This report was prepared by the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division, FAS, AGSTOP 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 FAX (202) 720-8880.
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 and Demand Estimates (WASDE-333) December 11, 1997.
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 January 14, 1998.
December 11, 1997
UNITED STATES: Strong Pacific storms have produced abundant precipitation and some flooding in California. Beneficial rain and snow fell in the southern and central Plains wheat areas. With the active storm track across the southern United States, a drying trend has developed over the north-central States. Temperatures plunged to the freezing level across the Gulf Coast states in early December, while heavy snow fell in the eastern Great Lakes region.
SOUTH AMERICA: Drier weather prevailed across extreme southern Brazil during late November and early December, allowing soybean planting to advance to a normal pace. Elsewhere in Brazil, rainfall favored soybean planting. In central Argentina, near to above-normal November rainfall maintained soil moisture for summer crop planting and filling winter wheat.
EUROPE: In November, above-normal precipitation in England, France, and Italy's Po Valley along with generally mild weather benefitted winter crop establishment. Heavy rains in Portugal and Spain delayed fieldwork and caused some flooding. In eastern Europe, weather conditions favored dormant winter grains in northern areas, while mild weather in southern areas allowed further establishment of late-planted crops.
FSU-WESTERN: In November, generally mild weather and near- to above-normal precipitation favored winter grains. Winter wheat in traditional growing areas of Ukraine and southern Russia entered dormancy during November with sufficient hardening.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: Generous planting rains favored winter grain emergence and establishment. Planting typically continues through December.
SOUTH AFRICA: Conditions are mixed for corn establishment. Chronic dryness and periods of unseasonable heat continue to plague the western corn belt, stressing emerged crops and impeding fieldwork. In eastern maize areas, well distributed rainfall has created generally favorable growing conditions although below-normal temperatures have slowed early development. In late-November, excessive rainfall may have flooded some coastal sugarcane areas.
SOUTH ASIA: Despite the monsoon's timely withdrawal, persistent showers have kept unharvested summer crops unusually wet. Of greatest concern was cotton, which traditionally suffers most from post-monsoon rainfall. In the long-term, the moisture will benefit winter agriculture including rice, winter wheat, and rapeseed.
EASTERN ASIA: Much above normal November rainfall aided vegetative winter wheat and increased moisture reserves across the North China Plain and the Yangtze Valley. In the north, seasonably cold weather prompted wheat to begin entering dormancy by early December.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Across southern Indonesia, the rainy season finally started during late November, bringing some drought relief and allowing main-season rice planting to commence. November rainfall averaged less than half of normal the Philippines, causing drought to develop. Weather was favorable for rice harvesting across most of Thailand and Vietnam. Near normal November rainfall aided oil palm across the Malay Peninsula.
AUSTRALIA: During November, beneficial rain improved sorghum and cotton prospects in Queensland. Less rain fell in summer crop areas of New South Wales, and periodic heat since late-November was unfavorable for non-irrigated crops. Dry, warm weather since mid-November in the west and southeast has benefitted maturing winter grains
(More details are available in the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. USDA/Joint Agricultural Weather Facility. )
During October 1997, drought continued across Java, southern Sumatra, and southern Borneo, delaying main-season rice planting and reducing irrigation supplies. Near- to above-normal October rainfall prevailed across northern Vietnam and northern Thailand, slowing rice harvesting. October rainfall averaged less than 50 percent of normal across the northern and central Philippines, favoring main-season grain harvesting, but reducing moisture for second-season crops. Only Mindanao received near-normal rainfall.
During the first week of November 1997, dry weather continued to worsen drought across Java and southern Sumatra. Dry weather favored rice harvesting across northern Vietnam and most of Thailand. High winds and heavy rain from Typhoon Linda caused localized damage to maturing rice in extreme south Vietnam. Light showers covered the Philippines, where main-season grain harvesting was underway. Widespread showers aided plantation crops across peninsular Thailand and Malaysia. From November 9 - 15, scattered showers brought some drought relief to southern Sumatra and Java. Mostly dry weather favored rice harvesting across Thailand and Vietnam. In the Philippines, the remnants of Tropical Storm Mort brought heavy showers to southeastern Luzon, boosting moisture supplies, but causing minor flooding. During November 16 - 22, scattered showers continued across Java, easing dryness, but more showers are needed. Southern Sumatra and Borneo received the heaviest showers in drought stricken southern Indonesia. Despite moderate showers across the eastern Philippines, rainfall still averaged below normal. Typically, rainfall averages 75 to 100 millimeters per week across eastern Philippines. The oil palm area of peninsular Malaysia received beneficial showers. Mostly dry weather aided rice harvesting in Thailand and Vietnam. During the last week of November, showers continued to ease drought over Java and southern Sumatra but had not yet reached seasonal amounts. Hot, dry weather prevailed across the northern Philippines, reducing moisture supplies for second-season rice. Across the rest of the Philippines, rainfall averaged below normal, causing drought to develop. Moderate showers benefitted oil palm across peninsular Malaysia. Dry weather continued to favor rice harvesting in Thailand and Vietnam.
During the first week of December, moderate showers covered Java and southern Sumatra, easing drought for coffee and main-season rice. With the arrival of the rainy season, rice transplanting should be underway across the region. In the Philippines, moderate to heavy showers brought drought relief to the eastern half of the country, but below-normal rainfall continued across Luzon and the west-central islands. Torrential showers caused flooding in the oil palm areas of eastern peninsular Malaysia and Thailand. Mostly dry weather favored rice harvesting in Thailand and the major rice areas of Vietnam.
