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-335) February 11, 1998.
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 March 13, 1998.
In December 1997, near- to above-normal rainfall and cool weather provided ideal weather for corn and soybeans in central Argentina. From January 1 - 24, cool and wet weather continued to favor reproductive corn and vegetative to flowering soybeans in central Argentina but slowed the winter wheat harvest in southern Buenos Aires. Frequent, heavy rainfall also kept the cotton growing areas of northern Argentina favorably damp. During January 25 - 31, light-to-moderate rain maintained excellent soil moisture supplies for reproductive to filling corn and vegetative to reproductive soybeans. Winter wheat harvesting neared completion. Torrential rain caused flooding and possibly damaged rice in northeastern Argentina (northern Entre Rios and Corrientes) and across the border into southwestern Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. During the first week of February 1998, the cool, wet weather continued in central Argentina, maintaining ideal conditions for reproductive soybeans and filling corn. Heavier showers fell across northern Argentina, boosting moisture supplies for cotton, but causing some flooding.
During December 1997, rainfall was above-normal in Rio Grande do Sul and near-normal elsewhere in southern Brazil. This moisture was particularly beneficial to soybeans. During January 1 - 17, widespread showers favored vegetative soybeans in Parana and Rio Grande do Sul. However, lighter showers and warm weather reduced soil moisture in Mato Grosso do Sul. During January 18 - 24, moderate showers eased the dryness in Mato Grosso do Sul, while elsewhere in southern Brazil, light-to-moderate showers maintained favorable moisture levels for vegetative soybeans. Typically, Brazilian soybeans undergo reproduction during mid-January to mid-February. During February 1 - 7, heavy showers continued in Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, aiding soybeans, but causing some local flooding. Elsewhere in southern Brazil, moderate showers favored reproductive soybeans, where temperatures averaged above- normal.
During December 1997, rainfall averaged about 50 percent of normal in the heart of the South African corn belt. Temperatures averaged near to above normal, with episodes of unseasonable heat exacerbating evaporative losses. During January 1 - 10, showers across the corn belt benefitted vegetative to reproductive summer crops. During January 11 - 17, drier, but still mild weather dominated the corn growing region. From January 18 - 24, summer storms returned to much of the corn belt. Rainfall was heaviest in eastern crop areas. Pockets of dryness persisted in western crop areas. During January 25 - 31 and again during February 1 - 7, dry weather returned to the eastern corn belt. Scattered, heavy showers occurred in western crop areas. Typically during early February, the main corn belt receives about 20 to 25 millimeters per week. As of February 10, widespread rain is needed and can still be beneficial since a portion of the crop was planted late.
Argentina's 1997/98 corn production estimate was raised to a record 16.5 million tons, up 1.5 million tons from January or 10 percent, and up 6 percent from last year. Argentina's 1997/98 soybean production estimate was raised to a record 16.0 million tons, up 1.5 million from January or 10 percent, and up 43 percent from last year's drought-reduced crop.
The month-to-month increases resulted mostly from reports of higher corn and soybean area and increased yield potential. January has continued cooler and wetter than normal, benefitting corn in the grain fill stage and soybeans in the vegetative to flowering stage. Corn yield is forecast at a record 5.0 tons per hectare due to beneficial weather in central Argentina. Soybean yield is forecast at 2.35 tons per hectare. Satellite imagery analysis by the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division of USDA/FAS indicates higher yield potential. A comparison of mid-January vegetation indices from 1998 and 1997 indicates summer vegetation conditions in northern Buenos Aires Province are very similar to last year and the conditions in Santa Fe, and Cordoba Provinces are doing better than last year. The majority of soybeans, approximately 71 percent, are grown in Santa Fe and Cordoba Provinces.
Although rains began in late November across most of Indonesia, the amounts through January continued below normal and unevenly distributed. The U.S. agricultural counselor in Jakarta reported that rice area planted is less than expected and the amount of water available in the irrigation systems varies widely with some reservoirs full and others empty. The ongoing moisture deficits are affecting the current rice crop and bode poorly for 1997/98 total harvested area and output. The estimate for harvest area is reduced this month by 0.3 million hectares to 11.0 million, while production is lowered by 1.0 million tons (milled basis) to 31.0 million. Yield is estimated at 4.34 tons per hectare (rough basis), down from 4.36 tons last month. Production is down 2 percent from 31.5 million tons produced in 1996/97 due to declines in both area and yield.
