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USDA World Agricultural Production

11 March 2013

USDA World Agricultural Production - March 2013USDA World Agricultural Production - March 2013

USDA forecasts Argentina corn production for 2012/13 at 26.5 million metric tons, 2 percent below last month and 26 percent above the 21.0 million grown in 2011/12.
USDA World Agricultural Production

Excessive rains from October to December contributed to a reduction in the planted corn area for 2012/13. Recent rain is impeding harvest of the early crop. Evidence of the rain can be noted in the standing water throughout the February 21, 2013 image.

The estimated harvested area of 3.5 million hectares is unchanged from last month and down 3 percent from last year’s drought-affected level. Yield is estimated at 7.57 tons per hectare, 2 percent lower than last month but 30 percent higher than last year. Last weekend’s rains helped replenish low soil moisture reserves for the late-planted corn, much of which is flowering and setting seed. Moisture along with moderate temperatures may moderate crop stress brought on by extended dry conditions in later-planted areas. Early-planted corn continues to finish grain-filling or is mature, with recent rains delaying harvest in Cordoba, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, and in northern Buenos Aires. Yields are reported as average to very good, but vary from field to field. Just over six percent of the crop had been harvested by the end of February in Argentina, accounting for about 225,000 hectares. (For more information, contact Denise McWilliams, PhD, at 202- 720-0107.)

South Africa Corn: Production Greater than Last Year, with Near-Record Yields in the East and Below-Average Yields in the West

Relative Crop Conditions in South Africa
(NDVI-MODIS Anomally Image from Feb 18-25, 2013)

Source: USDA/NASA MODIS Global Agriculture Monitoring Project

South Africa’s 2012/13 corn production is forecast at 13.0 million tons, down 0.5 million tons from last month but up 0.6 million or 5 percent from last year. Corn area is forecast at 3.3 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.2 million or 6 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 3.93 tons per hectare (T/Ha) is below the fiveyear average yield of 4.04 T/Ha due to below-average seasonal rainfall and crop conditions in the western Free State and North West provinces.

Seasonal rains arrived on time and have been favorable in the eastern portion of South Africa’s grain basket for the entire crop season. However, seasonal rains arrived several weeks late and were below average for a large portion of the western crop region, with January and February rainfall well below average in the west during the critical pollination and early grain filling stages.

USDA/FAS personnel traveled within South Africa’s corn-belt during the last week of February when the crop was in the grain-filling stages. Crop conditions in North West and western Free State provinces were observed to range from very poor to mediocre, while crop conditions in the east ranged from very good to excellent, with record crop yields possible for Mpumalanga province.

A mid-season dry spell occurred throughout South Africa’s grain basket during late-February and the entire region requires rain in early March. Final yields will depend on rainfall received during March and no early frosts in April damaging the crop. Crop yields are expected to reach near record levels in the east and be well below-average in the west. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds, PhD, at 202-690-0134.)

Argentina Soybeans: Rain Benefits Crop in Some Areas but Localized Dryness Persists

Argentine farmers are expected to bring in 51.5 million metric tons of soybeans, 3 percent less than last month but 28 percent more than last year, for the 2012/13 season. Production will be harvested from an estimated 19.35 million hectares, 1 percent less area than forecast last month but 10 percent more than last year. Yield is expected to be 2.66 tons per hectare, 2 percent lower than last month and 17 percent higher than last year.

Recent rains brought relief to soy in some fields but may have been too late for stressed fields in the northwestern provinces. Soybeans in the core of the Argentine growing region may have fewer pods due to January to mid-February dry conditions. Yields are expected to vary dramatically, depending on when drying conditions hit the crop and soil-moisture reserves available in each field. Much of the crop is in the R1 to R5 stages (early flowering to pod fill), with earlier stressed areas having most of the crop in the R3 to R5 stage. (For more information, contact Denise McWilliams, PhD, at 202-720-0107.)

Australia Sorghum: Heat and Dryness Reduce Production Prospects

New South Wales, Australia: MODIS Satellite Imagery: March Comparison

Australia sorghum production for 2012/13 is forecast at 1.7 million tons, down 0.5 million or 23 percent from last month, and down 0.52 million or 24 percent from last year. The area forecast is 0.6 million hectares, down 0.1 million from last month, and down 0.057 million or 9 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 2.83 tons per hectare, down 10 percent from last month and 18 percent below the 5-year average.

Sorghum production had been expected to increase significantly this year as prices favored sorghum relative to cotton. However, many sorghum producers did not fully realize their planting intentions because of unfavorable seasonal conditions during much of the planting window. Despite rainfall in late- January many growers opted to plant sunflowers and mungbeans instead of sorghum. A severe lack of summer rainfall delayed planting in many growing areas and reduced yield potential. In addition, record high temperatures further stressed the crop already struggling with a lack of soil moisture. Sorghum production is concentrated in two eastern states. Queensland produces the bulk of Australia’s sorghum, 66 percent (five-year average), with New South Wales accounting for the remaining 34 percent. (For more information, please contact James Crutchfield at 202- 690-0135.)

China Rapeseed: Area and Production Revised Upward

China’s 2012/13 rapeseed production was raised this month to 13.5 million tons, up 0.9 million or 7 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year. The estimated yield of 1.88 tons per hectare is up 4 percent from last month and 3 percent from last year. Rapeseed area is estimated at 7.2 million hectares, up 0.2 million or 3 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.

Chinese government sources have recently published updated 2012/13 oilseed area and production estimates at the provincial and national level. In February, China’s National Grain and Oilseed Information Center sharply revised its 2012/13 production estimate from 12.2 to 13.8 million tons, a month-to-month increase of 13 percent. The new estimate is consistent with previously published data from the National Bureau of Statistics that indicated a higher-thanexpected area and production of oilseeds in 2012/13. In addition, preliminary 2012/13 statistics by province indicate that oilseed production was similar or greater than last year in several major rapeseed-growing provinces. (For more information, contact Paulette Sandene at 202-690- 0133.)

India Rice: Kharif Rice Outturn Raises Prospects

India's 2012/13 rice production is forecast at 101.0 million tons, up 2.0 million or 2 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 43.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but down 2.5 percent from last year. Paddy yield is forecast at 3.52 tons per hectare, down 1.6 percent from last year.

Rainfall from the 2012 monsoon arrived late across India and was characterized as erratic and below normal in some regions, especially during June, July and early August. Overall rainfall deficits were 29 percent in June, 39 percent in July and 20 percent in early August. These conditions raised serious concerns about the 2012/13 crop prospects. However, rainfall and soil moisture conditions significantly improved in August and September and were categorized as normal, raising yield prospects. Despite the low early and mid-season rainfall, reported yields for the kharif rice crop are higher than expected and have boosted prospects for India’s 2012/13 rice crop.

About 85 percent of India’s rice is grown during the kharif (summer) season, from May through September, mainly in Punjab, Haryana, and Utter Pradesh. It is estimated that 50 percent of kharif rice is irrigated using canals and tube wells. The rest of the rice is grown under irrigation during the rabi (winter) season, from November through March. The rabi crop is predominantly grown in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Assam, and Tamil Nadu. The harvest of the kharif crop is almost complete and rabi rice planting is about to finish. (For more information contact Dath Mita, PhD, at 202-720-7339.)

March 2013

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