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USDA World Agricultural Production

11 July 2012

USDA World Agricultural Production - July 2012USDA World Agricultural Production - July 2012

The USDA estimates China wheat production at 118.0 million tons, down 2.0 million or nearly 2 percent from last month but up slightly from last year’s bumper crop. Area was revised upward to 24.3 million hectares based on official data from the Ministry of Agriculture. The estimated yield of 4.86 tons per hectare is down 2 percent from last month but nearly equal to last year’s record yield and above the 5-year average.
USDA World Agricultural Production

China Wheat: Yields Above Average, but Below Expectation

Winter wheat accounts for about 93 percent of China’s total wheat output. The 2012/13 winter wheat harvest began in mid-May and concluded before the end of June. According to Chinese officials and industry sources, excessive rainfall in April and May had a negative impact on wheat yields in parts of southwest and central China. Wheat scab, aphids, mold, poor grain formation, and lodging were reported in these areas.

In contrast, the weather on the North China Plain (China’s most important wheat-growing region) was abnormally hot and dry in May, when the crop was in the reproductive to grain-fill stage. Although the majority of the wheat crop on the North China Plain is irrigated, farmers in several provinces reported drought and heat stress resulted in lower-than-expected yields. On the other hand, the predominately-dry weather in June allowed the wheat harvest to proceed smoothly and quickly, thereby reducing drying costs and post-harvest losses.

The spring wheat crop (about 7 percent of total production) is mostly grown in northwest and northeast China. The crop was planted in April and is currently in the filling stage, with harvest taking place in July and August. The weather has been favorably warm and wet for spring wheat development this year, and yields are expected to be equal to or better than last year.

Canada Rapeseed: Seeded Area Forecast at a Record High

The USDA estimates Canada rapeseed production for 2012/13 at 16.30 million tons, up 0.90 million or 5.8 percent from last month and up 15 percent from last year. Area harvested is estimated at 8.5 million hectares, up 0.48 million or 5.9 percent from last month. The upward revision is due to good prices and favorable planting weather. Yield is forecast to be average.

Statistics Canada’s 2012 Preliminary Estimates of Principal Field Crop Areas estimates a 13 percent increase in planted area from last year, due to favorable prices. Saskatchewan produces 50 percent of total production, are likely to expand area seeded by nearly 13.5 percent from last year. In addition, Manitoba produces 28 percent of total production, are expected to seed to pre-flood levels or 1.4 million hectares.

Saskatchewan was the only province that was not able to complete planting because of wet conditions. The Saskatchewan provincial government estimates that approximately 2 percent of the crop was not planted. Although growing condition across the western prairies are cooler and wetter than normal, provincial governments are reporting that canola is maturing on schedule. The quality of the crop is reported as good to excellent.

Russia Grains: Deteriorating Conditions for Wheat and Barley

The USDA estimates Russia wheat production for 2012/13 at 49.0 million tons, down 4.0 million from last month and down 7.2 million from last year. The month-to-month decrease is attributed to a 4-percent reduction in the estimated harvested area and deteriorating crop conditions in both the winter-wheat and spring-wheat zones. Harvested area is estimated at 24.5 million hectares, down 1.0 million from last month and down 0.4 million from last year. Yield is forecast at 2.0 tons per hectare, down 4 percent from last month, down 11 percent from last year, and 10 percent below the 5-year average. Winter wheat typically accounts for 60 to 65 percent of total wheat output and is grown in European Russia, in the Southern, North Caucasus, Central, and Volga Districts. Winter wheat in some of the key production territories was damaged by a combination of excessive April heat and persistent dryness. Spring wheat is grown in the Siberian and Ural Districts, and in the Volga District as well. Dryness has prevailed in several important production regions although some areas have benefited marginally from timely precipitation.

Barley output is estimated at 15.5 million tons, down 1.0 million from last month and down 1.4 million from last year. Barley is grown throughout Russia’s agricultural zone, including parts of the Central District that have enjoyed generally favorable weather for both winter and spring crops. Yield prospects for barley are poor, however, in the areas where heat and dryness have reduced the forecast yields for wheat. Barley area is estimated at 8.1 million hectares, up 0.4 million from last year, and yield is forecast at 1.91 tons per hectare against 2.20 tons last year and the 5-year average of 2.10 tons.