During October 1997, above-normal rainfall in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, Brazil slowed soybean planting and damaged mature winter wheat. Elsewhere, rainfall averaged near normal except in Mato Grosso do Sul, where below-normal rainfall was reported. Slightly above-normal rainfall covered central Argentina, maintaining favorable moisture supplies for summer crop planting and winter wheat development.
During the first week of November, moderate to heavy rain continued in Rio Grande do Sul and western Santa Catarina, continuing to delay summer crop planting. In Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul, light to moderate showers boosted planting moisture without slowing fieldwork. In Mato Grosso and Goias, light, scattered showers and hot weather limited soil moisture for soybean planting. In central Argentina, light rain maintained topsoil moisture for summer crop planting and winter wheat development. In Northern Argentina and southern Paraguay, showers boosted moisture for cotton and soybean planting but slowed fieldwork. Early during the week of November 9 - 15, moderate showers continued in the southern Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Parana. However, dry weather later in the week allowed for some fieldwork to occur. Further north, showers boosted topsoil moisture for soybean planting in Mato Grosso and Goias. Light showers continued in Mato Gross do Sul, where moisture remained limited. In central Argentina, rain continued to boost soil moisture levels for summer crop planting and winter wheat heading. In northern Argentina and southern Paraguay, showers continued to boost moisture for cotton and soybean planting. From November 16 - 22, drier weather in southern Brazil favored soybean planting across Rio Grande do Sul. To the north, widespread showers boosted soil moisture for soybean planting. In Mato Grosso, heavy showers eased dryness, but caused some local flooding. In central Argentina, rain boosted soil moisture supplies in southern Cordoba and Santa Fe. Drier weather in northern Buenos Aires favored summer crop planting. Moisture was favorable for filling to early-maturing winter wheat. During November 23 - 29, widespread showers covered the major soybean areas of southern Brazil, boosting soil moisture for germination. Heavy showers slowed planting in extreme southern Mato Grosso do Sul and southern Goias. In central Argentina, showers continued to replenish soil moisture supplies in southern Cordoba and Santa Fe. The wet weather, however, slowed early winter wheat harvesting. Showers aided filling winter wheat in Buenos Aires.
From November 30 through December 6, in southern Brazil, mostly dry weather spurred soybean planting across Rio Grande do Sul and southern Parana. Elsewhere, heavier showers increased topsoil moisture for germinating soybeans. In Argentina, light to moderate rain maintained favorable topsoil moisture for summer crop planting and germination. Only in eastern La Pampa has rainfall been slightly below normal the past few weeks. This widespread rain is slowing winter wheat harvesting, but has not been enough to significantly lower quality.
Above-normal precipitation fell in eastern Algeria and Tunisia during October 1997, providing sufficient topsoil moisture for early-winter grain planting. In Morocco, below-normal precipitation limited topsoil moisture for planting.
During the first week of November, light to moderate showers fell in Morocco, helping condition topsoils for planting. In Algeria and Tunisia, light showers continued to moisten topsoils for early planting. Typically, winter grains in this region are planted from mid-November to mid-December. During November 9 - 15, light to moderate showers continued over Algeria and Tunisia, maintaining favorable topsoil moisture for winter grain planting. Rainfall diminished in Morocco, with precipitation amounts generally less than 5 millimeters. From November 16 - 22, light to moderate showers continued over Algeria and Tunisia, maintaining sufficient topsoil moisture for winter grain emergence and establishment. Rainfall increased in Morocco, with the greatest amounts of rain falling in northern winter wheat areas. During November 23 - 29, light to moderate showers continued over northern Morocco, central and eastern Algeria, and Tunisia, maintaining sufficient topsoil moisture for winter grain emergence and establishment. Lesser amounts of rain fell in southern Morocco, maintaining topsoil moisture for planting.
From November 30 through December 6, light to moderate showers fell over Morocco, providing sufficient moisture for winter grain planting. Farther east, in Algeria and Tunisia, widespread showers continued to provide abundant moisture for emerging winter grains but also caused some interruptions in planting.
China's 1997/98 cotton crop is estimated at 18.5 million bales, up 0.5 million or 3 percent from last month, but down 4 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 895 kilograms per hectare, slightly higher than last year and well above the 5-year average of 784 kilograms per hectare. Reports indicate that a record crop of 4.8 million bales was harvested in Xinjiang Province, while favorable late-summer and autumn weather led to higher-than-expected yields in Hunan, Hubei, and other provinces in central China. These gains helped offset low estimated yields on the North China Plain, which suffered from serious drought this past summer. The cotton harvest has gone smoothly. As of November 25, the Government had purchased 11.8 million bales of cotton from farmers, the highest procurement level in several years.
North Korea's 1997/98 corn output is estimated at 1.5 million tons, the smallest corn crop in 20 years. Production is revised 0.5 million tons higher this month as a USDA analyst traveling in North Korea found little evidence that farmers picked corn early for consumption. Area is estimated at 600,000 hectares and yield is estimated at 2.50 tons per hectare, about 25 percent below last year's flood-impacted crop and 35 to 40 percent below the long-term average. The estimate is based primarily on information obtained during a recent trip to North Korea by a USDA analyst, who engaged in field travel and met with North Korea Ministry of Agriculture officials, provincial and county agricultural officials, and state and cooperative farm managers.
While the primary weather event affecting 1997 corn production was a severe June/July drought with high temperatures that sharply reduced corn yields, many other factors contributed to low production in 1997/98. Fertilizer applications were reportedly less than half recommended levels. Weeds and insects reduced expected yields in the virtual absence of herbicides and pesticides. A lack of fuel and spare parts for agricultural machinery also constrained production. Corn varieties appeared to be poorly adapted to North Korean growing conditions, but there was no evidence of effective plant breeding underway. To compensate for the shortages of farm equipment and agrochemicals, North Korea uses cultivation practices that depend on intensive manual labor.
