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USDA World Agricultural Production

11 September 2014

USDA World Agricultural Production - 11 September 2014USDA World Agricultural Production - 11 September 2014

USDA World Agricultural Production

China Corn: 2014/15 Crop Affected by Drought

USDA estimates China’s 2014/15 corn production at 217.0 million tons, down 5.0 million or 2.3 percent from last month and down 1.5 million or less than 1 percent from last year. The estimated area of 36.8 million hectares is unchanged from last month but up 1.3 percent from last year. Corn area has shown a strong upward trend in recent years, particularly in the Northeast, as farmers have switched from less-profitable crops such as soybeans to corn. The estimated yield of 5.9 tons per hectare is down 2.1 percent from last month and last year’s record yield of 6.02 tons per hectare.

Drought conditions developed in July and August in several important corn-producing provinces in Northeast China and the North China Plain. The hardest-hit provinces included Henan (9 percent of total corn production), Liaoning (7 percent), Hebei (8 percent), and Inner Mongolia (9 percent), as well as parts of Jilin (13 percent), and Shandong (10 percent.)

Total rainfall in July and early August was as low as 50 percent of normal in these areas, and Chinese officials described the resulting drought as the worst in several decades. Water levels in rivers and reservoirs fell dramatically, hindering irrigation efforts. At its peak in late August, the drought affected approximately 5 million hectares of cropland, a majority of which was planted to corn. The drought occurred while the corn crop was in the reproductive/filling stages, when plants are very sensitive to water stress. Satellite-derived vegetation indices (MODIS and LANDSAT) and crop models verified the reports of vegetative stress in Northeast China and the North China Plain in mid-August, when the crop was in the reproductive stage. Among the mitigating factors were the return of near-normal rainfall in late August and early September to most corn-growing areas, the lack of serious storm or insect damage this summer, seasonable temperatures (few days of excessive heat), and generally favorable weather in Heilongjiang (China’s top corn producing province – 14 percent of total output) and central/southern China.

Ukraine and Russia Corn: Estimated Production Reduced Based on Lower Reported Area

USDA has reduced estimated corn production for Ukraine and Russia based on official plantedarea for both countries and on the potential impact of hot, dry weather in some of the important production regions. Harvested area for Ukraine is estimated by USDA at 4.6 million hectares, down 0.1 million from last month and down 0.2 million from last year. Harvested area for Russia is estimated at a record 2.5 million hectares, down 0.1 million from last month but up 0.2 million from last year.

USDA forecasts Ukraine corn production for 2014/15 at 26.0 million tons, down 1.0 million or 3.7 percent from last month and down 4.9 million or 16 percent from last year’s record output. Yield is estimated at 5.65 tons per hectare, down 1.6 percent from last month, down 12 percent from last year’s near-record level, and 4.1 percent below the 5-year average. During July, Ukraine corn was subjected to heat stress in the southern tier of the main production zone, and during August unfavorable conditions expanded northward and westward to include most of the major corn territories. Analysis of weather data and satellite imagery indicates that the heatrelated stress during the 2014 growing season was not as severe as in either 2010 or 2012, two years marked by significant weather-related yield reductions.

USDA estimates Russia corn production for 2014/15 at 12.5 million tons, down 0.5 million or 3.8 percent from last month and down 0.9 million or 7.4 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 5.0 tons per hectare, essentially matching both last month’s and last year’s levels and 24 percent above the 5-year average. High temperatures prevailed during August in most territories of Russia’s main corn region following a relatively stress-free July. The August heat, however, occurred mostly during the last half of the month, which likely mitigated the potential negative impact on corn yield. Corn harvest is underway in southern Russia. Yield in the Southern District, the country’s top corn region, is reportedly up 5 percent from last year with harvest 33 percent complete as of September 10. Harvest is just beginning in the Central District, the country’s second-largest corn producer.

Argentina Corn: Less Area Expected in 2014/15

USDA forecasts the 2014/15 Argentine corn crop at 23 million metric tons, down 11.5 percent from last month and down 8.0 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 3.25 million hectares, down 11 percent from last month and down 4.4 percent from last year. Less corn is expected to be planted in the upcoming season due to unfavorable prices, increasing freight and labor costs, very limited or no government-subsidized farm loans, export controls on corn, and low liquidity of the crop compared to alternatives such as soybeans. Yield is estimated at 7.08 tons per hectare, down from 7.12 tons last month and 7.35 last year.

Harvest of the 2013/14 crop is still ongoing.




Brazil Soybeans: Record Production of 94 Million Tons

USDA forecasts Brazil’s 2014/15 soybean production at a record 94.0 million tons, up 3.0 million or 3.3 percent from last month and up 7.3 million tons or 8.4 percent from last year’s revised estimate. Harvested area is forecast at a record 31.5 million hectares, up 1.0 million hectares from last month and up 1.4 million or 4.7 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 2.98 tons per hectare, unchanged from last month. Area is expected to increase 4.7 percent from last year. This will be the eighth straight year of soybean area expansion in Brazil since the decline in 2006/07.

Area has expanded between 2 and 11 percent per year. Soybean expansion continues across every state but the reasons vary. In the south, soybeans are expanding because of the better expected returns relative to corn. In northeastern Mato Grosso and frontier area of MaPiToBa (Maranhao, Piaui, Tocantins, and Bahia) soybean area is expanding as pastures and cerrado are converted to row crops.

