Argentina: Soybean Production Rises as Moisture Improves
Argentina's 1999/2000 soybean production is estimated at 19.5 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month, but 2 percent below last years record. Harvested area is estimated at a record 8.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month but up 3 percent from last season. Planting began in early November and was essentially complete as of February 4. After dryness caused planting delays early in the season, significant progress was made when beneficial rains fell in mid- to late-December. Additional rainfall in January has continued to improve crop development. In the eastern and northern growing areas, more moisture is needed as seasonal rainfall totals remain below normal. Driest conditions are in Entre Rios (3-4% of total production) which has received less than 50 percent of its normal rainfall for the season. In western growing areas, rainfall has been adequate to plentiful.
Brazil: Dry Conditions Trim Soybean Production
The 1999/00 soybean crop is estimated at 30.5 million metric tons, or 2 percent below last months estimate. Harvested area remains unchanged at 13.1 million hectares. Rainfall during the 1999/00 growing season has been generally favorable in northern Brazil; however, dryness during October to December delayed planting in southern states from Mato Grosso do Sul to Rio Grande do Sul. Improved rainfall in January benefitted soybeans in drought impacted states, but seasonal precipitation levels are still below average. About 30 percent of the soybean crop is in the vegetative stage, 40 percent in bloom, 25 percent in grain fill and another 5 percent mature.
Australia: 1999/2000 Wheat Production Forecast Rises
Australias 1999/2000 wheat output is estimated at 23.5 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month and up 2.5 million or 12 percent from last year. There is no change in area this month, however, area is up 0.4 million hectares or 4 percent from last year. At 12.0 million hectares, this is Australias largest area since 1984/85. Wheat production is projected higher this season as a result of a marginally larger planted area and above average yields. The weather over much of the grain growing regions has provided significant winter rainfall amounts, particularly during the latter portion of the season, while only a few pockets in the southern growing areas experienced extended dry conditions. In many areas, late season rainfall adversely impacted grain quality and slowed harvesting. The yields will be above average in most states with the final yields approaching record levels in Western Australia. Harvesting operations have finished in all regions except for the latest planted crops in the south.
South Africa: Favorable Weather Boosts Corn Yield, Production
South Africa's 1999/2000 corn production is estimated at 9.0 million tons, up 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month due to higher forecast yield. Planting was delayed 2 to 4 weeks because of dryness in October and November, but widespread rainfall and moderate temperatures since the second week of December favored late-season planting, emergence, and development. The main agricultural region (Maize Triangle) has received adequate rainfall this summer, while unusually heavy precipitation was reported in marginal crop areas. No serious flood damage or waterlogging have been reported to date, and the corn crop is generally in good condition. The first official production estimate by the South Africa Government will be released in late-February.
Paraguay: Dryness Reduces Soybean Production
The 1999/2000 soybean crop is currently estimated at 2.5 million tons, down 0.5 million tons or 17 percent from last month and last year due to the ongoing drought. Harvested area is estimated at 1.1 million hectares, down 0.1 million hectares or 8 percent below last month and last year. The crop is generally planted from September to November, and harvested from mid-February to June. The major soybean areas include Itapua, Alto Parana and Canin; minor producing areas include Misiones, Concepcion and San Pedro. Cumulative rainfall for the period October to December, 1999 was between 50 to 75 percent of normal. Rainfall for January was 75 to 100 percent of normal, improving crop prospects in key soybean areas.
Zimbabwe: Corn Area and Production Estimates Reduced
Corn production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1.7 million tons, down 0.3 million or 15 percent from last month, but up 0.2 million from last year. Area is estimated at 1.4 million hectares, down 50,000 hectares from a year ago as farmers responded to high input costs and low corn prices by reducing area. Rainfall during the growing season has been above-normal in southern and central parts of the country, providing abundant moisture for non-irrigated crops. The prime corn areas of northern Zimbabwe experienced episodes of dryness from November through mid-January which hindered planting and caused some crop stress, but irrigation should reduce the impact on yields. According to local farm officials, the forecast for the 1999/2000 commercial crop (about 30 to 40 percent of total output) declined from pre-season estimates due to lower area, dryness at planting, and the effect of high input costs and fuel shortages.