Rice production is estimated at 1.5 million tons (milled basis) from 600,000 hectares. Production is estimated up 0.25 million tons from last month and up 0.20 million tons from last year's flood-damaged crop. Plentiful rainfall in May across the country supported rice transplanting. The northern and western part of the country experienced serious drought in mid-summer, but resumption of rainfall in August and September helped keep yields from dropping farther. The yield is estimated at 3.62 tons per hectare, the highest level since 3.87 tons in 1991/92, but down about 25 percent from the long-term average. Yields were highest in the south-west part of North Korea (adjacent to South Korea where a record yield was harvested) due to generally favorable weather.
South Korea's 1997/98 rice crop is estimated at 5.5 million tons (milled basis), up 2 percent from last year and the largest crop since 1990/91. Planted area increased slightly from last season and favorable weather led to a record yield. The crop benefitted from adequate rainfall during the growing season, moderate temperatures, and minimal harvest losses from late-season typhoons. Other factors that contributed to the bumper harvest include higher plant density and the effective use of agricultural inputs.
Wheat and barley 1997/98 production in South Africa is estimated lower this month due to drought which significantly reduced yields. Wheat production is estimated at 2.3 million tons, down 0.3 million or 12 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year. Soil moisture levels were very good at planting and early-season crop prospects were better-than-average, but hot and dry weather in September caused serious yield losses in all major production areas. The worst crop damage was reported in Western Cape, where the crop is estimated down 31 percent from last year. The drought damaged the barley crop as well. Grown primarily in Cape Province, barley output for 1997/98 is estimated at 190,000 tons, up slightly from last year, but down 16 percent from the previous estimate.
Argentina's 1997/98 wheat production estimate is raised to 13.2 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month, but down 2.7 million or 17 percent from last year's record level. Yield is forecast above average because of generally favorable weather, especially in southern Buenos Aires Province, where it has been cool and wet. Satellite imagery analysis by the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division of FAS/USDA confirmed higher-than-expected vegetation response in the main wheat-producing area of southern Buenos Aires Province.
Nationally, harvested area is forecast at 5.8 million hectares, down 1.3 million or 18 percent from last year. Lower international prices than last year and dryness at planting in key growing areas were factors in the reduced wheat area. Harvesting activity has begun. Recent field travel by the USDA's Office of the Agricultural Counselor through the main grain and oilseed production regions confirmed the generally good status of this year's wheat. Late rains in central Argentina stabilized yield prospects in the regions that were below-normal, replenishing soil moisture. Southern Santa Fe and Cordoba Provinces had better growing conditions than the central and northern parts of their respective provinces. In La Pampa, crop conditions are favorable, but some disease problems have been reported due to excessive moisture.
Wheat and barley production in Australia for 1997/98 is forecast at 18.0 million tons and 5.5 million, respectively. For wheat, production is revised up 0.5 million tons this month as initial harvest results in Queensland indicate a larger-than-expected crop. In addition, Western Australia had favorable weather throughout most of the growing season and reports indicate that record yield in that state may be achieved. However, nationally, the total wheat yield of 1.67 tons per hectare is 3 percent below the 5-year average due to earlier dryness in the eastern and southern growing regions. For barley, production is revised up 0.3 million tons from a month ago due to preliminary harvest indications. Reports indicate that Western Australia is set to produce a bumper barley crop. According to Australia's Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE), variable weather in Australia has caused some quality issues for wheat and barley . In some of the early harvested crops, there have been small sized kernels (as a result of dryness during the grain fill stage) and for barley, discoloration (rains at harvest) has lowered quality from malting to feed.
Wheat production in Kazakstan for 1997/98 is estimated at 8.7 million tons, up 0.7 million from last month and up 12 percent from last year. Barley production is estimated at 2.6 million tons, down 0.4 million from last month and down 4 percent from last year. The revised estimates are based on a recent U.S. agricultural attache report from Almaty citing preliminary harvest results. Although wheat area dropped 6 percent this year to 11.5 million hectares, yields rebounded substantially, reflecting improved conditions in key grain-producing oblasts in north-central Kazakstan. However, drought had a negative effect on production in the southern fringe of the wheat belt and the overall yield for both wheat and barley remained below average.
Mexico's 1997/98 corn production is estimated at 18.5 million tons, down 0.5 million this month and 5 percent below last year. Corn was planted with adequate soil moisture; however, below-normal rainfall across the main growing region throughout most of the season stressed corn and reduced yield to an estimated 2.18 tons per hectare--below the 5-year average of 2.29 tons. Late-summer hurricane damage was restricted to coastal areas away from most of the corn production. Nearly 80 percent of the nation's corn output is grown during the spring/summer season.
Sunflowerseed production in Russia for 1997/98 is estimated at 2.6 million tons, down 13 percent from last month and 7 percent from below last year's 2.8 million. Harvest reports from late November, when the harvest campaign was virtually complete, indicate a substantial drop in output. Above-normal rainfall throughout the growing season likely had a negative impact on yield, and unusually heavy rain during October hampered harvest activity. Ukraine, like Russia, also experienced above-normal rainfall throughout the growing season (especially during July and August) and unwelcome rain during the harvest season. Sunflowerseed production in Ukraine for 1997/98 is estimated at 2.3 million tons, down 18 percent from last month, but up 10 percent from last year when severe drought in southeastern Ukraine suppressed summer-crop yields.
