10 million from last year. Encouraged by high procurement prices, farmers expanded winter wheat area by more than 400,000 hectares this year. The winter wheat crop, which was planted in the fall of 1996 and harvested in June, 1997, benefitted from ideal weather during reproduction, filling, and harvesting. The Chinese Government announced that the summer grain harvest, of which winter wheat accounts for more than 85 percent, reached 124.0 million tons in 1997. The spring wheat crop, grown north and west of the Great Wall, will be harvested in August. Weather has been mixed and a near-normal crop is expected.
Corn production in China is estimated at 110.0 million metric tons for 1997/98, down 12.0 million or 10 percent from last month and down 17.0 million or 14 percent from last year's record crop. Corn area is estimated at 23.5 million hectares, down 1.0 million from a year ago. A drought in parts of the Northeast and the North China Plain cut prospective corn yields to 4.68 tons/hectare, down 10 percent from last year and below the 5-year average. Planting proceeded normally across the Northeast, but dryness delayed planting in parts of the North China Plain. The USDA agricultural counselor in Beijing reported that unusually hot and dry weather in June and July caused significant stress to non-irrigated corn in Hebei and Jilin Provinces. Moderate-to-heavy rainfall in late July and early August helped alleviate the drought in many areas, though Chinese officials are concerned that the rain may have come too late to improve crop prospects in the worst-affected parts of Shandong and Hebei.
China's 1997/98 soybean crop is estimated at 13.5 million metric tons, down 1.0 million or 7 percent from last month, but unchanged from last year. Soybean area is estimated at 8.2 million hectares, down 300,000 hectares from last month, but up 400,000 hectares from 1996/97. Year to year, farmers planted less corn and more soybeans following last year's record corn harvest, but the USDA agricultural counselor in Beijing reports that the shift was smaller than anticipated, particularly in Heilongjiang Province. Summer rainfall was adequate and crop conditions are generally favorable in Heilongjiang where more than 30 percent of China's soybeans are grown. However, hot and dry weather in June and July stressed soybeans and peanuts in other parts of the Northeast and the North China Plain. The drought was especially severe in Shandong Province, which accounts for more than 30 percent and 9 percent of China's peanuts and soybeans, respectively. China's peanut production is estimated at 9.0 million tons, down 1.0 million from last month and down 1.1 million from last year. The reduction is based on lower projected yields due to the drought on the North China Plain and a reduction in estimated area due to dry conditions during the planting season. Scattered showers in late July and early August eased the drought and may have prevented further crop losses.
NORTH KOREA: DROUGHT CUTS RICE AND CORN OUTPUT
An extended drought centered on the northern half of the country has had a serious impact on North Korea's rice and corn output for 1997/98. The corn crop is estimated at 1.3 million tons, down 0.5 million or 28 percent from last month and down 35 percent from an average level. The projected yield of 2.17 tons/hectare is the lowest in more than 30 years. Rice output for 1997/98 was reduced 8 percent this month to 1.25 million tons (milled basis) and is down 4 percent from last year's weather-reduced crop. Recent rainfall has improved moisture conditions in the western part of the country, but the rainfall deficit is still very large in many locations, especially in the north and east. This year's drought follows two consecutive years of destructive flooding that reduced the corn and rice crops.
India's 1997/98 cotton crop is forecast at 12.5 million bales, 5 percent lower than the record crop of 13.1 million produced in 1996/97, but 0.5 million higher than last month's estimate. Area is forecast at 9.0 million hectares, virtually unchanged from last season's record level and slightly higher than the earlier estimate of 8.8 million hectares. The monsoon arrived two weeks later than normal this year, generating concerns of widespread dryness for many areas. Since that time, the rains have progressed but have not been consistent in all areas. The return of monsoon rains in late July led to resumption of planting in the previously moisture stressed areas of Maharastra and Karnataka. Recent crop surveys, in the State of Maharastra suggest that planting this year may surpass the previous state record cotton area by as much as 4 percent. This has offset a reported decline in area planted in Punjab. By late July all the major cotton-growing areas, except for coastal Andra Pradesh. Had received sufficient rains. The national picture will become clearer in the next couple of weeks when planting in the central and southern states is completed.
Drier, warmer weather in July allowed farmers across the United States to cultivate fields and apply fertilizer and pesticides. Sunshine and warmth early in the month promoted rapid crop growth throughout the Corn Belt. Progress of corn and soybeans took a drastic jump in the middle of July that corresponded to the jump in planting progress earlier in the spring. By the end of the month, both corn silking and soybean setting pods were ahead of last year and the average. Lack of moisture began to stress the crops as the month progressed, but temperatures turned cooler at month's end to moderate the stress slightly. Crop conditions remained good in areas that received scattered showers.
