Africa’s 2001/02 corn crop is forecast at 9.0 million tons, up 0.5 million
or 6 percent from last month, and up 1.5 million or 20 percent from last year.
Estimated area for 2001/02 is 3.4 million hectares, up 4 percent from
last year, as farmers expanded corn area in response to high domestic prices,
low stock levels, and strong export demand.
The forecast yield of 2.68 tons per hectare is higher than last year
and above the 5-year average. According
to South Africa’s National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC), above-average
corn yields are expected in every province this year.
The first NCEC corn production estimate for the 2001/02 season is 9.18
million tons (8.86 million from the commercial sector, 0.32 million from the
developing sector), up 1.7 million or 23 percent from last year.
spring rainfall (November-December) provided abundant soil moisture for
planting and germination across the Corn Belt but caused locally-significant
planting delays in southern and western crop areas.
The weather in January and February was generally drier than normal but
mostly favorable, without the summer drought, excessive heat, or flooding seen
in previous years. Timely
rainfall in February eased dry conditions which had developed in the eastern
Corn Belt during January, while late-planted corn in Free State and North West
benefited from scattered showers in late-February and early March.
Temperatures have been near normal to below normal this season,
limiting the impact of dryness on crop development.
The only area of major concern is Northern Province, where several
weeks of dry and hot weather have created stressful conditions.
Most of the 2001/02 corn crop is now in the grain-fill stage.
Harvesting will start in April and may extend into July.
China’s 2001/02 corn crop is estimated at 110.0 million tons, up 2.0 million or 2 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year. The revision is based on preliminary harvest results from Chinese government sources which indicate better-than-expected yields, particularly in the Northeast. The estimated corn area for 2001/02 is 23.5 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but up 2 percent from last year, as farmers reportedly switched from soybeans and wheat to corn in response to high corn prices. Estimated 2001/02 corn yield of 4.68 tons per hectare is slightly higher than last year, but lower than the 5-year average. Crop damage from a severe spring drought was partially offset by timely late-summer rainfall and favorable harvesting weather.
2001/02 Corn Production Estimate Increased
Mexico’s 2001/02 corn production is
estimated at 19.0 million tons, up 1.0 million from last month, and up 1.3
million or 7 percent from last year. Area
is estimated at 7.87 million hectares, up 0.1 million from last month, and up
from last year. The changes
reflect greater harvested area than originally believed in the Bajio, the
fertile south-central region of Mexico sometimes referred to as Mexico’s
Corn Belt. Dryness was a concern
during the summer 2001 since most of Mexico’s corn is a rainfed crop.
The Bajio also has irrigated cornfields, but reservoir reserves in
nearly every region of the country have been below normal for some time.
2001/02 Wheat Production Forecast Increase
The 2001/02 wheat crop is estimated at 24.0 million tons, up 0.5 million or 2 percent from last month and up 0.2 million or 1 percent from last year. Estimated area is 12.5 million hectares, up 0.5 million or 4 percent from last month, but down 0.5 million or 4 percent from last year. There are indications that planted areas in South Australia and Western Australia increased over earlier estimates. The Australia winter growing season began with dryness in the western and northeastern wheat areas. However, the minimal rains were timely and proved sufficient for supporting crop growth and averting the earlier anticipated yield declines in drought-affected Western Australia. Growing conditions in South Australia were excellent for most of the season and yields are expected to exceed previous records.
Corn Production Estimated Higher
2001/02 corn crop is currently forecast at 12.0 million tons, up 0.5 million
from last month, but down 3.5 million or 23 percent from last year.
Production is estimated higher as a result of an upward revision in
forecast crop yields. Summer weather has been generally favorable, while early
harvest results show crop yields at levels higher than previously expected.
Field travel by USDA personnel during February confirmed that crop
outlook had improved with national yields now forecast above average at 5.58
tons per hectare.
Record Soybean Area and Production Forecast
Brazil’s 2001/02 soybean crop is currently estimated at a record 43.5 million tons, up 1.0 million from last month and up 4.5 million or 12 percent from last year’s bumper harvest. Production is estimated higher as a result of an upward revision in forecast crop acreage and excellent yield prospects over much of the growing region. Newly released Brazilian Government and private industry estimates revealed that Brazilian farmers increased soybean acreage above previous expectations. Corn and cotton crops suffered declines in sown area from last year, as land was diverted for more lucrative soybean production. Planting surveys indicate that corn and cotton acreage declined roughly 10 and 14 percent respectively. USDA currently forecasts 2001/02 soybean area at a record 15.9 million hectares, up 0.25 million from last month and up 1.93 million or 14 percent from last year.