Canadian wheat production in 1997/98 is estimated higher this month at 24.3 million tons, up 0.8 million from last month based on Statistics Canada's report, November Estimate of Principal Field Crops. The increased production results from higher yield which is now estimated at 2.13 tons per hectare, down from last year's 2.43 ton record, and below the 5-year-average of 2.23 tons. Cold, wet weather in the spring delayed planting, but ideal growing conditions occurred in June. Dry weather in July stressed the crop during flowering and reduced yield potential, but favorable weather during harvest in most Prairie areas allowed for better yields than had been expected. Year-to-year, Canadian wheat production dropped 18 percent from 29.8 million tons. In addition to lower yields, area is down 7 percent from 1996/97, largely due to more attractive prices for other crops, especially oilseeds.
With the crop harvested, French corn production is estimated at a record 16.5 million tons, up 6 percent or 1.0 million from last month's estimate and up 14 percent or 2.1 million from 1996/97. Corn yields continue to have an upward trend. The yield this season is estimated at a record 9.1 tons per hectare, up from the previous record of 8.4 tons produced last year. Area harvested is also estimated higher, up 2 percent from last month and 6 percent from last year. Favorable weather occurred throughout the growing season, especially in northern corn growing areas. In the south, where most corn is grown, timely rainfall in May was extremely beneficial allowing for excellent seed germination following drought in April which delayed planting.
Romania's 1997/98 corn harvest is nearly complete and reports indicate higher-than-expected yields. Production is estimated at 12.0 million tons, up from 10.5 million last month and 9.6 million last year. Yield is estimated at 3.87 tons per hectare, up from 3.39 tons last month and 2.92 tons in 1996/97. Output this year is the highest recorded since 1986/87, and yield is the highest since 1991/92. Favorable weather during the growing season is the main reason for the bumper crop.
Cool, wet weather hampered fall harvest efforts during November. Both corn and soybean harvests slowed as precipitation in the Great Lakes region kept grain moisture levels high and seven weeks of continued wet weather in the Southeast kept farmers out of soybean fields. In the western Corn Belt, harvest finished under mostly favorable conditions after an early-month snowstorm. Grain storage shortages delayed corn harvest in some areas. Storms, bringing snow to New England and rain to the Mid-Atlantic States, hindered harvest operations.
Cotton harvest was delayed in the Southeast by seven weeks of wet weather. Mid-month wet weather problems caused numerous harvest delays in Texas. Farmers in several major cotton-producing States harvested their crops between storms, but the quality of late fields suffered from the moisture. California cotton harvest was mostly complete early in November before rains caused wet conditions for the last three weeks of November. Peanut harvest was virtually complete by mid-November despite continued rainfall across the Southeast.
Early in November, central Plains' farmers made limited progress harvesting their sorghum crop due to melting snow and drifts from a major late-October snowstorm. Farmers made some progress as fields dried or froze, except in Colorado where a second snowstorm blanketed the State and delayed harvest even more. Wet conditions and lack of storage space hindered harvest later in the month. Mid-month snow in Minnesota and North Dakota halted most fieldwork for the winter.
November began with wet soils preventing planting of some winter wheat fields in the central Plains. However, most fields were planted by mid-month. Planting activity increased in California and the Southeast as farmers seeded winter wheat following fall crop harvest and when the weather allowed. Dry, cool weather during the middle of November restricted wheat growth in the central and southern Plains until widespread moisture fell in the area at month's end. The late-month precipitation also benefitted newly emerged fields in the Northwest, Corn Belt, and Southeast. In the northern Plains, farmers were concerned about the lack of snow cover going into winter. The winter wheat crop was rated in mostly good condition as of November 30, 1997.
In crop areas west of the Ural Mountains, weather conditions in November favored winter grains. Near- to above-normal temperatures prevailed over most crop areas in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, and Moldova. Temperatures in November were low enough to keep winter grains dormant in northern Russia. Winter wheat in major growing areas in Ukraine and southern Russia entered dormancy during the month with sufficient hardening. Near- to above-normal precipitation in November helped recharge soil moisture in Ukraine, northern Russia, most of Belarus, Latvia, and Estonia. Elsewhere, below-normal precipitation occurred in the lower Volga Valley and the North Caucasus regions in Russia.
Since early December, overwintering conditions favored dormant winter grains. Light to moderate snowfall increased snow cover in northern and eastern winter grain areas in Russia, western Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltics. Rain fell over winter grain areas in central and eastern Ukraine, and the North Caucasus region in Russia. Crops in these areas lack protective snow cover, leaving them vulnerable to potential extreme cold.
Tom Puterbaugh 720-2012 (December 1997)
FEATURE COMMODITY ARTICLES
This article presents the 1997/98 rice crop prospects outside the United States. Information in this article is based on field reports received from U.S. agricultural attaches together with analysis from Washington-based USDA staff. Currently, the 1997/98 total foreign production is forecast at a record 376.8 million tons (milled-basis), up 3.5 million or 1 percent from 1996/97. Refer to Table 10, Rice Area, Yield, and Production for 1995/96 - 1997/98 country detail.
China: Rice output in China for 1997/98 is estimated at a record 137.0 million tons (milled basis or 195.7 million rough), up 0.4 million or less than 1 percent from 1996/97. Harvested area is estimated about the same as last year at 31.4 million hectares and favorable weather led to record yield of 6.23 tons per hectare (barely higher than last year). The early-rice crop reportedly reached 45.78 million tons, up 4.5 percent from last year, based on timely spring rainfall, warm temperatures, and favorable rainfall in summer. There was some concern about summer drought affecting the single-crop rice in central China, but most of the provinces reported favorable autumn grain harvests. Above-normal rain in southern China this summer aided the crop as Guangdong reported a record total-grain crop (mostly rice). The rice crop in the North China Plain and Northeast was not affected by the drought, since it is all irrigated.