After a slow start in June, winter wheat harvesting progressed rapidly in July due to generally warm, dry weather in the major winter wheat-producing states. The harvest in the southern Plains and Southeast finished by mid-month, slightly ahead of average. In the northern Plains and Northwest, the harvest progressed behind the normal pace until the end of the month, when dry, sunny weather allowed farmers into ripe fields. Timely showers along the northern tier of States provided enough moisture for spring small grain development to catch up after late planting. Spring wheat and barley completed heading ahead of last year and the average. Late-month cool, wet weather in the North Dakota promoted the development of head and foliar diseases. Oats were harvested at the average national pace. Spring wheat and barley harvest was just underway by month's end.
Torrential rains along the path of Hurricane Danny's remnants may have caused damage to some fields in the Southeast, but most crops benefitted from the much-needed moisture. Cotton fields developed ahead of normal in the western cotton-producing states, but Southeastern fields progressed behind normal. Progress was well ahead of normal in California and Arizona as seasonable temperatures provided good growing conditions. Toward the end of the month, the cotton acreage in Mississippi and Texas showed signs of moisture stress. Cotton, peanut, and rice fields benefitted from showers along the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts at the end of the month. Peanut and rice fields developed behind the normal pace.
The Nation's sorghum crop progressed near normal for most of the month. Areas in the central Plains and Corn Belt showed signs of moisture stress toward the end of the month. Persistent dryness stressed both crops and pastures throughout the middle Atlantic Coast and eastern Ohio Valley.
Uzbekistan cotton production for 1997/98 is estimated at 5.8 million bales, up 0.2 million from July and up 1.0 million from last year. Lint yield is forecast to rebound to 842 kilograms, up 22 percent from last year. Despite unusually heavy rainfall during March and April that entailed extensive re- planting, the cotton crop benefitted from above-average temperatures during June as it advanced into the reproductive stage. Cotton is a heat-loving plant; adequate heat at this stage of crop development is an important factor in determining potential yield, and June temperatures can be used as one indicator of final output. Over the past twelve years, the five highest cotton yields (averaging 856 kg/ha) have come in years when June temperatures were above normal: 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991. Conversely, low June temperatures have contributed to reduced yields in 1987 (713 kg/ha), 1992 (764 kg/ha), and 1996 (689 kg/ha).
In western crop regions, well-above-normal rainfall in July drenched crops in Ukraine and southern Russia (North Caucasus, southern Black Soils Region, the middle and lower Volga Valley), delaying winter grain harvesting and threatening crop quality. The precipitation (100 - 200 millimeters with locally scattered amounts in excess of 200 millimeters) fell frequently during the month and followed above-normal rainfall in June, keeping soils saturated. Although the rain provided abundant to excessive moisture for summer crops, unseasonably cool weather slowed crop development. Farther north, below- normal precipitation in northern Russia (Northwest Region, Central Region, and Volga Vyatsk) along with near-normal temperatures favored winter grain maturation and early harvesting. Since early August, widespread showers continued in western and southern Ukraine, causing further delays in harvesting. Warm, dry weather in central and northern Russia helped harvest activities.
In crop areas east of the Volga Valley, near- to above-normal precipitation in July in most of Russia and Kazakstan favored spring grains which advanced through the reproductive phase of development. However, patchy areas of dryness remained in the Altay Kray region in Russia as well as in eastern Kazakstan. Unseasonably cool weather persisted throughout July in Russia and Kazakstan, slowing crop development. Monthly temperatures averaged more than 4 degrees Celsius below normal in northernmost areas in Russia and 1 to 3 degrees below normal in remaining areas. Since early August, heavy precipitation in Russian spring grain areas in the northern Urals and extreme western areas in Siberia likely caused localized flooding and some crop lodging. Spring grain areas farther east in Russia received light rain, benefitting crops in the filling stage. In Kazakstan, light showers fell over most spring grain areas, benefitting immature crops. However, a brief spell of hot weather prevailed over the eastern half of Kazakstan and adjacent areas in Russia (Altay Kray) from August 6-8, hastening maturity in spring grains. Tom Puterbaugh 720-2012 (August 1997).