Bangladesh: 2001/02 Rice
The 2001/02 rice crop is forecast at a record 25.5 million tons on a milled basis, up 2.5 million from last month or 11 percent, and up 0.4 million or 2 percent from last year. The area forecast is at 11.0 million hectares, up 0.1 million from last month and from last year. Bangladesh has three rice seasons, the aus, aman, and boro. The aus season rice crop is planted during March-April and harvested during June-July. The aman season rice is planted in June-July and harvested during November-December. The boro season rice is planted in December-January and harvested during May-June. The 2001/02 aus and aman crops were slightly below last season’s production. However, the boro crop, or spring crop, is currently in the vegetative stage, and expected to benefit from favorable weather and an adequate supply of inputs, leading to a record production level.
2001/02 Cotton Forecast Increased
The 2001/02 cotton crop is estimated at 8.0 million
bales, up 0.2 million from last month, but down 0.2 million or 2 percent from
last year. Harvested area is
estimated at 3.1 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but up 0.2
million or 7 percent from last year. The
8.0 million bale forecast is based upon cotton arrivals at gins as of March 1.
Cotton arrival data for March 1 typically account for 96 to 98 percent
of the final arrivals. Applying a factor of 97 percent and including a small
allowance for unreported production results in an estimate of 8.0 million
WHEAT PROSPECTS IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
This article presents early indications of Northern Hemisphere winter grain prospects outside the United States based on reports from U.S. agricultural attaches stationed overseas and analysis by Washington-based USDA personnel. The first forecast of 2002/2003 area, yield, and production by country for wheat will be released May 10.
For the European
Union (EU), area is expected to rebound sharply from last year’s
weather-reduced levels. Prolonged
excessive moisture cut plantings in the fall of 2000 in several countries from
intended levels. Although prices
have dropped sharply in recent months, they were strong last fall when most of
the EU’s wheat was planted. Also,
the equalization of compensatory payments for oilseeds and grains promoted
increased wheat plantings because of better prospective revenue for farmers.
COCERAL, the EU’s major grain trade lobby, has estimated wheat area
will rise 14 percent in 2002 and many analysts are forecasting a record crop.
Last year’s net
surplus producers- UK and France, and net deficit producers- Spain and Italy,
are expected to rebound from poor crop situations. In general, good weather
throughout the fall and winter and increased wheat plantings should increase
yields. Area gains are expected
to be the strongest in the U.K. according to a DEFRA (Department of
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) survey in December which showed plantings
up by 43 percent from a year earlier. Many
market analysts are expecting a record wheat crop in the U.K.
The French Farm Ministry is estimating wheat area will be up 9 percent
from last year and about equal to area in 2000.
According to Ag Attache reports, Italy’s downward trend in bread
wheat area has changed directions this year.
Italian farmers have shifted from soybeans to bread wheat due to
prospects of lower incomes for soybeans vis-à-vis wheat.
Compensatory payments for soybeans have decreased to the same level as
grains. This has made planting wheat more attractive, since it has a
lower cost of production relative to soybeans, a commodity that uses more
inputs compared to wheat.
In Eastern Europe, area in
general, is expected to be lower than the previous year.
Area planted is slightly higher for Bulgaria and December/January snow
has protected winter crops and provided needed moisture after a dry fall.
In Romania, area is down due to lower prices, and yields are expected
to be lower due to dry climatic conditions in the south and delayed plantings
in other regions. In Poland, area may decrease as the lack of snow coverage
during low temperatures in the western regions may have resulted in increased
For the Asian
region, India is forecast to expand acreage due to high government procurement
prices for wheat vis-à-vis competing crops such as coarse grains and pulses.
Despite the early monsoon withdrawal, beneficial rains in October
provided excellent planting and sowing conditions.
Yields are expected to be high due to good rains since mid-January,
especially in non-irrigated areas such as Uttar Pradesh, a major wheat growing
area accounting for more than 30 percent of total wheat production.