Romanian 1997/98 corn production is estimated higher this month at 12.5 million tons, up 0.5 million or 4 percent from last month. The highest production recorded since 1984/85, this year's output is up 30 percent from the 9.6 million tons produced in 1996/97. The increase is based on a higher official production estimate from the Romanian Government, and an excellent growing season. Heavy rains during the summer made harvesting difficult for winter crops, but were timely for corn. Precipitation into autumn resulted in a harvest loss for the more vulnerable sunflower crop, but did not appear to cause problems for corn.
PHILIPPINES: RICE ESTIMATE LOWER ON DRY WEATHER
The 1997/98 rice production estimate for the Philippines is lowered this month from 7.3 million tons (milled) to 7.0 million because of dry weather. Area harvested for 1997/98 is estimated down 5 percent from 1996/97, to 3.7 million hectares. Production year-to-year is estimated down 4 percent from the 7.3 million ton output in 1996/97. It is projected that there will not be enough irrigation water for the 1997/98 dry-season rice crop (January - June, 1998 ) because of lower-than-normal precipitation during the rainy season (July - December, 1997). Since rainfall from February to May is usually negligible in major rice-growing areas, normal weather cannot be expected to significantly increase the amount of water available through June. All of the production decline in 1997/98 is projected to occur in the dry season with rainy-season production up marginally.
January was characterized by unseasonably mild temperatures nationwide with very wet weather along the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic Coasts. Field activities in Coastal States were often halted by heavy rainfall or soils that were too saturated to support equipment. In California, rains slowed vegetable harvests and field preparations for the coming year. Several locations in the Southeast and Middle Atlantic States received record amounts of precipitation for the month of January. Some soybean and cotton fields remain unharvested in the Southeast and may have to be abandoned if the wet weather continues.
Farther north, weather patterns caused massive ice storms in New England and New York. Severe conditions hampered agricultural activities and stressed livestock, especially dairy herds. Maple and fruit trees were adversely affected by the storms. Growers were still cleaning-up and assessing the extent of the damage at the end of January.
The Corn Belt experienced generally snowy weather in northern areas and rain in the south during January. However, mild temperatures melted most of the snow, causing muddy fields and leaving winter-planted crops uncovered. Winter wheat fields showed signs of greening and breaking dormancy later in the month. Farmers are concerned about the effects that the mild weather would have on insects and disease during the upcoming growing season.
Unseasonably mild temperatures prevailed over the major of the winter wheat-producing States. Rains provided adequate soil moisture in the southern Plains, but January was generally dry in the central and northern High Plains. Some snow accumulated on winter wheat fields in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota, but the majority of the fields had little or no snow cover. In the Northwest, the crop was in generally good condition due to mild, wet weather. In the Southeast, saturated soils have caused flooding in fields, delayed chemical applications, and drained nutrients from the soil. Farmers nationwide are concerned because the lack of snow cover and mild temperatures had left the winter wheat crop vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Little damage has occurred to the wheat crop thus far.
In January, overwintering conditions were favorable for winter grains throughout most of the former USSR. Temperatures in January averaged 3 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal in the western half of Ukraine, western areas in Russia (Northwest Region, Central Region, and western Black Soils Region), the Baltics, and Belarus. Monthly temperatures averaged 1 to 3 degrees above normal in eastern Ukraine and eastern winter grain areas in Russia (Volga Vyatsk Region, eastern Black Soils Region, Volga Valley, and North Caucasus). Snow cover in winter grain areas of the Baltics, Belarus, southern Ukraine, and adjacent areas in the North Caucasus region of Russia was patchy or nonexistent during January. However, temperatures in these areas were not low enough for a sufficient amount of time to threaten exposed crops. A moderate-to-deep snow cover persisted in winter grain areas of northern and central Russia during the month, protecting winter grains from periods of bitterly cold weather. Above-normal precipitation fell in Russia, Belarus, and the Baltics during January, boosting potential moisture reserves. Winter grain areas in Ukraine received below-normal precipitation in January. In early February, unseasonably cold weather returned to most winter grain areas, preceded by light to moderate snow. However, on February 9, mild weather returned to winter grain areas in the Baltics, Belarus, and western Ukraine, melting some protective snow cover.
Tom Puterbaugh 720-2012 (February 1998)
Foreign cotton area for the 1998/99 season depends on several factors with cotton prices and those of competing crops playing a crucial role. Foreign cotton area is also influenced by domestic and world financial conditions, government policies, and weather. The Cotlook A-Index represents the price level of international raw cotton offered to the market on a daily basis from several cotton trading countries. Generally, a very strong direct relationship exists between cotton area and this price index for the previous year. During the first six months of 1997/98 marketing year, the index has dropped 12 cents. This factor alone suggests that foreign cotton area next year will drop below the 28.4 million hectares estimated for 1997/98. However, area shifts also depend upon the price level of other crops in relation to the price of cotton, production costs associated with cotton production, and government policies. A drop in area for 1998/99 is projected by U.S. agricultural attaches stationed in major cotton producing countries worldwide.