Durum wheat production for 1997/98 in selected durum-producing countries is forecast at 22.9 million tons, down 5.0 million or 18 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 14.4 million hectares, down 1.0 million from last season while yield is forecast at 1.59 tons per hectare, down 12 percent from 1996/97. The world's two major durum-producing areas are the Mediterranean Basin and the North American Great Plains. The European Union (EU-15), Canada, and the United States account for nearly two-thirds of the global production. Approximately 5 percent of all wheat grown is durum and is produced primarily in the 13 countries discussed below. The 1997/98 crop is forecast to be significantly lower than last year due to decreases for the United States, EU-15, Canada, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. United States: Total U.S. durum wheat production for 1997/98 is forecast at 2.45 million tons, down 22 percent from last season. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) "Crop Production" report, released August 12, durum harvested area is forecast at 1.3 million hectares, down 10 percent from 1996/97. About 5 percent of all U.S. wheat grown in 1996/97 was durum and nearly 70 percent of the U.S. durum wheat crop is usually produced in North Dakota. This season, drought-like conditions have persisted in northeast Montana and western North Dakota; however, July rains somewhat improved yield prospects in Montana. In North Dakota, excessive early-season rainfall resulted in a shift in production to the drier northwest part of the state, and objective-yield-survey head counts are the lowest since 1989. Arizona and California's desert harvests were virtually complete by the beginning of July. According to NASS, durum production in Arizona and California has fallen 44 and 11 percent, respectively, from 1996/97 due mainly to reduced area. North Dakota's output is forecast to fall 23 percent from last season due to reduced area and yield.
EU-15: Durum wheat output for 1997/98 is forecast at 7.0 million tons, down 0.8 million or 10 percent from 1996/97. Production declines are forecast for most EU member States. Total harvested area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares, up marginally from last season. The continued strength in durum area is attributed to EU subsidies which make it more profitable to sow on marginally productive areas and a decrease in set-aside area. Although Spain had periods of dryness throughout most of the growing season, timely rains toward the end of the season supported yields to a near 5-year average. Production is forecast at 1.0 million tons, down from 1.6 million from 1996/97. Italy's production is forecast lower at 3.8 million tons, down 0.2 million from last season due to unfavorable cold, late-spring weather, despite a small increase in area. For France, growing conditions have been generally unfavorable in the southern durum producing regions as the fall and winter were dry while excessive moisture at harvest may have damaged a portion of the crop. Total yield for the EU-15 is forecast at 2.29 tons per hectare, 5 percent below the 5-year average of 2.41 tons per hectare.
Canada: Production of durum wheat in Canada is forecast at 4.2 million tons, down 0.5 million or 11 percent from the harvest of a year earlier. Durum area is forecast at 2.2 million hectares, up 0.1 million hectares or 5 percent from last season due to strong prices. Nearly 80 percent of the durum wheat is grown in Saskatchewan Province. Dry, hot weather across much of the southeast grain belt stressed the crop throughout most of the growing season. The national yield is forecast to be 13 percent below the 5-year average of 2.19 tons per hectare.
Former Soviet Union: Russia and Kazakstan are the primary producers of durum in the former Soviet Union. Durum is grown mainly in northern Kazakstan and southern Russia, particularly in the lower Volga Valley. Neither State publishes durum area or production estimates; however, Russia's durum production for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.8 million tons, virtually unchanged from the last season. In May, above-normal precipitation in Russia provided moisture favorable for spring-planted crop development. In June and July, scattered showers benefitted crop development. In Kazakstan, production is forecast at 0.7 million tons, down 13 percent from last season due to a reduction in area. Generally, favorable weather aided planting and crop development.
India: Durum production for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.8 million tons, virtually unchanged from last year. Although there are no official estimates for durum wheat, reports indicate that durum area also is unchanged from the previous season due to low price realization and marketing problems experienced last year. Durum export interest has waned and the premium for durum has plummeted. Punjab and Madhya Pradesh grow about 90 percent of India's durum wheat. Harvest occurs during April and May.
Turkey: Durum output for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.6 million tons, up 0.10 million or 7 percent from last year's crop. Generally, favorable rainfall and temperatures maintained yield near last season's level at 1.68 tons per hectare. Harvested area is forecast at 1.0 million hectares, up 6 percent from last season as farmers increased plantings in response to higher support prices. Thrace (European Turkey) and central Anatolia produce the bulk of Turkey's durum harvest. The "sunni" insect, which regularly infests the crop, was relatively inactive again this year compared to previous years. About 10 percent of the total wheat crop is thought to be durum, although estimates vary since durum production is not broken out in Turkish official statistics and production is often not marketed.