India: Rice production for India is forecast at a record 81.5 million tons (milled basis), up 1 percent from 1996/97. Area is forecast at 42.2 million hectares, down 1 percent from last year. However, with increasing fertilizer use and higher-yielding seed varieties, yield is forecast at a record 2.90 tons per hectare. Rice area and yield are dependent on monsoon performance, with only 45 percent of total area being irrigated. This is the tenth consecutive year that India had a favorable monsoon. Thus far, rice procurement is ahead of last year's level.
Indonesia: Milled rice production for Indonesia in 1997/98 is estimated at 33.3 million tons, up from 32.0 million tons produced in 1996/97. Harvested area is estimated at 11.5 million hectares, up about 2 percent from last season. The rains have returned to Java, in time for planting the 1997/98 main crop, following drought during the dry season. The El Nino phenomenon is blamed for the shortage of rainfall, but a study of previous El Nino events indicate that during such episodes, rains return in November, hence 1997/98 rice production is not expected to be seriously affected. Though the last of the 1996/97 crop has yet to be harvested, production is estimated down 4 percent based on lower area and yield. Drought from June to October is blamed for reducing area and yield in 1996/97's dry-season crop.
Bangladesh: Milled rice production for Bangladesh in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 18.5 million tons, up marginally from last season. Area is projected to be similar to the 10.0 million hectares harvested in 1996/97. With another favorable monsoon (about 30 percent of total rice area is irrigated, making rice particularly dependent on monsoon rainfall) yield is forecast slightly higher than last season and at a record level of 2.78 tons per hectare. Favorable weather and adequate supplies of seed, fertilizer, diesel, insecticides, and irrigation pumps are responsible for the continued rise in yield over the past several years.
Vietnam: Rice production for Vietnam on a milled basis in 1997/98 is forecast at 18.0 million tons, unchanged from 1996/97, but up 2 percent from 1995/96. Farmers in the Red River Delta have begun to harvest the 10th-month crop, the first crop of the marketing year. Harvested area for the 10th-month crop is estimated 1 percent higher than for the corresponding crop in 1996/97. No serious weather anomalies affected the 1996/97 Winter-Spring and Summer-Autumn crops, and stock levels are reported excessive. High stock levels and limited export markets for comparatively lower-quality rice is expected to have a limiting effect on rice production in 1997/98.
Thailand: Rice production in Thailand for 1997/98 is estimated at 14.0 million tons (milled basis), up 2 percent from a reduced 1996/97 crop. Harvested area is estimated at 9.2 million hectares, up marginally from last season. The 1997/98 monsoon rains started on time, but the distribution of rainfall was not good and some areas suffered. However, favorable August rains allowed crops to recover. Shortages of irrigation water for the second crop due to dryness in key areas will hamper area potential and curtail yield potential.
Burma: In Burma, rice output for 1997/98 is estimated at 9.6 million tons (milled basis), up 7 percent from 1996/97. Total harvested area is estimated at 5.7 million hectares, up slightly from last season. Frequent heavy rains caused flooding and forced replanting in some areas. Estimates are that nationwide, the 1997/98 monsoon harvest was reduced by about 0.2 million hectares, to 4.6 million. Additional areas were replanted and the resulting delays for the summer crop could result in reduced area. Government efforts to increase area have been hurt by flooding during the monsoon season the last two years.
Japan: Rice production in Japan for 1997/98 is estimated 9.0 million tons, (milled basis), down 0.4 million or 4 percent from last season. Harvested area is estimated slightly lower than 1996/97 at 1.96 million hectares. Although yield is estimated down about 4 percent from last year, it is still higher than average. The crop index reached 102, compared to 100 for an average crop. It was the fourth good crop in a row and harvesting is almost finished. The best yields were in eastern Honshu Island, followed by northeastern Honshu and southern part of Hokkaido island. The Government is working to reduce rice stockpiles from the current 3.7 million tons to an appropriate level of 2.0 million tons over the next three years. These measures include cutting the procurement price and reducing the amount of rice the Government will buy, donating surplus rice as food aid, and taking roughly 170,000 hectares of rice paddies out of production next year.
Brazil: In Brazil, milled rice production for 1997/98 is forecast at 6.5 million tons, down 2 percent from last year. Area is projected to be similar to last season, at 3.6 million hectares. Planting in the south has been delayed due to earlier heavy rains, although there is still time for producers to achieve their planting intentions. Yield is estimated at 2.69 tons per hectare, similar to last year's record level. Improved financial conditions for producers, state production incentives (with regard to fertilizer access and use of inputs) in Rio Grande do Sol, and new dryland rice seed varieties are expected to keep rice area and yield similar to last season.
South Korea: The 1997/98 rice crop in South Korea is estimated at 5.5 million tons (milled basis), up 2 percent from last year and the largest crop since 1990/91. Planted area increased slightly and favorable weather led to record estimated yield. The crop benefitted from adequate rainfall during the growing season, moderate temperatures, and minimal harvest losses from late- season typhoons. Other factors that contributed to the bumper harvest include higher plant density and the effective use of agricultural inputs.
Pakistan: Rice production in Pakistan for 1997/98 is forecast at a record 4.3 million tons (milled basis), up 1 percent from 1996/97. Area is forecast at 2.2 million hectares, similar to last season. Nearly all rice is irrigated, drawing on both surface and groundwater resources. Yield is forecast at another record this season, at 2.93 tons per hectares, since high-yielding seed varieties and fertilizer continue to be available to producers.