Preliminary indications are that foreign cotton area in 1998/99 could range from 27.5 to 28.5 million hectares, compared with an estimated 28.4 million for 1997/98. The high end of the forecast range implies the advantageous impact of weaker prices for competing crops, favorable weather, and supportive government policies in several large producing countries. The low end of the forecast range considers the effect of higher competing crop prices. In addition, area harvested could be reduced due to weather and financial problems.
China: Cotton area for 1998/99 is highly uncertain. A continuation of circumstances that have plagued cotton production in the recent past indicate that area will decline to around 4.3 million hectares. This drop continues a yearly decline that began after 1992 when area reached a recent high of 6.8 million hectares. For the 1998/99 season, China announced a new policy which will permit growers in certain regions along the Yellow River to stop growing cotton. This new policy is reflective of growers disenchantment with cotton production, given high financial and labor costs and difficulties selling their crop. Reductions in the Yellow River area as a result of the new policy are in addition to continuing shifts in area from the North China Plain to other areas including Xinjiang province. These new areas provide higher yields and are less prone to disease and insects. Farmers are switching to other crops that provide a higher return on investment and require less costly inputs, especially labor. Grains and vegetables are the most frequently mentioned alternative crops, especially in northern provinces of the North China Plain. Corn is attractive since prices are currently above a year ago. Cotton prices are unlikely to increase from the official procurement price of (RMB14,000/MT) or about US$0.765 per pound that the Government pays farmers for cotton, (RMB8.30 = US$1.00).
Former Soviet Union (FSU): Cotton area for 1998/99 is forecast to remain near this year's 2.5 million hectares. As in past years, two opposing forces continue to influence the size of the cotton area. The Republics want to maintain or expand area to earn hard currency; on the other hand, they also want to increase food production to feed their growing populations. In addition to their food supply concerns, they continue to experience increases in land salinity from cotton production, encouraging a shift of land out of cotton cultivation. Uzbekistan is the FSU's largest cotton producer with production regulated by the government. At present, the Government 's policy for 1998/99 is to stabilize area at 1.5 million hectares, equaling this year's area. Turkmenistan, the second largest producer in the FSU, has had difficulties in maintaining production in recent years but recovered in 1997/98 after dropping to nearly half the previous year's level in 1996/97. The Government's action to privatize agricultural land in 1997/98 apparently resulted in sufficient incentives to reverse the downward spiral in production. However, cotton prices have remained low and input and machinery remain in short supply. Unless significant programs are enacted to address these problems, production is likely to remain stagnant at current levels with the 1998/99 area equaling the 0.6 million hectares of 1997/98.
Mexico: Cotton area is expected to increase to 250,000 hectares for 1998/99 from 200,000 in 1997/98, as growers respond to a new government assistance to cotton growers of 550 pesos per hectare under the new Rural Alliance Program (roughly US$66 per hectare, US$=8.277 pesos). This support is in addition to that already provided by the Program of Direct Aid to the Countryside (PROCAMPO). PROCAMPO's payments are also around US$65 per hectare. Under this program cotton producers received US$65 per hectare for the spring/summer 1997 crop cycle. However, production costs vary widely from area to area and are substantially higher than the support level. In northern Sonora, costs are estimated at US$1,153 per hectare while in the La Laguna/Torreon area, costs are reportedly US$897 per hectare. Production costs in coastal areas are lower, estimated at US$767 per hectare. According to industry sources, the national average costs are estimated at US$1,025 per hectare. With February Mexican cotton quoted at US$80 per 100 pounds, growers are making a profit given the national average yield of 881 kilograms per hectare. However, farmers are also indicating that they can do better with other crops because of cotton's higher relative cost of production.
Brazil: Cotton area for 1998/99 is forecast at 0.9 million hectares. The primary reasons for the potential stable area are increases in the official minimum price of cotton, up nearly 8 percent from last season, and increased financing at lower interest rates in 1997/98. These factors are expected to carry over into 1998/99, holding area near the 1997/98 level. Cotton production takes place in three separate regions: Northeast, Center-South, and Center-West. During the 1997/98 sowing season, area shifts occurred among these regions. Area increased in the Center-West states of Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and western Minas Gerais where large farms allow for greater mechanization and more efficient input use. The larger area in these states are expected to offset drops in cotton areas in the Center-South states of Parana and Sao Paulo and in the Northeast. The higher cost of production in the Center-South and greater competition from alternative crops, such as soybeans, have encouraged growers to shift out of cotton into alternative crops.
