The 2002/03 Indian rice crop is forecast at 80 million tons, down 10.0 million or 11 percent from last month and down 11.6 million or 13 percent from last year (see figure at right). Production is revised downward based on a reduction in estimated planted area and expected lower yields, resulting from an erratic monsoon. Area is forecast at 42.5 million hectares, down 2.2 million or 5 percent from last month and down 2.3 million or 5 percent from last year. Area is revised lower as dry conditions in rice-growing areas have delayed or reduced sowings. In several rice growing states, yield potential is declining with the continued dryness, stressing the crop. The 2002 southwest monsoon began with a relatively good start over most of the rice growing areas. Since mid-July the monsoon precipitation has fallen below normal in many areas; especially hard hit are the kharif rice crop areas. This crop comprises approximately 88 percent of India’s total crop and is highly dependent on the monsoon rains. In the irrigated states of Punjab and Haryana, irrigation reserves are being depleted at a high rate due to the above normal temperatures, increased water use by the plants, and the absence of monsoon rains. Under similar weather in 1995, when major rice growing regions received poor rains until mid-July (but followed by satisfactory rains later), rice production declined by 5 million tons from the previous year’s level.
The 2002/03 India cotton crop is forecast at 10.5 million bales, down 1.0 million or 9 percent from last month and down 1.8 million or 15 percent from last year. Production is revised downward based on a reduction in estimated planted area resulting primarily from low cotton prices and lower yields from an erratic and limited monsoon rainfall. In several cotton-growing states, yield potential has declined from lack of soil moisture and above-normal temperatures.
The 2002/03 India soybean crop is forecast at 5.0 million tons, down 0.8 million or 14 percent from last month and down 0.4 million or 7 percent from last year. Production is revised downward based on a reduction in estimated planted area and lower yields resulting from this season’s erratic rainfall. Following the late though adequate planting rains, a prolonged dry spell in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan reduced yield potential for the recently established crop. Conditions in Maharastra are generally favorable. On average, Maharastra produces 13 percent of India’s total soybean crop; Madhya Pradesh, 74 percent; and Rajasthan, 10 percent. Overall rainfall for the soybean region remains significantly below normal. However, the distribution of the limited precipitation has been particularly well timed for the soybean crop. After a dry spell in late July, approximately 2 to 5 inches of precipitation fell August 3 over the entire soybean area, offsetting some of the negative impact of the previous hot and dry two weeks.
2002/03 wheat crop is estimated at 20.0 million tons, down 3.0 million from last
month, and down 4 million from last year. Production
is revised downward due to continued dryness in Queensland, New South Wales, and
Western Australia. The
2002/03 rapeseed crop is estimated at 1.2 million tons, down 0.2 million from
last month and down 0.5 million from last year.
Wheat area and yields are
revised lower, based on lack of adequate rainfall for planting and crop
establishment. Significant area
reductions are anticipated in Queensland, northern New South Wales, and in the eastern
portion of Western Australia. Wheat areas in the
southern growing states of Victoria and South Australia are expected to be
similar to last season in response to generally
favorable conditions, a later planting window, and improved price expectations. Wheat areas of West Australia, New South Wales, and
Queensland received only 40 to 60 percent of normal precipitation for the period
May 1 to July 31.
Canadian wheat production is forecast to be 18.0 million tons, down 5.0 million from last month, and down 3.3 million from last year. Barley production is forecast to be 9.0 million tons, down 4.0 million tons from last month, and 2.4 million from last year. Rapeseed production is forecast to be 3.9 million tons, down 1.6 million from last month, and down 1.2 million tons from last year.
Parts of the Canadian Prairie have been extremely dry since spring 2001, and the trend has continued through the 2002-growing season. The current growing season started out with a period of below average temperatures, followed by a brief period of widespread moisture. Since the emergence of crops, a pattern of dryness and above normal temperatures has dominated the prairie, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In addition, pests have been unusually abundant, and most recently, early frost has been reported in several places. Crop reports from Alberta indicate that no grain or oilseeds will be harvested from a large portion of the province. Manitoba appears to be in fair condition, and Saskatchewan crops are highly variable, ranging from very poor to good.
Ukraine corn production for 2002/03 is estimated at 3.0 million tons, down 0.7 million or 19 percent from last month and down 0.6 million or 17 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, up 4 percent from last year. Temperatures in southern and eastern Ukraine – the country’s key corn region – were unusually high during mid-July, as the crop advanced through the heat-sensitive reproductive stage.
Wheat production from the European Union (EU) is forecast to be nearly 107.7 million tons in 2002, down nearly 1.0 million from last month, but up 16 million from last year. Weather during the growing season was ideal throughout much of central and northern Europe, but extreme heat damaged crops in Spain. In addition, wet weather in July has delayed harvesting in Germany. Farmers in France, the largest wheat producer in the EU, are forecast to produce 39.0 million tons, which would make it the second largest crop on record.
Kazakstan wheat production for 2002/03 is estimated at 12.0 million tons, up 1.0 million or 9 percent from last month but down 0.7 million or 6 percent from last year. The spring wheat crop has benefited from generally favorable weather in north-central Kazakstan, the main grain region. Precipitation has been adequate, and the crop was not subject to heat stress during the flowering stage.
Uzbekistan wheat production for 2002/03 is estimated at 4.7 million tons, up 0.7 million or 18 percent from last month and up 1.3 million or 38 percent above last year. Area is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, the same as last year. After three years of drought, winter wheat, the country’s main grain crop, benefited from above-normal amounts of winter and spring precipitation. Officials report indicate that the grain harvest is virtually complete and that yield reached record levels this year.
Brazil’s 2002/03 corn crop is estimated at 37.0 million tons, down 1.5 million from last month. Harvested area is estimated at 12.4 million hectares, down 0.6 million from last month. Brazil’s soybean crop is estimated at a record 48.0 million tons, up 1.0 million from last month. USDA forecasts soybean area at a record 17.5 million hectares, up 0.5 million from last month. Initial estimates for 2002/03 corn production issued in May assumed that the domestic shortfall in 2001/02 would result in increased corn planting for 2002/03. Total corn area was forecast to rebound, strongly. This analysis held true through June when corn and soy profitability was in rough parity in the region. However, by the end of July strengthening soybean futures prices and a strongly depreciating Brazilian currency tipped the balance to favor soybean cultivation in 2002/03. Corn area is still expected to be up slightly from 2001/02.
German rapeseed area and production are higher in 2002/03 partly due to investments in its biodiesel industry. Harvested area is estimated up 12 percent from last year at 1.28 million hectares, while production is estimated up 8 percent at 4.5 million tons.
Germany sees biodiesel production from rapeseed oil as one way to help meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rapeseed oil or another vegetable oil in the presence of a catalyst can be made to combine with methanol to form methyl-ester and glycerin. Methyl-ester can be used in diesel engines with little or no modification. Methyl-ester is biodegradable, produces fewer sulfur emissions, is less toxic than petrochemical diesel making it less polluting. During 2002, around 200,000 tons of new rapeseed diesel production capacity is due to come on line. Sales by biodiesel fuel producers in Germany are running around 500,000 tons annually, using 1.32 million tons of rapeseed.
In Germany, methyl-ester used for transportation receives a 100-percent exclusion from the motor fuel tax to encourage use of the product and development of the biodiesel industry. Additionally, rapeseed can be grown on set-aside land for industrial purposes (mostly biodiesel) without losing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) set-aside compensation payments. Looking ahead, biodiesel production may get an additional boost if a current proposal before the EU commission is put into effect. The proposal would require 5.75 percent of motor transport fuels to be produced from renewable resources by 2010.
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