FEATURE COMMODITY ARTICLES
DURUM WHEAT PROSPECTS FOR 2000/01
Total durum wheat production for 2000/01 for selected durum-producing countries (see tables) is estimated at 27.8 million tons, up 2.8 million from last year due to increases in the United States, EU15, and near record large production in Canada, accounting for half the increase for 2000/01. These countries are estimated to account for 67 percent of the durum production for 2000/01. Reductions are expected in the northwest African countries of Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. Selected country data on area, yield and production can be found in Tables 1-3.
In aggregate, durum accounts for 5 percent of worlds total wheat production. Harvested area for 2000/01 is estimated at 15.9 million hectares, up 0.5 million from last year. Yields are forecast at 1.77 tons per hectare, slightly above the 5-year average of 1.71 tons.
United States: Total U.S. durum wheat production for 2000/01 is forecast at 3.1 million tons, up 16 percent from last season according to the National Agricultural Statistics Services August 11 Crop Production report. Yield is forecast at 1.9 tons per hectare, down from last month, but up 4 percent from last season. Although the major durum producing state of North Dakota has had a better growing season than last year, potential yield has been reduced from earlier forecasts because of disease problems. The crop has matured at a pace more than a week ahead of average due to early planting and favorable growing conditions. In Montana, the second largest durum producing state, the crop has benefitted from generally good moisture conditions.
Canada: Many producers switched to planting durum instead of other types of spring wheat this year. A drought in the durum-growing regions of north Africa, an important durum consumer, encouraged producers to plant durum this year. Higher world prices were also a key factor. This seasons forecast area of 2.6 million hectares is up 48 percent from last year. More than 80 percent of the crop is grown in the province of Saskatchewan. The eastern Saskatchewan main durum region has received excellent rainfall, and the western part of the province received average rainfall. Yields are expected to be above average at 2.31 tons per hectare, but still below last years record. Production is estimated at 6.0 million tons, up 0.7 million or 40 percent from last year, but short of 1998/99's record 6.1 million harvest.
EU-15: Durum wheat output is estimated at 9.4 million tons, up 1.6 million or 21 percent from last year. Production is up in almost every European country, most notably in Spain, France, and Italy. Total harvested area is forecast at 3.6 million hectares, up 1 percent from last year. The increase in area this year can be attributed to strong world prices, a drought in northern Africa, and a change in the European Unions Common Agricultural Policy that makes it more desirable for farmers to grow grains over oilseeds. Forecast yield is up 7 percent from last year, from 2.44 to 2.62 tons per hectare. A major reason for the jump in total yields was the rise in Spains durum yield. Spain grows 22 percent of the EU-15's durum. Last year Spain experienced a devastating drought in its major durum-growing area in the south. Spanish yields were up 70 percent this year over last year from 1.32 to 2.25 tons per hectare due to timely rains. This resulted in Spain growing an estimated 1.1 million tons more durum this year. In France, durum production was also up strongly this year, rising 12 percent from 1.5 million tons to 1.7 million. Frances area was up and yields also rose following beneficial rains. Italys durum harvest is also forecast to be up significantly, from 4.1 million tons last year to 4.3 this year. This is due chiefly to a 4-percent year-to-year increase yield from 2.50 to 2.61 tons per hectare. Italy had favorable weather for durum development this year as opposed to last year, when a spring drought followed by intensive rains harmed the crop.
Former Soviet Union: Russia and Kazakstan are the primary growers of durum in the former Soviet Union, but official data on durum area and production are not routinely published. Based on information gathered from local officials, and on weather and crop conditions, Russian output for 2000/01 is estimated at 1.8 million tons, up 0.2 million from last year. Weather for crops in the Volga Valley, the chief durum production region in Russia, has been generally favorable and much better than last year. Kazakstan output is not forecast to match last years bumper crop, but indicators point toward an above-average grain harvest this year. Durum production is estimated at 0.7 million tons, down from 0.8 million last year.