Russia: State Statistical Committee Announces Harvest Results
According to preliminary 1999/2000 harvest results published by the State Statistical Committee of Russia, production of wheat and coarse grains recovered from last years 40-year low levels. Wheat production is estimated at 31.0 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month and up 4.1 million from last year. Coarse-grain production is estimated at 21.8 million tons, down 0.6 million from last month, but up 2.9 million from last year. Estimated output increased for most coarse grains: barley (from 9.8 million tons last year to10.6 million in 1999/2000), rye (from 3.3 to 4.8 million), millet (from 0.5 to 0.9 million), and corn (from 0.8 to 1.1 million). Estimated production of oats decreased slightly, from 4.6 million tons in 1998/99 to 4.4 million in 1999/2000. According to Russias grain-inspection agency, grain quality is lower only 63 percent of the wheat met food-quality standards, compared to 76 percent last year. Despite a 15-percent increase in total wheat production, the amount of food-quality wheat is down slightly from 1998/99.
Ukraine: Harvest Data Indicates Drop in Wheat, Coarse Grains
Reductions in both area and yield resulted in a 10-percent year-to-year drop in Ukraine total grain production for 1999/2000, according to official preliminary harvest results. Wheat production is estimated at 13.5 million tons, down 0.5 million from last month and down 1.4 million from last year. Corn is increased this month by 0.9 million tons to an estimated 1.7 million as harvest results indicate a dramatic increase in the private sector which now comprises more than half the total corn output. Typically, only a quarter of total corn production is harvested by the private sector. Although estimated barley production increased from 5.9 million tons in 1998/99 to 6.4 million this year, a drop in corn output from 2.3 to 1.7 million tons dragged total coarse grain output down 0.5 million tons from last year to 10.0 million tons.
Kazakstan: Wheat Production Skyrockets this Season
Wheat production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 11.2 million tons, up 0.2 million from last month and up 6.5 million nearly 140 percent from last year. Coarse-grain output (slightly lower this month) doubled this year to an estimated 2.7 million tons, including 2.3 million tons of barley, despite a slight decrease in sown area. Yields benefitted from excellent weather throughout the growing season.
India: GOI Revises Wheat Area and Production Figures
Wheat production forecasts were reassessed based on recently released data from the Government of India (GOI). The government recently lowered 1999/2000 wheat production to 70.8 million tons from the earlier estimate of 71.0 million. The 1998/99 wheat production was revised to 66.35 million from the earlier 65.90. Harvesting of the 1999/2000 crop was completed in April 1999. Northern India enjoyed below normal temperatures and plentiful sunshine during February-March 1999, beneficial for grain development. Water (rainfall and irrigation) was adequate during critical growth stages, and despite some temporary shortages of phosphatic fertilizer, applications were higher than a year ago. The only significant problem was weeds (mainly phalaris minor), which also enjoyed optimal growing conditions and proved difficult of control. Hot, dry weather at harvest minimized losses, leaving grain in good condition for storage.
Romania: Corn Production Raised
Romanias corn production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 10.5 million tons from 3.0 million hectares. The corn harvest is increased 0.5 million tons from last month and 24 percent over a dismal 1998 corn crop of 8.5 million tons. The 1999/2000 bumper corn harvest was achieved after a disappointing wheat crop earlier in the season. Wheat plantings were hindered by unfavorable weather in the Fall of 1998 then sustained significant damage from rains during spring and particularly at harvest. Land was substituted from wheat to corn and with the beneficial warm, dry weather arriving during late summer, the corn crop did very well. In addition, wheat production is revised down 3 percent from last month to 4.7 million tons based on harvest results. Wheat area only totaled 1.7 million hectares- Romanias second lowest harvested area in thirty years (1992 had 1.5 million).
Egypt: Rice Increased as Area Rises
Egypts 1999/2000 milled rice production is estimated at 3.5 million tons, up 10 percent from last month and up 33 percent from last year. Harvested rice area is estimated at 630,000 hectares, an increase of 50,000 hectares or a 9 percent jump over last month. According to a recent report from the U.S. agricultural counselor in Cairo, the Egyptian government has been (unsuccessfully) attempting to reduce sown rice area to just 378,000 hectares to better utilize the countries limited water resources. However, farmers have been reluctant to switch, and have continued to plant rice because of its higher profitability when compared to other crops.
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