Argentina: Cotton area for 1998/99 is projected near the 1.0 million hectares estimated for 1997/98. This forecast is very tentative since the 1997/98 crop is at the boll opening stage and the planting of the 1998/99 crop will not occur until September. The level of the current crop is a result of higher prices last year and the demand pull from Brazil during 1997. The forecast for 1998/99 assumes that returns to alternative crop are not too different from the current year and that the strong demand from Brazilian textile mills continues during 1998. This situation is likely, even in the face of expanding production in Brazil and lower world prices, since long-term financial arrangements are in place for continued Argentine cotton imports into Brazil and because Argentina has made substantial investment in its cotton sector.
Paraguay: The 1998/99 cotton area is projected at 325,000 hectares, well below the government plan of 450,000. There are several factors which will play a significant role in Paraguay's cotton outlook for 1998/99. Primary among these are the uncertain outlook for critical government financial support both in amount and in timeliness, official efforts to support production of alternative crops, and insufficient farmer knowledge of modern farming methods. Further, the effect of cotton expansion in Brazil, Paraguay's main export market, may reduce demand there, with subsequent lower production incentives for Paraguayan farmers. Although greater government assistance has resulted in increased planted area in the current season, planted area fell well short of the government's stated goal of about 400,000 hectares. Nevertheless, the Government is pushing for continued area expansion under its reactivation plan for the cotton sector for the outyear. Paraguay is not likely to reach this goal due to the uncertainties mentioned above.
Pakistan: Cotton area for 1998/99 should not be significantly differ from the 2.9 million hectares estimated for 1997/98 since domestic seed cotton prices this year remained relatively high compared with previous year's. Strong demand by the textile industry and exporters under the free trade regime have supported domestic prices. Farmers' average sale price of seed cotton has been between Rs. 800-950 per maund (37.324 kilograms) or about US$0.22 to US$0.26 per pound at the current exchange rate of US$1=Rs. 44. The domestic lint prices have also increased above the level of prevailing world lint prices after taking into account the quality differences. Also, the planned wide scale distribution of insect and virus tolerant varieties for planting in 1998/99 will help to maintain cotton area at 1997/98 levels.
India: Despite high domestic prices during the ongoing 1997/98 marketing season, cotton planting in 1998/99 is likely to decline as farmers respond to heavy losses suffered in the current season, particularly in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, due to untimely rains and pest attack. Factors influencing cotton planting for the 1998/99 season are: end season price for the 1997/98 crop; 1998 monsoon rainfall situation; pest and weather related problems encountered by the cotton farmers during the current year; and the 1998 export outlook for cotton yarn. The net impact of all these factors could be a marginal decline in cotton planting this year from the 1997/98 near record level of 9.0 million hectares. Because of the cotton losses in northern states and Andhra Pradesh, farmers may switch to other competing crops (rice/coarse cereals/sugarcane in northern states and tobacco/chillies/coarse cereals in Andhra Pradesh). However, the likely area decline in these states would be partially offset by increased cotton area in some of the central and southern states where the return from cotton this year has been excellent.
Australia: The outlook for cotton area for 1998/99 will be closely linked to both water availability and market price. A combination of relatively high prices, high levels of irrigation water, and good soil moisture levels resulted in a record 430,000 hectares sown in 1997/98. Continued availability of irrigation water depends upon upcoming weather patterns and government water allocation policy, but water supplies are unlikely to improve from the current year's plentiful level. At the same time, world prices have fallen since this year's crop was planted due mainly to the Asian financial crisis, which has sharply reduced import demand from many of Australia's major customers, especially Indonesia. Uncertainty about the Asian crisis and associated price effects give a preliminary area forecast of about 400,000 hectares for 1998/99, close to the level of the 1996/97 crop. Developments affecting production further in the future include the potential construction of two new dams by the Queensland government and the possibility of expansion in the Ord River area, which is in the experimental stages and relies heavily on the success of transgenic cotton.
Turkey: The cotton area for 1998/99 is forecast to move above the 1997/98 level of 700,000 hectares. The increase in area can be attributed to the continued profitability of cotton and the expansion of cotton area under the GAP project. Although cotton is profitable, the area increase could be mitigated as the returns from other crops such as wheat are as profitable and could be favored over cotton, if labor shortages for cotton harvest are anticipated.
Egypt: Cotton area for 1998/99 is forecast unchanged from the previous year at 360,000 hectares. However, the area sown to cotton could change between now and planting time depending upon government policy. With domestic cotton consumption stagnant, ending stocks are expected to increase significantly in 1998/99 from their already high level of 1997/98. In an effort to curb the oversupply of raw cotton, the Egyptian Cotton Export Association has asked the ministry of agriculture to lower the total area planted to cotton in 1998/99 to between 210,000 and 250,000 hectares and reduce the procurement price paid to farmers.