Egypt: Rice production for 1997/98 in Egypt is estimated at 3.0 million tons (milled basis), down marginally from last season's record level. Area is forecast at a record 0.6 million hectares, up 7 percent from 1996/97. Production of Egyptian rice is restricted to the Delta area due to water requirements. The Egyptian Government imposes restrictions on the area planted to rice, with a target of restraining area to below 378,000 hectares per year. However, for the last several years, farmers have exceeded the area targeted because of the much higher profitability of rice compared to other traditional summer crops.
North Korea: Rice production in North Korea for 1997/98 is estimated at 1.5 million tons (milled basis) from 600,000 hectares. Production is estimated up 250,000 tons from last month and up 200,000 tons from last year's flood- damaged crop. The revision is based on new information gathered during recent field travel to North Korea by a USDA analyst. Plentiful rainfall in May across the country supported rice transplanting. The northern and western part of the country experienced serious drought in mid-summer, but resumption of rainfall in August and September helped keep yields from dropping farther. The yield is estimated at 3.62 tons per hectare, the highest level since 1991/92. Yields were highest in the south-west part of North Korea (adjacent to South Korea) due to generally favorable weather.
Australia: Rice production in Australia for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.9 million tons (milled basis), down 16 percent from last season's record crop. Area is forecast at 140,000 hectares, down 16 percent from 1996/97 due to decreased availability of water for irrigation. Most of the rice is grown in New South Wales. Near ideal planting weather during October and early-November has favored early crop development. Yield is estimated at 8.49 tons per hectare, similar to last year, but up 7 percent from the 5-year average.
Mexico: In Mexico, rice production for 1997/98 is estimated at 0.3 million tons (milled basis), up 16 percent from 1996/97 and is the highest level since 1989/90. Harvested area for 1997/98 is estimated at 0.1 million hectares. Yield is estimated at 4.59 tons per hectare, down from the previous two years, but higher than the 5-year average of 4.43 tons. Since 1992 at least 80 percent of Mexico's annual rice production has been grown in the spring/summer season (planted in May through August, and harvested September through February), with more than half of it planted on irrigated land. (All water in Mexico is own by the National Water Commission, which determines how much and when water allocations will be released to users). September and October showers along the Pacific and Gulf coastlines were timely for fall/winter rice (planted November through February and harvested May through August). Less than 25 percent of Mexico's fall/winter crop is irrigated, with Sinaloa, Taumaulipas, Michoacan, and Nayarit the most consistent contributors. The states of Sinaloa in the northwest and Veracruz in the central east region on the Gulf of Mexico account for the bulk of the annual Mexican rice production.
Timothy Rocke, World Grains Chair; Phone: (202) 720-1572; E-mail: email@example.com
Paul Provance, Southeast Analyst; Phone: (202) 720-0882; E-mail: provance@firstname.lastname@example.org
Paulette Sandene, East Asia Analyst; Phone: (202) 690-0133; E-mail: email@example.com
Jim Crutchfield, Australia and Asia Analyst; Phone: (202) 690-0133; E-mail: Crutchfieldj@fas.usda.gov
Ronald White, Mexico Analyst; Phone: (202) 690--0137; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Tetrault, Brazil Analyst; Phone: (202) 690-0140;E-mail: email@example.com
Total-grain production in Southern Africa for 1997/98 is forecast at 20.9 million tons, down from 21.6 million in 1996/97. Area harvested in this region for 1997/98 is forecast at 13.9 million hectares, down from 14.1 million in 1996/97. For the purpose of this article, Southern Africa includes Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Corn production in Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa is forecast lower than last season, while output in Zimbabwe and Zambia is higher. Generally, coarse grain planting is in full swing and can continue into mid-January in some regions. The wheat harvest is virtually complete with Zimbabwe's crop forecast at a record level, but South Africa's crop is forecast lower than 1996/97, due to dryness.
The El Nino event now in progress has strengthened, recently. The re-emergence of the El Nino phenomenon points to a possibility of poor rainfall distribution in the sub-region later in the 1997/98 crop season. Pacific sea surface temperatures, winds, air pressure, and cloudiness indicate that this event is one of the most severe observed. The effects of El Nino may be felt over the next few months. Contingency plans by some of this region's governments have been instigated.
Angola: Total-grain production for Angola in 1997/98 is forecast at 0.45 million tons, down from 0.49 million in 1996/97. Area harvested in 1997/98 is forecast at 0.81 million hectares, slightly down from 0.82 million last year. Civil strife from 1975 through 1994 disrupted the Angolan economy, but the peace process since 1994 led to improved stability, increased accessibility of areas, and an expansion in area. Land preparation and early planting have started in northern parts of the country for the 1997/98 crop. The main crops produced are corn and millet with output forecast at 0.38 million tons and 0.06 million, respectively. In Angola, corn production is forecast at the same level as last year. Yield is constrained by a lack of fertilizers, chemicals, hand tools, plant protection equipment, and the use of animal traction equipment. In the past, the effects of the El Nino phenomenon were minor in the country.
Lesotho: Total-grain production in Lesotho for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.16 million tons, down from 0.18 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.15 million hectares, down from 0.18 million from last season. The major grain crops in Lesotho are corn and sorghum, forecast at 0.12 million tons and 0.04 million, respectively. Hot and dry weather has delayed planting for the 1997/98 summer crops. The Government had warned farmers of the expectation of poor rainfall this crop season as a result of the El Nino phenomenon. The Government is encouraging farmers to plant various drought-resistant crops and use hybrid seed varieties.