In other states, such as Punjab and Haryana, accounting for more than
30 percent of the total wheat production, rainfall was 50 percent of normal
which should not affect yields since these areas are heavily irrigated.
present, wheat area in Madhya Pradesh, accounting for 11 percent of total
wheat production, is somewhat of a concern due to earlier dryness, however it
was offset by beneficial rains in February. In Pakistan, area is expected to be smaller as a result of
inadequate irrigation supplies and lower-than-expected returns.
Pakistan is experiencing its worst irrigation shortage since the
1970’s. There is an on-going
severe drought and decreased use of phosphatic fertilizer and herbicides,
which indicate lower yields. Afghanistan
is not expected to rebound from the record-low harvest in 2001 due
to insufficient rainfall and above-normal temperatures lowering already
reduced irrigation water. Planted
area for this crop was likely reduced due to reduced availability of seed,
fertilizer, and fuel.
in China is expected to be smaller due to the government cutback on the price
support program for wheat and an increase in the cost of water, both of which
make planting cash crops instead of wheat more attractive for farmers.
Wheat produced is expected to be of higher quality, which gives better
returns and can absorb the higher water costs.
The planting season for China's 2002/03 winter wheat concluded in
October with mostly dry and warmer-than-normal fall weather caused soil
moisture levels to drop significantly. Despite
recent showers, moisture conditions in the most important wheat-growing
provinces remain unfavorably dry.
In Russia, sown
winter grain area is up roughly 2 million hectares.
According to the Federal Weather Center in Russia, the amount to be
replanted will be less than the average of the past 5 years.
Winter grain plantings were slightly higher than a year earlier in
Ukraine, but more of it will have to be replanted due to dry fall conditions.
Much of the replanted area is expected to be seeded to barley due to
the strong export demand. Lower
prices and better returns from competing crops will be a factor for the spring
wheat crops in Russia. Unlike the
Ukraine, where 90 percent of the wheat comes from the winter crop, only about
half of the wheat for Russia comes from the winter crop.
The Russian government may be providing price support again for wheat
Northwest Africa, wheat acreage is expected to be similar to last season.
Prevailing dry weather still exists which has increased crop stress for
winter wheat. Morocco is expected
to have smaller planted area due to lack of adequate rainfall which resulted
in late plantings and some farmers not being able to plant in time at all.
In Algeria, most of the wheat is produced in the central and eastern
area. According to the Ag Attache
report, the new crop in this area has been in rain deficit since the beginning
of this year. However, in early
March, beneficial rains in all of Morocco and central Algeria could help
improve prospects. In Tunisia,
conditions have not improved compared to last planting season, which had below
normal rainfall conditions. During
the new crop planting season rainfall has been 50 percent of the normal from
November through March compared to a 70 percent of normal rainfall during last
year at the same time period. After
January, rainfall diminished sharply compared to last year whereas for last
year’s crop there was more continuous rains at these timely periods.
In the Middle East, planted area is expected to be similar to last
season. For Iran, normal
precipitation has occurred for most of the country, however, precipitation in
the major rainfed wheat region in the northwest has been less than normal.
Rainfed wheat in Iran accounts for approximately 30-40 percent of
production, and irrigated wheat accounts for 70 percent of production.
After experiencing three years of consecutive droughts, most of the
irrigated wheat regions in Iran require favorable rainfall to recharge water
reservoirs and groundwater reserves. Last year, Turkey’s harvested acreage
and production was lower than average due to localized drought conditions in
Central Anatolia, where 30-40 percent of Turkey’s wheat production occurs.
However, Turkey’s wheat production for this year is expected to
be above last year’s poor harvest. This
year’s winter wheat
crop in Turkey was planted late due to poor rainfall, however, timely
precipitation after mid-November boosted moisture reserves for winter wheat
development throughout the country.
In the Americas, for Mexico, area planted is expected to be lower than 2001/02 due to lower yields and limited water supplies caused by continuing dry weather. Canada is expected to have a lower area due to better returns from competing crops, especially canola. However, better yields are expected compared to last year’s drought-ravaged yields.
For more information on this feature, contact Michelle Greenberg at 202-720-7339.
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