India: Durum is grown mainly in central Indias states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and parts of Punjab. The 2000/01 crop is estimated at 1.0 million tons due to favorable seasonal growing conditions occurring primarily in the states of Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Cooler than normal temperatures during the early portion of the season promoted tiller development and resulted in higher yields in these states. Reports suggest a stable production level of 1.0 million tons for the last several years. Planting occurs in November with harvesting operations during April and May the following year. Demand for specialty wheat flour such as durum may increase due to the growth of fast foods and increasing consumption of noodle and pasta products in India offsetting some of Indias traditional foods.
Turkey: Durum production for 2000/01 is estimated at 2.0 million tons, up 0.4 million from last years production. Turkey's durum production prospects for 2000/01 are more favorable than last year due to better precipitation. Wheat yields are better than last year due to less insect damage, largely attributed to good snow cover and colder temperatures during the winter months than a year earlier. Harvested area is forecasted at 1.1 million hectares, as farmers continue to plant durum in response to high support prices versus other wheat. Turkey is the fourth largest durum producer in the world, behind EU, Canada, and United States. The Southeastern Anatolia region produces about 50 to 60 percent of the total durum, with the remainder produced in Central Anatolia, around Ankara and Kayseri. Turkey has a large pasta industry and is a major exporter of pasta.
Northwest Africa: The production of durum wheat, the principle grain crop in much of northwest Africa, was subjected to a prolonged drought during the spring growing period. A reduction in area and production for durum wheat across northwest Africa reflects the impact of reduced rainfall during the 2000/01 season. Initially, the growing season began under near-ideal conditions when plentiful seasonal rains began in the October-December period, spreading eastern form Morocco into Algeria and Tunisia. However, the precipitation abruptly ended in January. The continual lack of moisture combined with consistently high temperatures lowered previously optimistic expectations for the crop as well as other agricultural production.
Morocco and western Algeria suffered from the weathers most severe effects while eastern Algeria and Tunisia received just enough rainfall to sustain growth.
For Morocco, the 2000/01 drought follows on the heels of last years drought. Production is highly variable, since it is largely dependent upon the track of rain producing storms in the dominantly unirrigated Maghreb region. This years output is extremely low, falling below the five-year average of 1.2 million tons. For 2000/01, durum wheat production is estimated at 450,000 tons from 1.0 million hectares, a drop of 40 percent drop in production from an already low 1999/00 crop of 750,000 tons. Typically 40 percent of Moroccos planted wheat area consists of durum.
Most of Algeria also suffered heavily from the 2000/01 drought. Durum in Algeria is estimated at 450,000 tons from 600,000 hectares. This is a drop of 63 percent in production and 54 percent in harvested area from last year. Algeria produced 1.2 million tons last year and had a five-year average of 1.3 million tons from 1.3 million hectares. Roughly 75 percent of sown wheat in Algeria is durum.
Tunisias crops along with eastern Algerias fared much better than Morocco and the western/central sections of Algeria because of the additional rain showers they received. Although rainfall was scant, it was enough moisture to sustain crops during the crucial time-period when a devastating drought was destroying most of the grain crops in Morocco and most of Algeria. This rain was dispersed throughout the growing season, allowing crops to better use the small amount of precipitation. A pause in rainfall, however, occurred during April and May, reducing the already marginal soil moisture levels. Tunisia is estimated to produce 600,000 tons of durum wheat from 500,000 hectares which is a reduction of 47 percent in production and 25 percent in area from last season. The average production for the past five years is 1.0 million tons from 700,000 hectares. Durum usually accounts for 75 percent of total wheat area.
Syria: Durum production for 2000/01 is projected at 1.7 million tons, up from last years poor harvest of 1.6 million, but well below the 2.6 million ton crop of 1998/99. This season Syrian wheat has experienced the effects of a long-term dryness that began in 1999. The drought has spread throughout the region, drastically reducing not only the non-irrigated crop yields but has begun to impact the yield of irrigated crops as irrigation water is limited. The 2000/01 harvest area is forecast at 1.0 million hectares, with approximately 40 percent of the durum crop under irrigation. Durum accounts for 60 percent of the total wheat crop. The largest durum area is within the Al-Hassake region.