Algeria: The 1997/98 durum crop in Algeria is forecast at 0.5 million tons, down 0.5 million or 50 percent from last year's bumper crop due to drought. Harvested area is forecast at 0.7 million hectares, down 33 percent from 1996/97 as dryness at planting caused significant delays and reduced germination rates. In addition, late spring frosts and below-normal rainfall contributed to the decline. Almost 70 percent of the total area sown to wheat is durum, which is primarily located in the eastern and central wheat producing areas.
Morocco: The durum output for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.7 million tons, down 1.6 million or 69 percent from the 1996/97 near-record crop. Over the last four years, Morocco hasalternated between bumper and very poor harvests. Durum area is forecast at 1.0 million hectares, down 22 percent from last season. Excessive rainfall for several weeks during mid-November caused the durum crop to be planted late. In addition, insufficient rainfall throughout much of the growing season dropped yield 60 percent, to 0.72 tons per hectare. Slightly less than half the wheat grown in Morocco is durum wheat.
Tunisia: Durum production in Tunisia for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.8 million tons, down 0.8 million or 51 percent from the previous season's record crop of 1.4 million. General dryness throughout the growing season hampered crop emergence and reduced yield. Yield is forecast at 1.33 tons per hectare, down 26 percent from 1996/97. After last season's highest area in 18 years, harvested area is forecast at 0.6 million hectares, down 33 percent from 1996/97. About three-fourths of all wheat grown is durum, and production is centered in the northern regions of Bizerte, Le Kef, Mateur, Jendouba, and Beja.
Syria: In Syria, durum production for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.2 million tons, down 0.2 tons or 11 percent from 1996/97. Harvested area is unchanged from the previous season. Rainfall was adequate at sowing and encouraged planting, but a series of cold-weather events in February, March, and April reduced yield potential. About 40 percent of the total-wheat area is grown on irrigated land which is increasing due to the drilling of additional wells and implementation of irrigation projects in northeastern Syria. The major wheat growing areas are the northeast, central (Province of Hama), and to a lesser extent, in southern Syria.
Timothy Rocke, World Grain Chairman
Phone: (202) 720-1572 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
World wheat production for 1997/98 is estimated at a record 596.4 million tons, up 13.4 million or 2 percent from last year and surpassing the previous high of 588.0 million in 1990/91. Harvested area is estimated at 228.3 million hectares, down 1 percent from 1996/97. The average world yield is estimated at a record 2.61 tons per hectare, up 4 percent from last season. For 1997/98, wheat production in India and China is estimated at a record level. The United States, Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakstan are estimated to produce more wheat this year versus last year. (See table 3 of this circular for area, yield, and production for individual countries and regions.)
United States: Wheat production in the United States for 1997/98 is forecast at 68.9 million tons, up 6.8 million or 11 percent from last year. The yield forecast of 2.68 tons per hectare is 10 percent above last year's level and 6 percent above the 5-year average of 2.52. Winter wheat production is forecast at 50.5 million tons, up 26 percent from last year. Harvested winter wheat area is up 5 percent from last season, althought plantings are down. Last year's harvested area was cut sharply by drought and widespread winterkill. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the hard red winter objective-yield head-count forecast remains at a record high in Oklahoma and Texas, and is well above average in Kansas. Durum and other spring wheat is forecast down 16 percent from last year at 18.4 million tons. The decline is attributed to reductions in area and yield. Area is down because of weaker prices at planting and yields are lower, mainly due to prolonged, excessive moisture in the eastern growing areas of the Northern Plains States and dryness in the western areas. As of August 10, the NASS reported that the winter wheat harvest reached 90 percent of completion in the 19 major producing states, compared with 89 percent in 1996/97, and the 5-year average of 89 percent. Also, NASS reported that 42 percent of the spring wheat was in excellent to good condition; 40 percent fair; and 18 percent poor to very poor in the 5 major-producing spring wheat states. During the same period in 1996/97, 55 percent of the spring wheat was in excellent to good condition; 35 percent fair; and 10 percent poor to very poor.