In addition to a reduction in planted area, the cotton industry has asked the government to reduce the large stockpile of raw cotton by lowering the sale price of cotton to both local mills and for export.
Ronald R. Roberson, Cotton Chairperson
Phone: (202) 720-0879 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Foreign Cotton: Area, Yield,
and Production Year
|1998/99||Forecast 27,500 to 28,500|
NOTE: Information in this article is based on field reports received in early January 1998 from U. S. agricultural counselors and attaches, together with information from USDA Washington analysts. Actual area could vary from these estimates for a number of reasons, including government policy changes, weather during the crop season, and price changes for cotton and competing crops. The first official USDA forecast of total cotton area for 1998/99 will be issued in May. Individual country estimates for area, yield, and production will be released in July of this year.
Total grain production in Central and East Africa for 1997/98 is forecast at 24.4 million tons, down from 26.9 million in 1996/97. Area harvested in 1997/98 is forecast at 24.4 million hectares, down from 26.1 million last season. For the purpose of this article Central and East Africa include the following countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire.
The 1997 rainy season was delayed in many countries; however, the main grain crops had been planted. In Cameroon and the Central African Republic, millet is harvested, while the second corn and rice crops are developing satisfactorily. Crop prospects in eastern Zaire are unfavorable due to civil unrest. Grain production prospects for Somalia, Burundi, and Rwanda have been adversely affected by a delay in the rainy season. In Ethiopia, grain output is estimated lower than the previous year. The corn crop in Kenya is again below normal, while in Sudan, a bumper grain crop is projected. In Tanzania, the grain crops are lower as the country suffered a drought during the short- rains season and erratic precipitation during the long-rains season. In Uganda, crops were adversely affected by erratic rainfall.
Burundi: In Burundi, total grain production for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.2 million tons, marginally higher than the previous year. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.2 million hectares, nearly unchanged from last year. The main grain crops produced are corn and sorghum, forecast at 0.2 million and 70,000 tons, respectively. Abundant rains from October 1997, following a three week delay at the beginning of the rainy season, allowed continuation of planting operations and provided relief to early-planted crops. Corn yield is near the 5-year average at 1.30 tons per hectare.
Cameroon: Total grain production in Cameroon for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.1 million tons, down from 1.2 million in 1996/97. Harvested area in 1997/98 is forecast at 0.9 million hectares, virtually the same as in 1996/97. The main grains produced in Cameroon are corn and millet, forecast at 0.6 million and 0.4 million tons, respectively. Rainfall in Cameroon was abundant from August to November. Harvesting of millet has ended in the north, while the second corn crop is growing satisfactorily in the central growing areas.
Central African Republic: Total grain production in the Central African Republic for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.1 million tons, down marginally from 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.1 million hectares, unchanged from the previous year. The main grain crops produced are corn and millet, forecast at 60,000 and 40,000 tons, respectively. Growing conditions have been favorable throughout the season. Harvesting of millet is complete and the second corn crop is in good condition.
Ethiopia: Total grain production in Ethiopia for 1997/98 is forecast at 8.8 million tons, down from 9.2 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 7.2 million hectares, unchanged from the previous year. The main grain crops produced are barley, corn, sorghum, and wheat, forecast at 1.5 million, 3.0 million, 2.0 million, and 1.9 million tons, respectively. There are two growing seasons in Ethiopia: the main (Mehr) season and the minor (Belg) season. The Mehr season grain crops were hit by drought, resulting in a decline in production. The Belg season is also poor, as the rains were late causing farmers to delay planting and switch from long-cycle grains to short-cycle grains. Later, above normal rains caused extensive flooding. Other reported problems that decreased production were reduced fertilizer use, low subsidies and credit restrictions.
Kenya: In Kenya, total grain production for 1997/98 is forecast at 2.9 million tons, up from 2.8 million in 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 2.1 million hectares, up from 2.0 million in 1996/97. Although area is slightly higher this year, it is still below average for Kenya. The main grain crops grown are corn and wheat, forecast at 2.2 million and 0.4 million tons, respectively. The low production level this season is attributed to a prolonged drought during the main-season crop that delayed planting and reduced yields. The short-rains corn crop was hampered by excessive rainfall. In the eastern areas, where most of the crops are grown, flooding and planting delays were reported. The wheat crop was not affected by drought and is mostly produced by large, mechanized farm operations. Rice production has stagnated at about 30,000 tons a year and most of that is grown under irrigation in government controlled schemes. Efforts are being made to promote rainfed rice production instead of irrigation projects that are expensive to start and maintain. Several of these projects have been started but were not successful.