Ronald R. Roberson, Acting
Foreign Grains Production Chairman
Phone: (202) 720-0879
James Crutchfield, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0135
Suzanne Miller, Southeast Asia Analyst
Telephone: (202) 720-0882
Bryan Purcell, Eastern Europe and North Africa Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0138
Mark Lindeman, Former Soviet Union Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0143
Curt Reynolds Middle East and Central Africa Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0134
WORLD SOYBEAN PRODUCTION
World soybean production (see tables) in 2000/01 is forecast at a record 169.1 million tons, up 8 percent from 1999/2000, and up 6 percent from 1998/99. Output is forecast to renew its upward trend in 2000/01 after declining in 1999/2000, due to regional dryness in some of the major producers. Crop growing conditions have been favorable so far this year in the United States, but problematic in some other northern hemisphere producers. The greater part of the southern hemisphere crop will be planted starting in October.
United States: Soybean production for 2000/01 is forecast by the National Agricultural Statistics Service at a record 81.3 million tons, up 13 percent from 1999/00 based on record area and yield. Growing conditions have been generally favorable, but parts of the western Midwest and southern growing regions have been affected by abnormally low soil moisture. Output in 1999/2000 dropped 4 percent to 71.9 million tons, despite area of 29.3 million hectares, because of local and in some places regional dryness which reduced average yield. Area has expanded by 30 percent from 1990/91 in response to increased world demand. In addition, new soybean varieties have increased productivity in drier western areas of the United States, while at the same time the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" act enabled farmers to plant crops that the market wanted instead of being forced to plant certain crops in order to maintain compliance with government programs.
Brazil: Brazils 2000/01 soybean crop (to be planted late October through December) is forecast at 32.8 million metric tons, up 4 percent from 1999/2000. Harvested area is forecast at 13.4 million hectares, up by only 1 percent from last year. The potential for an expansion in soybean area is dampened by expectations for strong domestic cotton and corn prices, as well as prospects for weaker prices due to a record U.S. soybean crop. Farmers in the traditional soybean states of Rio Grande do Sul and Parana are likely to plant more corn or cotton in response to the market forces. Early indications are that the soybean areas in Parana and Rio Grande do Sul may decrease by 100,000 hectares each, while Mato Grosso may see an increase of 200,000 hectares over last year. The outlook for the 2000/01 soybean crop depends upon the crop in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, which has had three consecutive drought years with low yields.
Brazils 1999/2000 soybean production is estimated at 31.4 million tons, up 0.1 million from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 13.3 million hectares, up 3 percent from 1998/99. The 1999/2000 growing season was characterized by planting delays due to drought in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, Sao Paulo, and Mato Grosso do Sul. Better than expected yields in Mato Grosso and Bahia boosted soybean production and made up for losses elsewhere in the country.
Argentina: The steady upward trend in production is expected to continue in 2000/01. Production is forecast at a new record 21.5 million tons, up 0.8 million or 4 percent from 1999/2000. A record area of 8.8 million hectares is also forecast, which is 0.2 million hectares or 3 percent higher than 1999/2000. Additional area is expected to come from areas previously planted to sunflowerseed and possibly new areas brought under cultivation. However, the amount of area planted will depend on market conditions at the time of planting. Planting typically begins in late October and continues through December. Soybean output for 1999/2000 is estimated at 20.7 million tons. Despite a slower and drier than normal start to the season, a record area was planted. Growing conditions generally improved as the season progressed, with better and wetter than normal conditions characterizing the west. However, Entre-Rios province and adjacent areas continued to experience dry conditions for a large part of the growing season. Expectations for a record yield were lessened somewhat by heavy rainfall that occurred during the harvest in April and May. The excess moisture reduced yields and quality in affected areas of southern Santa Fe, northern Buenos Aires and Entre Rios. Area and yield for the 1999/2000 crop are estimated at 8.2 million hectares and 2.42 tons/hectare, respectively.
