ARGENTINA: SOYBEAN PRODUCTION RISES ON BOOSTED AREA
Argentina's 1999/2000 soybean production is estimated at 19.0 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month, but 5 percent below last year. Harvested area is revised upward from 7.8 to 8.0 million hectares based on planted area estimated at 8.2 million hectares. Compared to the previous season, planted area has increased in all the major soybean-growing provinces, most particularly in the north where soybeans, among other crops offering better returns for farmers, are replacing cotton. As of January 7, approximately 94 percent of the total area (94 percent of the single crop, 98 percent of the second crop) had been planted. Rainfall during mid- to late-December improved moisture conditions in many areas which had been dry, allowed significant progress in planting and was favorable for crop development. However, low subsoil moisture in northern Buenos Aires and Entre Rios provinces remains a concern.
BRAZIL: PERSISTENT DRYNESS REDUCES CORN ESTIMATE
The 1999/2000 corn crop is estimated at 32.0 million tons, down 1.0 million or 3 percent from last month and nearly 1 percent below last year. The La Niņa related dryness in the southern states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul adversely impacted the corn crop throughout emergence and reproductive growth stages. These three states are cumulatively responsible for about 38 percent of total corn production.
Two corn crops are generally cultivated: the first crop is planted from October to December and harvested February to June and accounts for about 80 - 85 percent of total corn production. Rainfall from September through December was irregular, particularly within the southern states and delayed planting operations by about 2 to 3 weeks. The second or Safrinha crop is currently being planted and has recently received scattered precipitation, but with inadequate soil moisture, more rainfall is needed.
THAILAND: RECORD RICE ESTIMATE FOLLOWS FAVORABLE RAINFALL
Thailand is expected to produce a record 15.9 million tons of milled rice in 1999/2000, up 0.5 million from last month and up 4 percent from the 1998/99 revised crop. Thailand has a main and a second season crop each year. The main season crop is rainfed, comprising about 80 percent of total production and is harvested from mid-October to late-January. The irrigated second season crop is grown during the dry season, being harvested from April to September. The monsoon began early in 1999, at the beginning of April, and allowed the main season crop to be planted as much as a month ahead of normal. Regular, widespread average to above-average rainfall in all regions caused main season rice to achieve near record yields. Additionally, forecasts indicate area for the second season crop may approach the record levels of 1997/98. Second season crop planting will begin in January, and depends on adequate water levels in the countrys reservoirs. Currently, the combined water supplies at the two key dams controlling water levels in the Northern Region and Central Plain where most of the irrigated crop is grown are roughly 17 percent above the twenty-five year average.
BANGLADESH: RECORD RICE HARVEST PRESSURES PRICES
The 1999/2000 rice crop is currently forecast at a record 19.7 million tons (milled basis), up 150,000 tons from last month and up 3 percent from last season, while forecast harvested area remains unchanged at 10.5 million hectares. The first of three crops (aus) was harvested at expected levels, while the second crop (aman) is nearly harvested and initial reports indicate that production is above expectations. The third crop (boro) was planted in December. Domestic prices have weakened and fallen below the cost of imports. The impact of consecutive favorable rice harvests has lowered imports from 2.5 million in MY1998/99 (July/June) to a forecast 1.0 million for MY1999/2000. Despite relatively large stocks of food grains, the government has decided to continue domestic procurement in order to support rice growers at Taka 12.5/kg (US $0.12/lb) of rice. Field reports suggest that farm gate prices may continue to decline until harvest pressure eases.
CHINA: REVISED YIELD ESTIMATES RESULT IN COTTON PRODUCTION PLUNGE
Chinas 1999/2000 cotton production is estimated at 17.6 million bales (3.83 million tons), down 1.4 million or 7 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year. The reduction is based in part on information from official Chinese government sources. Estimated yield, at 982 kilograms per hectare, is above the 5-year average but lower than the last two years. A recent production outlook survey indicated that yields were affected by late planting and flooding in southern cotton areas, drought in northern China, and wind damage in Xinjiang. Based on the revised cotton estimate, cottonseed production was lowered this month to 6.9 million tons.
Area is estimated at a record-low 3.9 million hectares, down 13 percent from a year ago. Farmers reduced cotton area in 1999/2000 in response to low procurement prices and government policies intended to reduce excess cotton stocks. The largest area declines were in the Yangtze River valley, especially in Jiangsu, Hubei, and Anhui provinces. Planted area was stable in Xinjiang, which now accounts for more than a third of Chinas cotton output.
PAKISTAN: COTTON PRODUCTION ESTIMATE RISES
Pakistans cotton production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 8.0 million bales, up 0.2 million from last month and up 1.7 million from last years weather and insect reduced crop. The increase is based largely on early arrival data, good growing weather and the absence of major pest problems. Through January 1, 2000; cotton arrivals at gins were reported 34% above last years arrivals. The faster pace is due to the early maturation of the crop, a shift to early season varieties, and hot temperatures earlier in season. Observers expect a marginal third picking, due to less fertilizer use and early onset of wheat planting this season. Weather through the beginning of January has been favorable for cotton harvesting.
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