Madagascar: Total-grain output for 1997/98 in Madagascar is forecast at 1.88 million tons, up slightly from 1.83 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.39 million hectares, unchanged from last year. The main grain crops produced are rice and corn, with output forecast at 1.70 million tons (milled basis) and 0.2 million, respectively. A good overall harvest for 1997/98 is forecast because of favorable weather over the earlier-planted areas. The country had a production shortfall in the southern zone, but is more than offset by a forecast of a good harvest in other parts, where 90 percent of the grain output is produced. Swarms of African migratory locust have been reported to be moving out of their traditional areas in the south-west into the major agricultural areas of the north-west. Thus far, the southern coastal zone has been the most affected by locust and poor rainfall.
Malawi: Total-grain output in Malawi for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.55 million tons, down from 1.75 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.44 million hectares, the same as last year. The main grain crop produced is corn, with output forecast at 1.50 million tons. Output is projected to be lower than last year as yields are forecast to be near-average. The Government of Malawi is also encouraging farmers to plant drought-resistant millet and sorghum crops.
Mozambique: Total-grain production in Mozambique for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.55 million tons, unchanged from last year. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.77 million hectares, up from 1.69 million in 1996/97. Corn and sorghum are the major grain crops produced, with output forecast at 1.10 million tons and 0.30 million, respectively. Yield is forecast to be near-average.
Preparation for the 1997/98 crop season began with serious concerns over an El Nino related drought. Farmers were advised to pursue risk-reducing measures, such as advancing planting dates and sowing small grains that require less rainfall. Crops have been hurt by previous El Nino events in the southern producing areas of the country.
South Africa: Total-grain production for 1997/98 in the Republic of South Africa is forecast at 11.39 million tons, down from 12.23 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 5.59 million hectares, down from 5.64 million last year. Generally, favorable rainfall since mid-October provided ample soil moisture for farmers to prepare land and start plantings in some areas, but in the western Maize Triangle precipitation is below-normal. The main crops produced, corn and wheat, are forecast at 8.50 tons million and 2.30 million, respectively. Corn can be sown into mid-January for harvest in May. In preparing for a possible El Nino related drought, farmers have been advised to plant only on their most moisture rich soils. Wheat output is estimated lower for 1997/98 as hot, dry weather in the western wheat growing areas reduced yield.
Swaziland: Total-grain production for 1997/98 in Swaziland is forecast at 0.09 million tons, the same as last year. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.07 million hectares, the same at the previous year. The primary grain crop produced is corn, with output forecast at 0.08 million tons. Widespread rains fell over most parts of the country in September and October providing sufficient moisture for land preparation and early planting of the 1997/98 corn crop. Farmers have been encouraged to take steps to reduce production risks this season.
Zambia: Total-grain output for 1997/98 in Zambia is forecast at 1.34 million tons, up from 1.16 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.85 million hectares, up from 0.77 million last season. Corn is the main grain crop produced, with output forecast at 1.20 million tons. Corn area is forecast to rise above last season's level and early-season rainfall provided ample soil moisture for land preparation. Corn yield is forecast at 1.71 tons per hectare, up from the previous year, although fertilizer availability is still a problem. The Department of Meteorology in Zambia released a warning based on the developing El Nino event stating that rainfall during the upcoming growing seasons is likely to be below-normal.
Zimbabwe: Total-grain production for 1997/98 in Zimbabwe is forecast at 2.51 million tons, up from 2.30 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.85 million hectares, down from 2.09 million in 1996/97. Corn, wheat, and millet are the main crops produced and are forecast at 2.00 million; 0.30 million; and 0.10 million tons, respectively. Generally, planting conditions for coarse grains are favorable. Coarse grain planting has started and early-planted, irrigated corn has received rainfall. The Government has advised farmers to plant early and use drought-resistant seed varieties. Wheat output is forecast at a record 0.30 million tons due to favorable weather.
The current El Nino event has the potential to produce below normal rainfall during the upcoming crop season. Farmers are being taught how to deal with this kind of situation and have been advised that best grain crops to withstand dry weather are pearl and finger millet.
Theresa Wright, Regional Analyst
Phone: (202) 720-8887 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Total grain production in Southeast Asia for 1997/98 is forecast at 102.8 million tons from an area of 49.1 million hectares. Production for 1997/98 is forecast up 2 percent from 1996/97, rebounding to the level produced in 1995/96. Southeast Asia, for the purposes of this article, is comprised of Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Burma: Total grain production in Burma is estimated at 10.1 million tons, up 6 percent from last year. Total harvested area for 1997/98 is forecast at 6.2 million hectares, similar to both 1996/97 and 1995/96 levels. Government efforts to increase rice have been hurt by flooding during the monsoon season the last two years. Rice output, the principal grain produced in Burma, is estimated at 9.6 million tons for 1997/98, up 7 percent from last year. Frequent, heavy rains caused flooding and forced replanting in some areas. Estimates are that the nationwide 1997/98 monsoon harvest was reduced by about 0.2 million hectares, to 4.6 million. Additional areas were replanted and the resulting delays for the summer crop could result in reduced area.
Cambodia: In Cambodia, milled rice production in 1997/98 is estimated at 2.1 million tons, up 1 percent from 1996/97. Harvested area is estimated unchanged at 2.0 million hectares. Production from this year's monsoon crop is estimated down from last year because of flooding; however, it is expected that this year's dry-season harvest will be better than the previous year due to sufficient water availability.