China: China is fourth-largest producer of soybeans in the world after the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. Production for 2000/01 is estimated at 15.0 million tons, up 5 percent from last year. Estimated area is up 13 percent to 9.3 million hectares due to higher prices, strong domestic demand for soybean products, and government policies that encouraged soybean production. In the main soybean-growing area of Northeast China, at least 500,000 hectares were reportedly switched from corn to soybeans this year. A reduction in spring wheat area also opened up land for soybean expansion. Soybean area was reported higher in Inner Mongolia, the North China Plain, Hubei, and Sichuan.
Northeast China (Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, and Inner Mongolia) accounts for about 45 percent of total soybean area. There was adequate soil moisture for planting, and the weather was mostly favorable through mid-May. Unusually hot and dry weather in late-May and June created stressful conditions for vegetative crops, and scattered showers in late June and early July provided only limited relief. The drought reached its peak around mid-July, but widespread rainfall in late-July and early-August has reduced the moisture deficit and improved conditions, particularly in Heilongjiang. The situation is less favorable in Liaoning and Jilin which remain drier than normal for the season. The North China Plain (Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, and Jiangsu) accounts for about 30 percent of total soybean area. Spring planting was delayed by a serious drought, but above-normal rainfall in June and July eliminated the moisture deficit in many areas. Local flooding was reported in Henan and Shaanxi, and some crops in low-lying areas may have been damaged. Parts of Hebei, Shandong, and Shanxi were affected by drought into August, and below normal yields are expected in these provinces.
India: Soybean production is forecast to increase to 5.7 million tons in 2000/01. This is an increase of 0.5 million tons over last season's crop which was reduced because of low prices and unfavorable weather. During early 2000 soybean prices dropped to 10 percent below the government's support price of $198/ton; however, they recovered somewhat by planting time due to the firming of world soybean meal prices. The slightly improved prices have resulted in a larger planted area this season by encouraging farmers to shift from coarse grains to soybeans. The current 2000/01 monsoon began on June 1 and has provided generally good planting and growing conditions in the main soybean areas of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, in mid-July the marginal soybean areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan received significant rainfall.
Canada: Soybean production for 2000/01 is estimated at 2.8 million tons, slightly beneath last years record crop. Estimated harvested area increased by 10 percent to a record 1.1 million hectares in 2000/01. Area rose 0.1 million hectares from both last year and Statistics Canadas March forecast. Harvested area was expected to be steady this year after rising in the mid-1990s as crushing capacity in Ontario was increased. The rise in estimated soybean area since March comes as a result of a drop in corn area. Excessive rainfall throughout the spring in Ontario, which grows 86 percent of Canadas soybeans and 63 percent of its corn, prevented fieldwork early in the season. The main corn and soybean growing area in Ontario received 179 percent of its normal rainfall between March 30 and June 30. As a result, many farmers opted to plant soybeans because of the shorter required growing season. Yield is expected to drop below the five-year average to 2.5 tons per hectare. This is because many fields were planted late, cool temperatures slowed growth, and many fields that were planted on time had to be re-seeded because of uneven emergence. Continuing excessive moisture is encouraging root rot and other diseases, and soybean crop conditions are reported to be highly variable across Ontario. Most of the crop received 150 to 250 percent of its normal rainfall in July.
Indonesia: Soybean production for 2000/01 is forecast at 1.4 million tons, up slightly from last year but below the record high of 1.8 million achieved in 1991/92. Harvested area is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, up 3 percent from last year, but down from the early 1990s. Yield is estimated at a near record 1.21 tons per hectare, maintaining the upward yield trend of the past decade. While Indonesia is the worlds largest consumer of soybeans for food use, it is more profitable for Indonesian farmers to grow other crops such as rice. Indonesias climate is not ideal for soybeans, which along with low profits keeps the country a net importer.
Paul Provance, Foreign Oilseeds
Phone: (202) 720-0881
James Crutchfield, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0135
Suzanne Miller, Southeast Asia Analyst
Telephone: (202) 720-0882
Rau Achutuni, Brazil Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0140
Maria Anulacion, Argentina Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0139
Paulette Sandene, China Analyst
Telephone (202) 690-0133
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