Rwanda: Total grain output in Rwanda for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.2 million tons, up slightly from last year. Area harvested in 1997/98 is forecast at 0.2 million hectares, up slightly from 1996/97. The main grain crops produced are corn and sorghum, both forecast at 0.1 million tons. A delay of the rains at the beginning of the season has been followed by adequate rainfall.
Somalia: Total grain output in Somalia for 1997/98 is forecast at 0.4 million tons, up from 0.3 million in 1996/97. Area harvested in 1997/98 is forecast at 0.8 million hectares, up from 0.7 million in 1996/97. The main grain crops produced are corn and sorghum, forecast at 0.2 million and 0.2 million tons, respectively. Heavy rains in late 1997 and early 1998 caused floods in some agricultural areas. Reportedly, corn and sorghum crops have been affected in Juba, Shebella, and in the sorghum belt of Bay, Bakool, and Hiraan regions as well as the north-west. Corn area is above last season's level, while yield is down due to adverse weather and continued economic problems.
Sudan: In Sudan, total grain production for 1997/98 is forecast at 4.6 million tons, down from 5.2 million in 1996/97. Area harvested in 1997/98 is forecast at 6.8 million hectares, down from 8.4 million last season. The main grain crops produced are millet, sorghum, and wheat, forecast at 0.6 million, 3.4 million, and 0.6 million tons, respectively. Grain production is down, due to the decline in sorghum production. Total sorghum production is forecast down by nearly 20 percent resulting from lower area planted and the effect of dry conditions. Millet production has increased from last year's level. The rainfall pattern in the millet producing areas of the west has been significantly better than last year and pest damage is much less. Wheat output in the irrigated areas was good this season.
Tanzania: In Tanzania, total grain production for 1997/98 is forecast at 3.1 million tons, down from 4.5 million in 1996/97. Area harvested in 1997/98 is forecast at 3.0 million hectares, down from 3.2 million last season. The main grain crops produced are corn, sorghum, and rice forecast at 1.9 million, 0.5 million, and 0.4 million tons, respectively. Following two good harvests, the current crop is estimated below average due to unfavorable weather including severe widespread drought. All corn is grown under rainfed conditions and produced in almost every part of Tanzania, with the southern highlands being the dominant corn-growing region. Rice production is projected to increase over the next several years as farmers expand planted area, use better farming techniques, and switching to the more popular higher yielding rice varieties. Most of the rice produced is grown by small-scale farmers in rainfed areas.
Uganda: In Uganda, total grain output for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.5 million tons, down from 1.8 million in 1996/97. Area harvested is forecast at 1.1 million hectares, down from 1.3 million in 1996/97. The main grains produced in Uganda are corn, millet, and sorghum, forecast at 0.8 million, 0.4 million, and 0.4 million tons, respectively. Grain production is projected to decline again this season as a month's delay in the beginning of the rainy season resulted in reduced area while widespread heavy November rains caused floods, damaging the crops. In the northern areas, civil unrest is still affecting agricultural activities. For this reason, crop yields are forecast below the 5-year average.
Zaire: In Zaire, total grain production for 1997/98 is forecast at 1.4 million tons, down slightly from 1996/97. Area harvested for 1997/98 is forecast at 2.0 million hectares, virtually unchanged from last year.
The main grain crops produced are corn and rice, forecast at 1.1 million and 0.3 million tons, respectively. Seasonal rains began in August in the north and moved south, with abundant rain falling over the entire country in October and early November. The main corn crop was planted following the onset of the rains and millet has been harvested in the east. In parts of eastern, central, and southern areas, the corn crop is stressed due to intermittent rains, a lack of basic inputs, as well as delayed plantings due to civil unrest, displacing population.
Theresa Wright, Regional Analyst
Phone: (202) 720-8887 E:mail: email@example.com
This article discusses the 1997/98 corn production prospects in the major corn producing countries. Argentina's corn crop is estimated at a record level, while corn crops in Brazil, South Africa, and Thailand are projected lower than 1996/97. (See table 5 of this circular for area, yield, and production estimates for all major countries or regions.)
Thailand: Corn production in Thailand for 1997/98 is estimated at 3.3 million tons, down 0.6 million or 15 percent from 1996/97. Harvested area is estimated at 1.0 million hectares, down 0.2 million from last season. Yield prospects at 3.20 tons per hectare are down nearly 2 percent due to hot, dry weather early in the growing season (May - July 1997). The most severely affected areas were in the Central Plains, Lower North, and parts of the Northeast. However, the second-crop corn (planted in August and September) benefitted from favorable weather. The increasing use of high yielding varieties and adequate rainfall for the second-crop corn kept yields from falling.