Canada: Wheat production in Canada for 1997/98 is estimated at 23.5 million tons, down 7.0 million or 23 percent from last year's bumper crop. Rotation into rapeseed, unfavorable weather in parts of the Prairie Provinces, and weaker world wheat prices at planting compared to last season lowered wheat area to an estimated 11.4 million hectares, down 10 percent from 1996/97. Flooding in Manitoba and a generally cool, wet spring in Alberta delayed planting, while in east central Saskatchewan below-normal precipitation from June through mid-July stressed the wheat crop. Crop yield prospects were reduced across the Prairie States due to July's warm, dry weather with only scattered rainfall. In Ontario, winter wheat area is estimated to be down sharply as a late harvest of soybeans and a wet fall hindered planting. In addition, patchy snow cover and cold temperatures this past winter resulted in winterkill for as much as one-fifth of the crop. Production in Ontario reportedly could be only 0.6 million tons compared to 0.8 million last season and 1.4 million in 1995/96.
European Union (EU): Production in the EU for 1997/98 is forecast at bumper level 98.6 million tons and down less than 1 percent from last season's record 99.0 million-ton crop. Yields are projected at 5.71 tons per hectare, a 3- percent decrease from last year's record level. Harvested area is forecast at 17.3 million hectares, up 3 percent from a year ago and the highest since 1992/93 due to a reduction in area set-aside requirements and stronger prices compared to other crops. In France, the wheat crop is forecast at 35.5 million tons, slightly below last year's record level. Despite an increase in wheat area, reports indicate that yields are highly variable. Lower-than- normal precipitation across northern France in the spring caused moisture stress, while heavy late-season rains also contributed to a reduction in yield. Production in the United Kingdom is estimated up nearly 6 percent to a record 17.0 million tons due in part to record area. Yields are forecast to drop slightly after last year's excellent growing conditions and ideal harvest weather. As the wheat harvest approaches in Germany, crop conditions have been described as excellent with production forecast at a record 19.5 million tons, up 3 percent from 18.9 million 1996/97. A record harvested area of 2.7 million hectares and bumper yield of 7.22 tons per hectare boosted the production forecast this season. In Italy, wheat output is forecast at 7.2 million tons, down 8 percent from last season and the lowest level since 6.2 million was produced in 1977/78. Rains during October and November significantly delayed planting beyond the optimum dates. During the spring, excessive rainfall with flooding exaggerated the problem. Yield is forecast at 3.03 tons per hectare, down 8 percent from the 5-year average. Wheat production in Sweden is forecast to rise to 2.2 million tons, the highest level since 1990/91 largely because of reduced government support for rapeseed and relatively high wheat prices.
Eastern Europe: For Eastern Europe as a whole, wheat production is forecast at 33.7 million tons, up 7.4 million or 28 percent from 1996/97. Harvested area is forecast at 9.8 million, up 13 percent from last year's reduced level of 8.7 million due to generally favorable planting conditions. Recent floods damaged crops both in quality and quantity in Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. In Bulgaria and Romania, soil moisture was adequate for planting and crop establishment. Unusually warm weather in March prompted grains to break dormancy and resume spring growth. Generally favorable weather continued in Bulgaria, boosting production up 83 percent from last season to 3.3 million tons. In Romania, heavy late-season rainfall tempered production prospects, but production is forecast at 6.5 million tons, up 105 percent from the dismal 1996/97 crop. In Yugoslavia, wheat area is estimated significantly higher for 1997/98 due to a strong recovery in domestic wheat prices during the second half of 1996. Wheat output is forecast at 4.5 million tons, up 41 percent from last year's reduced level due to generally favorable weather. Serbia produces about 60 percent of the total wheat crop and Croatia 20 percent. In Poland, another bitterly-cold winter with a generally favorable spring and summer has caused production to remain near last season's level of 8.5 million tons. Harvested area is forecast at 2.4 million hectares, which has been stable over the past six years. In Hungary, production is forecast at 5.0 million tons, up 28 percent due to a mild winter and generally favorable growing season. In Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, excessive rainfall in mid-July caused flooding and reduced production potential in spite of previously favorable growing conditions; output is pegged up slightly from last season at 1.8 million and 3.8 million tons, respectively.
Australia: Wheat production in Australia during 1997/98 is estimated at 16.0 million tons, down 7.6 million tons or 32 percent from last year's record level. Harvested area is estimated to decrease 5 percent from last year due to declining world wheat prices at planting and dryness in the southeastern growing areas that forced producers to reduce their intended area. Yield prospects, at 1.48 tons per hectare, are 15 percent below the 5-year average as continued dry conditions in portions of east-central Australia and scattered frost and freezing temperatures throughout the grain belt constrain yield potential. In Western Australia, generally favorable rainfall throughout the growing season supplied sufficient topsoil moisture reserves for vegetative growth.