Soybean yield in Brazil is expected to recover from the drought and heat that affected southern Brazil in 2013/14. Yields are expected to be slightly above the five-year average but below trend. Brazil’s soybean yields were very volatile in the 1980s when the majority of soybeans were grown in southern Brazil. Yield swings of +25 percent to -17 percent occurred. Yield swings have decreased in the 1990s and 2000s because more of the production has moved to the center-west states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias. These areas account for 47 percent of production compared to the southern states’ 35 percent. Recently, yield increases have been below trend because soybean farmers in the center-west are switching to lower yielding, early-maturing soybean varieties.

Brazil will start planting soybeans in mid-September after the rust-free period has ended. Early planting, especially in Mato Grosso, aids farmers who want to plant early maturing soybean varieties and follow their harvest with corn or cotton as a second crop. About 60 percent of the 8.6 million hectares in Mato Grosso were planted using early-maturing soybean varieties last year and the percentage is expected to increase this year. Onset of the rainy season, typically the first week of October, is a key variable for early planting in Mato Grosso.

India Cotton: Higher Prospects for 2014/15

USDA forecasts the 2014/15 India cotton production at 30.0 million bales (480-pound bales), up 3.4 percent or 1.0 million bales from last month. The revision is primarily based on field observations, continued favorable improvement in rainfall, and sowing progress across the main growing regions. Estimated area is forecast at a record 12.5 million hectares, up 2.5 percent from last month. Yield is forecast at 523 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha), up 1.0 percent from last month. For the past five years India’s cotton area and yields have averaged approximately 11.5 million hectares and 530 kg/ha, respectively. FAS analysts traveled to India in early September. Field observations and discussions with farmers revealed that area planted is close to a record and overall crop conditions are favorable.

The 2014/15 season started as one of the driest in the past 10 years, resulting in significant planting delays. Planting accelerated and conditions for crop development improved following favorable monsoon rainfall during July-August in all major growing areas. Government of India crop progress reports indicate planted area is approximately at 12.4 million hectares as of September 4.

Near-normal soil moisture conditions remain largely unchanged as the monsoon continues across the country. Planting is complete and the majority of the crop is at vegetative-to-early flowering and boll formation.

Algeria Wheat: Production down 1.0 Million Due to Untimely Dryness

USDA estimates Algeria’s 2014/15 wheat production at 2.6 million tons, down 1.0 million or 28 percent from last month. Area is estimated at 1.7 million hectares, down 0.3 million or 15 percent from last month. Yield is estimated at 1.53 tons per hectare (t/ha), compared to 1.80 t/ha last month. Last year’s crop had a favorable yield of 1.91 tons per hectare and production of 3.3 million tons, just above the 3.2 million ton 5-year average.

Recently released data from the Algerian government reported a significant decline in grain production. The Algerian Ministry of Agriculture reduced its estimate from its previous report due to a lack of spring rainfall in the eastern major growing region. Weather data confirms that dryness occurred in eastern Algeria during the sensitive reproductive stage for wheat. While the period of dryness was rather brief, it occurred when the crops were flowering and at their most moisture-dependent phase. Outside of this period, rainfall was favorable and near average. Harvest occurred in June. Algeria is one of the world’s largest net importers of grains, even in years with bumper crops. 

European Union Wheat: Production Near Record, Despite Heavy Rain and Quality Issues

USDA estimates European Union (EU) 2014/15 wheat production at 151.0 million tons, up 3.1 million or 2.1 percent from last month. Production is estimated at 7.8 million tons or 5.5 percent above last year’s crop of 143.1 million tons, and 12.7 million tons or 9.2 percent above the fiveyear average of 138.3 million tons. Area remains unchanged at 26.6 million hectares, but up 0.8 million from last year. Yield is estimated at a record 5.68 tons per hectare, above last month’s 5.57 tons, last year’s 5.55 tons, and the 5-year average of 5.34 tons.

Widespread and abundant rains continued during the month of August, prolonging the wheat harvest and further lowering quality; however, as most of the crop has now been collected, results show increased production. The estimated yield for EU wheat has been steadily increasing this season, as plentiful summer rains dramatically improved a crop that had suffered through spring drought. Large production increases this month include a 0.85 million ton increase in the United Kingdom estimate to 16.3 million tons, a 0.65 million ton increase in Poland to a record 10.25 million tons, a 0.55 million ton increase in Germany to a record 26.15 million tons, and 0.4 million additional tons in Romania.

Canada Rapeseed: Yields Forecast Below Average

USDA forecasts 2014/2015 Canada rapeseed production at 14.70 million metric tons, down 3.6 percent from the last month and down 18 percent from last year’s record level. Area is estimated at 7.75 million hectares, up slightly from last month but down 3 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 1.90 tons per hectare, down 4 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year.

Yield is forecast at slightly below average because of less than ideal growing conditions in the major rapeseed growing areas. Cool and wet conditions, coupled with late planting, hampered crop development. A flood in late June in southeastern and eastcentral Saskatchewan and western Manitoba negatively impacted roughly 5 percent of the total crop. Satellite derived indices indicate crop vigor in this region was below average in July and August. However, in southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, and Alberta’s Peace River region, it was hot dry weather and lack of moisture that negatively impacted the crop. In addition, recent provincial crop reports indicated that insects and disease were reaching economic threshold in some rapeseed growing areas, contributing to a lower estimate of yields. 

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