South Africa: Corn production in South Africa for 1997/98 is estimated at 7.5 million tons, down 1.5 million or 17 percent from last year and about 10 percent below the 5-year average of 8.3 million tons. The reduction is based on lower area and yield. Yield was effected by variable weather during planting and early crop development.
Fears of an El Nino-related drought and dry planting conditions in the west and northwest Maize Triangle caused farmers to reduce area to an estimated 2.9 million hectares, down 0.5 million from last year. The phasing-out of South Africa's grain marketing boards and its transition to a free market agricultural system also have encouraged farmers to change their planting patterns. Marginal lands are being taken out of production and some farmers are switching from corn to oilseeds or other competing crops. Corn area normally is divided about equally between white and yellow varieties, but this year the ratio is about 60/40 in favor of higher-priced white corn.
The current yield is estimated at 2.59 tons per hectare, down 4 percent from last year. Crop conditions in the eastern growing regions are favorable due to sustained rainfall and near-normal temperatures. However, late- arriving rains in the western areas delayed planting into mid-January. Localized heavy rainfall in late-December and early-January caused flooding and hampered field work in some areas. In early-February, hot and dry weather stressed the crop in the northwest. Temperatures and rainfall during February and March will be critical in determining the yield of the 1997/98 corn crop.
Brazil: Corn production in Brazil for 1997/98 is estimated at 33.0 million tons, down 2.8 million or 8 percent from last year's bumper crop. Harvested area is estimated at 12.6 million hectares, down 1.0 million from 1996/97. Strong soybean prices encouraged producers in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sol, Parana, and Sao Paulo to expand soybean area at the expense of corn. Planting of the main-season corn crop is finished. This crop accounts for over 90 percent of production and is planted during a 4-month window ending in December. The weather has been generally favorable, although irregular rainfall in Mato Grosso do Sol has stressed crops. The area for the safrina corn crop, which will be planted in March, is expected to be above last year's level. Since wheat returns have been below expectations the past several years, there is an incentive to plant additional second-crop corn instead of wheat. Total corn yield is estimated at 2.62 tons per hectare, down marginally from last season and slightly below the record 2.64 tons in 1994/95.
Argentina: Corn production in Argentina for 1997/98 is estimated at a record 16.5 million tons, up 1.0 million or 6 percent from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 3.3 million hectares, down 3 percent from 1997/98. Corn planting was completed by the end of January; however, the crop progressed at a slightly slower pace than last year. Argentina has a long planting window that begins in October and extends into January, although the majority of the crop is in the tassel-to-silking stage in January. Rainfall was ideal throughout the entire growing season and inputs such as fertilizer are higher again this season. A comparison of vegetative indices from this season with the 1996/97 season indicates that the main corn-growing areas of northern Buenos Aires Province are similar to last year. In addition, the marginal corn-growing areas, in southern Buenos Aires, Sante Fe, and Cordoba Provinces, are expected to yield more than last season.
Total corn yield is forecast at a record 5.00 tons per hectare, up 10 percent from last year's record level.
Timothy Rocke, Chairperson Phone: (202)
720-1572 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Provance, Thailand Analyst Phone: (202) 720-0882 E-mail: email@example.com
Paulette Sandene, South Africa Analyst Phone: (202) 720-0133 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Tetrault, Argentina, Brazil Analyst Phone: (202) 690-0140 E-mail: email@example.com
World peanut production for 1997/98 is forecast at 27.0 million tons, down 1.9 million or 7 percent from 1996/97. Output is expected to be down in China, India, and the United States while production increases are forecast for Argentina, Senegal, and Nigeria.
China: Tied with India this year as the world's largest producer of peanuts, China accounted for 30 percent of world output in 1997/98. Although China's peanut area is less than half that of the Indian area, yield in China averages more than twice that of India. China's peanut production in 1997/98 is estimated at 8.0 million tons, down nearly 2.1 million or 21 percent from last year due to reduced yield. Severe drought in Shandong, Henan, and Hebei Provinces during the 1997/98 season reduced estimated yield to 2.22 tons per hectare, the lowest since 1992/93. These three provinces on the North China Plain normally account for 60 percent of China's total peanut crop. Good yields are projected in southern China, where about 20 percent of the peanut crop is grown. Peanuts are generally grown on non-irrigated and low-quality land in China, making them more vulnerable to drought than crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton which are primarily grown under irrigation. Peanut production has doubled in the past 10 years due to a combination of increased planted area and improving yields, particularly from 1992 to 1996.