India: Wheat production in India during 1997/98 is estimated at a record 67.0 million tons, up 7 percent from last year based on preliminary harvest results. Harvested area is estimated up 1 percent from last year due to an increase in the government support price and favorable weather during autumn planting. Wheat yield reached a record level of 2.64 tons per hectare aided by unusual rains and cool temperatures in February and March. The 1997/98 crop was harvested in April/May.
Argentina: Wheat production in Argentina for 1997/98 is forecast at 12.7 million tons, down 21 percent from last year's record crop of 16.1 million. Harvested area is estimated at 5.8 million hectares, down 17 percent from last season's bumper area as rainfall has been below normal in portions of Santa Fe, Cordoba, and Entre Rios from June to July. In addition, wet fields in the Province of Buenos Aires caused planting delays. Yield is estimated at 2.19 tons per hectare, marginally above the 5-year average of 2.17 tons per hectare. Harvesting begins in late November in the northern regions and proceeds south through January.
China: Wheat production in China, the world's largest wheat producer, is estimated at a record 121.0 million tons in 1997/98. This output is up 10.7 million tons or 10 percent from last year. Encouraged by high procurement prices and favorable weather, farmers increased wheat area by an estimated 0.4 million hectares, to 30.0 million, and yields are projected to reach a record 4.03 tons per hectare. Winter wheat, which accounts for about 90 percent of total wheat production, was planted under excellent moisture conditions in the fall of 1996. The weather in the spring and early summer was mostly beneficial and few problems with pests are reported. Several provinces are expecting higher wheat production in 1997, including Hubei, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Gansu. The State Statistical Bureau reported that China's summer grain output (of which 86 to 88 percent is winter wheat) reached 124.0 million tons in 1997, up 10.8 million from last year and nearly 9.0 million above the previous record set in 1993. Spring wheat, grown primarily north and west of the Great Wall, has experienced variable weather this season and yield is projected to be near last season's level.
Russia: Wheat production for 1997/98 is estimated at 38.0 million tons, up 3.1 million or 9 percent from last year. Harvested wheat area is forecast 25.7 million hectares, virtually unchanged from the 1996/97 level as a decrease in winter wheat area is offset by an increase in spring wheat. (Winter wheat area is nearly half the size of spring wheat but yield is about double that of spring varieties.) A relatively mild winter for the second year resulted in reduced winterkill in European Russia. Favorable spring weather, with an early retreat of snowcover, enabled the crop to resume vegetative growth without difficulties. Conditions for spring wheat also have been favorable as widespread rain supplied abundant moisture for development. Total-wheat yield is estimated at 1.48 tons per hectare, up 9 percent from last-season's crop. Although fertilizer deliveries to farms are up, year-to- year financial constraints still plague producers as the application rates for 1997 still fall short of the levels 10 years ago.
Ukraine: Wheat production is forecast at 19.0 million tons, up 5.5 million or 41 percent from last year's poor crop of 13.5 million. Harvested area is forecast at 6.5 million hectares, up 4 percent from last year as favorable fall weather provided abundant moisture for planting and crop establishment. Reportedly, winterkill was localized in the northern growing regions, but overall the crop broke dormancy in good condition. A brief period of hot, dry weather in early May reduced topsoil moisture but widespread rain and cooler temperatures later in the season improved growing conditions. Yield is estimated at 2.92 tons per hectare, up 35 percent from the 1996/97 drought- reduced level. Ukraine farmers still face financial constraints which curb any significant gain in yield potential. Most of the crop is winter wheat.
Kazakstan: Wheat production is forecast at 10.0 million tons, up 2.3 million or 30 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 0.87 tons per hectare, up 38 percent from last year's 0.63 tons. Total-grain area declined 1.3 million hectares from 1996/97, with wheat area reduced 0.7 million to an estimated 11.5 million hectares. The reasons for the decline are a lack of seeds, fuel, and shortage of farm credits. Plentiful preplanting moisture in early May followed by a drying trend allowed crops to be planted without delays. In eastern Kazakstan, dry, hot weather rapidly reduced topsoil moisture, but by mid-June cooler temperatures accompanied by scattered rain alleviated crop stress. Widespread showers in July benefitted crop development. Nearly all the wheat grown is spring wheat.
Phone: (202) 720-1572
Paul Provance, EU-15, Canada, Eastern Europe
Phone: (202) 720-0882
Mark Lindeman, FSU-12
Phone: (202) 690-0143
Paulette Sandene, China
Phone: (202) 690-0133
Jim Crutchfield, Australia, India
Phone: (202) 690-0135
Robert Tetrault, Argentina
Phone: (202) 690-0140