July 1997-June 1998 Highlights
General Trade Summary
At the close of the 1997/98 marketing year (MY), total U.S. planting seed exports are valued at $886 million, 1-percent lower than the previous marketing year. However, in terms of volume, the United Sates exported about 24-percent less seed in MY 1997/98, down to 903 thousand metric tons from 1.18 million metric tons in MY 1996/97. Still, the value of U.S. planting seed exports for MY 1997/98 remains 26-percent higher than exports for MY 1996/97, while the volume of U.S. seed exports are 36 percent greater for the same period.
During MY 1997/98, exports of grass, forage, pulses, and vegetable seeds increased above the previous marketing year, with the exception of field crop seeds. Field crop seeds, which accounted for over 40 percent of the sales value of all U.S. planting seed exports in each of the past three marketing years, dropped to $376 million during MY 1997/98 from $411 million in the previous marketing year. Most notably, field crop seeds for MY 1997/98 recorded significant decreases in export sales of soybean seed and non-durum wheat seed.
U.S. soybean seed exports dropped 57 percent in one year, from 375,000 metric tons to 159,000 metric tons in MY 1997/98. The drop was primarily due to a fall in Mexico's purchases of U.S. soybean seed from 307,000 metric tons in MY 1996/97 to 89,000 metric tons in MY 1997/98, overshadowing increased soybean seed sales to Canada, Columbia, France and Italy.
U.S. exports of non-durum wheat seed fell 44 percent, from 437,000 metric tons in MY 1996/97 to 243,000 metric tons in MY 1997/98 due to smaller purchases by Japan and Canada. Japan purchased about 231,000 metric tons, while Canada purchased 117,000 metric tons of U.S. non-durum wheat seed in MY 1996/97, representing nearly 83 percent of all U.S. non-durum wheat seed sales. During MY 1997/98, Japan and Canada's purchases fell 80 percent to 25,000 metric tons and 38,000 metric tons, respectively.
Of the top five importing nations of U.S. planting seeds for MY 1997/98, only Argentina and Canada's purchases of U.S. seeds continue to climb above previous marketing years. Argentina imported $89 million of U.S. seeds in MY 1997/98, up 61 percent from $55 million in MY 1996/97.
This growth in seed imports is essentially due to Argentina's heightened purchases of U.S. corn seed.
Argentina increased U.S. corn seed imports from 9,000 metric tons to 25,000 metric tons during this period. Despite a fall in Canada's importation of non-durum wheat, Canadian purchases of grass, pulses, forage, and miscellaneous seeds grew, edging Canada's imports of U.S. seed upward to $110 million in MY 1997/98 from $108 million in MY 1996/97.
Mexico, Italy, and Japan's purchases of U.S. planting seeds declined during MY 1997/98 after peaking in MY 1996/97. Mexico's purchases of U.S. seed dropped 27 percent, from $201 million to $146 million for MYs 1996/97 and 1997/98. Italy's purchases fell by 14 percent, from $95 million to $82 million, while Japan's purchases dropped 39 percent from $108 million to $66 million, over the same period.