India: Peanuts are India's largest oilseed crop, providing 30 to 35 percent of total vegetable oil supplies. Peanut production for 1997/98 is estimated at 8.0 million tons, down 0.2 million or 2 percent from last year. Area for 1997/98 is estimated at 8.1 million hectares, down slightly from 1996/97. Peanuts in India are grown primarily in two seasons. The primary peanut growing season is the kharif (monsoon) season followed by the rabi (winter) season. The primary kharif peanut-growing states are Gujarat (28 percent), Andhra Pradesh (30 percent), Tamil Nadu (20 percent), Karnataka (12 percent), and Maharashtra (9 percent). This crop is mostly rain fed, with only 17 percent of area under assured irrigation. For realizing optimum yields, the kharif crop requires a minimum of four good rains evenly dispersed from late June through early September. The rabi peanut crop, which accounts for about 25 percent of total production, is grown mostly in southern India under irrigated conditions, and yields are much higher than kharif-season yields.
A near record peanut harvest in Gujarat, now estimated at 2.2 million tons, versus 1.7 million last year, has largely offset a decline in peanut production in Andhra Pradesh, where the kharif crop is currently estimated at 0.9 million tons, half a million below last year's level. Total kharif peanut production for India is estimated at 5.3 million tons compared to 5.7 million last year. Assuming a normal rabi-season, output of 2.3 million tons is expected.
Nigeria: The largest peanut producer in Africa, Nigeria overtook the United States as the world's third leading peanut producer in 1995/96. Peanuts as a major cash crop have gradually been gaining popularity across the savanna zones over the past few years. Last season, there were no reported incidences of wide-spread pest or disease outbreaks. However, there were reports of localized incidences of armyworm and termite attacks; but, infestations were light. Land area devoted to peanuts in 1997/98 is estimated to have increased to 2.0 million hectares, up 10 percent from 1996/97 while output is estimated just 2 percent higher at 1.8 million tons. The lower yield is probably due to the non-availability of single super phosphate fertilizers or improved seed varieties as changes in agricultural policy have increased prices and reduced the availability of inputs.
United States: The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture estimates the 1997/98 peanut crop at 1.61 million tons, down 3 percent from 1996/97, but 2 percent above the 1995/96 crop. Harvested area at 0.57 million hectares was up 2 percent from 1996/97. Production in the southeastern States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina) was down as conditions were either too wet or too dry during most of the season. Production from the Virginia-North Carolina area was down 11 percent as a cool, wet spring was followed by hot, dry weather in the summer. The Southwest's crop was up 15 percent from 1996/97 on improved yields. Texas recorded its highest production ever and tied last year's record yield.
Indonesia: Peanut production is forecast to remain at approximately 1.0 million tons in 1997/98 with harvested area remaining unchanged at 0.7 million hectares. The production in Indonesia remains insufficient for domestic demand. Government efforts to bolster rice production in the face of a late onset to the rainy season, which did not begin until November, may limit peanut plantings.
Senegal: Peanut production is estimated at 0.7 million tons in 1997/98, up 20 percent from a disappointing season in 1996/97. Area harvested is estimated at 0.8 million hectares, down 10 percent from 1996/97. Uneven rains and a dry spell hurt the 1996/97 crop. Senegal produces a high proportion of peanuts for oil, with 90 percent of output as oil nuts and the balance as edible nuts. Over the past decade, Senegal's output level has varied; however, there is no clear directional trend.
The highest production levels occurred in 1989/90 and 1995/96 at 0.82 and 0.83 million tons respectively, with low levels occurring in 1993/94 and 1996/97 at 0.62 and 0.60 million tons.
Argentina: Although accounting for only 2 percent of world output, Argentina is Latin America's number one peanut producer. Production for 1997/98 is forecast at a 0.6 million tons, double last year crop. Above-average yields are projected for this year's crop due to adequate soil moisture at planting and beneficial rains in Cordoba Province. Planted area is expected to increase because of higher prices and more export opportunities. Harvested area for 1997/98 is estimated at 0.4 million hectares, up 27 percent from the previous season. Production has ranged between 0.19 and 0.46 million tons over the last 10 years due primarily to variability in planted area. Harvested area fell to a low of 0.11 million hectares in 1992/93, then rose to 0.28 million in 1996/97.
Peanuts are concentrated in Cordoba Province, which accounts for 98 percent of the crop. The decision to plant peanuts depends on peanut prices as well as soybean prices--the main alternative crop. Peanuts are three to four times more expensive to produce than soybeans. Confectionery peanuts, are typically 60 to 70 percent of the crop; the remainder is crushed.
Paul Provance, Regional Analyst
Phone: (202) 720-0882