Indonesia: Total grain production in Indonesia for 1997/98 (January-December 1998) is estimated at 39.8 million tons, up 3 percent from last year. Rice production (milled basis) is estimated at 33.3 million tons in 1997/98, up from 32.0 million tons in 1996/97. The El Nino phenomenon has been blamed for a serious drought during Indonesia's dry season; however rains did return to Java during November. Though the remainder of the 1996/97 crop has yet to be harvested, production is estimated down 4 percent based on lower area and yield. Drought from May to October is blamed for reducing area and yield in the second dry-season crop. A rise in production for the 1997/98 crop is forecast despite some delay in planting caused by the late onset of the rainy season.
Indonesian corn production is forecast at 6.5 million tons for 1997/98, unchanged from 1996/97, but up 8 percent from 1995/96. The 1996/97 corn harvest was largely completed before the drought began in May/June. Area for 1997/98 is estimated at 3.5 million hectares, down 1 percent from 1996/97 because drought delayed corn planting in East Java and South Sumatra. The decline in area is expected to be offset by increased yields as greater use is made of hybrid seed varieties.
Laos: In Laos, rice production (milled basis) for 1997/98 is estimated at 0.9 million tons, unchanged from 1996/97 and 1995/96. This land-locked country suffered flooding and some localized food shortages in both of the previous years. Area harvested in 1997/98 is estimated at 0.6 million hectares, unchanged from 1996/97, but down marginally from 1995/96.
Malaysia: In Malaysia, rice production (milled basis) for 1997/98 is estimated at 1.3 million tons, virtually the same as last year. Area for 1997/98 is estimated at 0.7 million hectares, a decline of 1 percent from last year and continuing a downward trend in area. In the Seventh Malaysian Plan (1996 to 2000), the Government of Malaysia foresees planted paddy area sliding gradually from 0.7 million hectares in 1995/96 to 0.4 million hectares in 2000/2001. Rice output is forecast to drop to slightly below 1.3 million tons by 2000/2001. For the 1996/97 crop, rice production declined slightly from the year before as some paddy area was idled and localized flooding disrupted harvesting in parts of the country contributing to a small decline in yields.
Philippines: Total grain production in the Philippines for 1997/98 is estimated at 11.5 million tons, virtually unchanged from last year. Milled rice production for 1997/98 (July-June) is forecast at 7.3 million tons, unchanged from 1996/97. With the presence of the El Nino event, fewer typhoons than normal have struck the Philippines, reducing total rainfall but also causing relatively little flood damage in the early part of 1997/98. Following the rice crisis in 1995, the Philippine Government has taken steps to stabilize food prices and reduce supply fluctuations. Steps taken represent a formal shift away from food self-sufficiency to one of food security. Support will continue for domestic rice production, but the use of imports to reduce price fluctuations also may reduce production fluctuations in years ahead.
Philippine corn production for 1997/98 (July-June) is forecast at 4.2 million tons, down slightly from 4.3 million tons estimated for 1996/97. A slowly declining trend in area is projected to continue with 2.7 million hectares forecast to be harvested in 1997/98. Improving infrastructure and developing markets are making agricultural products for export more profitable than corn produced for domestic consumption. Cheaper corn imports have discouraged area expansion as the Government moves away from a policy of self- sufficiency. Corn production in 1996/97, estimated at 4.3 million tons, was down due to excessively wet conditions in the first half of the year which limited area and increased the incidence of insect problems reducing yield.
Thailand: In Thailand, total grain production for 1997/98 is estimated at 17.5 million tons, down 2 percent from last year. The 1997/98 monsoon rains started on time, but the quantity of rainfall for the season was less than normal, distribution of rainfall was not good, and some areas suffered. However, no reports of flood damage were received and the nationwide grain yields should be high.
Rice production in 1997/98 is estimated at 14.0 million tons, up 2 percent from a reduced 1996/97 crop. The good main-season crop will be partially offset by a shortage of irrigation water for the second crop. Unfavorable growing conditions reduced the 1996/97 main-season crop in the lower North, Northeast, and Central Plains. Dryer than normal conditions resulted in some farmers in the East Central Region not receiving adequate water for their third crop.
Thailand's corn production for 1997/98 (90-95 percent harvested from July- October) is estimated at 3.3 million tons, down 15 percent from 1996/97 due to above normal temperatures and drought which affected Thailand's main corn- growing areas during the early part of the growing season. Favorable weather after August benefitted late monsoon-season corn preventing output from declining even further. Harvested area for 1997/98 is estimated to have dropped 14 percent despite a marginal increase in planted area following lucrative prices in the last two years.
Vietnam: In Vietnam, total grain production for 1997/98 is estimated at 19.5 million tons, unchanged from last year. Rice production (milled basis) for 1997/98 is forecast at 18.0 million tons, unchanged from 1996/97, but up 2 percent from 1995/96. Farmers in the Red River Delta have begun to harvest the 10th-month crop, the first crop of the marketing year. Harvested area for the 10th-month crop is estimated 1 percent higher than for the corresponding crop in 1996/97. No serious weather anomalies affected the 1996/97 Winter-Spring and Summer-Autumn crops, and stock levels are reported excessive. High stock levels and limited export markets for comparatively lower-quality rice is expected to limit rice production in 1997/98.
Vietnamese corn production for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.5 million tons, unchanged from 1996/97, but up 27 percent from 1995/96. Over 62 percent of Vietnam's corn is grown in the northern region. Of this, about half is grown in upland areas where it is a main staple in peoples' diets. The advent of economic reform in the late 1980's and investment in integrated commercial feed mills over the last five years have stimulated corn production. Farmers in areas surrounding Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have moved to a cropping system that includes corn, most of which moves to new feed mills. The increase in production in the last decade has come from a yield increase of 75 percent and from an area expansion of 53 percent.
Paul Provance, Regional Analyst
Phone: (202) 720-0882 E-mail: email@example.com
Last modified: Wednesday, December 24, 1997