Ukraine Corn: Excessive June Heat Misses Prime Production Region

The USDA estimates Ukraine corn production for 2012/13 at 24.0 million tons, unchanged from last month and up 1.2 million from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 4.5 million hectares, up almost 1.0 million from last year, and yield is forecast at 5.33 tons per hectare against 6.44 tons last year and the 5-year average of 4.91 tons per hectare. Although hot weather prevailed in Ukraine during much of the second half of June, corn in the prime production zone likely escaped significant temperature damage. Ukraine corn typically does not reach the highly temperature-sensitive reproductive stage before mid-July, and maximum daily temperatures – while significantly above normal – likely did not reach a point to cause significant damage at this stage in the crop’s development.

European Union Corn: Increased Area to Summer Crops Boost Production

The USDA estimates corn production in the European Union (EU) for 2012/13 at 65.5 million tons, up 1.3 million or 2 percent from last month, and up 0.8 million or 1 percent from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 9.5 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month, and up 0.7 million from last year. Yield is estimated at 6.90 tons per hectare (t/ha), compared to last month’s 6.93 t/ha, and last year’s 7.39 t/ha.

Dryness during the fall of 2011 and severe winter conditions during late January and early February 2012 caused significant reductions to the size of the EU’s winter grains and oilseed crops, resulting in increased area of the spring crops, primarily corn and sunflower. Fields initially intended to be sown with rapeseed, wheat, or barley, weren’t planted because of the dryness. In other instances, fields that were planted during the fall with these crops were found to be weak and poorly emerged. These plants were removed and the fields were re-sown with corn or sunflower.

The EU is typically the fourth largest corn producer in the world, following the United States, China and Brazil. The countries of France, Romania, Italy, and Hungary combined produce almost two-thirds of the EU crop. During the 2012/13 season, France is estimated to produce 15.5 million tons from 1.7 million hectares. Romania is estimated to harvest 10.0 million tons from 2.8 million hectares. Italy is estimated to produce 9.4 million tons from 1.0 million hectares. Hungary is estimated to produce 8.0 million tons from 1.3 million hectares.

Malaysia Palm Oil: Production Forecast Lower in 2011/12 and 2012/13

The USDA forecasts total palm oil production in Malaysia in 2012/13 at 18.5 million tons, down 0.5 million or 3 percent from last month but up 1 percent from last year. This revision is based on poor production results from the current 2011/12 crop season, with the assumption Malaysia will face similar problems in the 2012/13 marketing year, which starts in October. USDA also revised the 2011/12 crop down 400,000 tons from last month.

Total monthly palm oil production in Malaysia during the first eight months of the 2011/12 marketing year has been disappointing, with little changed in production from 2010/11. This implies yields will be lower than 2010/11, as area expanded nearly 2 percent in the current marketing year. It is apparent that palm oil yields over the past 5 growing seasons have been declining, with government authorities reporting that a shortage of skilled plantation labor is hampering harvest operations, while an aging tree population is contributing to lower national yields. Malaysia has entered the seasonal period (June-October) when palm oil production rises to its highest levels of the year, and authorities from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) have reported they expect significant improvement in production levels for the remainder of the year. However, extraordinary yields would be required to boost 2011/12 production much above 2010/11 levels. And given the declining yield trend of recent years, USDA lowered its outlook for 2012/13 production. Malaysia has yet to demonstrate that it can resolve the underlying problems affecting national average crop yields.

Pakistan Cotton: Slow Start to the Production Season

The USDA forecasts Pakistan's 2012/13 cotton production at 9.7 million bales (480-pound bales), down 3 percent from last month and down 8.5 percent from last year. Area harvested is estimated at 3 million hectares, down 3.2 percent from last month, and down 6.3 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 704 kilograms per hectare, up 0.3 percent from last month, but down 2.4 percent from last year.

Cotton sowing is almost complete in most regions. There has been a slow start to the 2012/13 planting season in part due to delayed and less-than adequate pre-monsoon rainfall. Satellite observations also indicated low water levels in most reservoirs resulting in shortage of irrigation supplies. The Indus River System Authority reported a 15-percent water shortage for this year's summer sowing season. In some areas the drier-than normal conditions have also affected early plant growth and development. In Pakistan the monsoon rainfall typically starts in early July and continues through September.

The monsoon season accounts for about 70 percent of the total annual precipitation. The Pakistan Metrological Department has issued a forecast of a normal monsoon season, which is expected to peak in July. The extent and distribution of monsoon rainfall during the July-September period is critical in determining the production of kharif season crops (cotton, rice, millet, sorghum, corn, and sugarcane).

Approximately 80 percent of the total Pakistan cotton crop is produced in Punjab province. According to recent local reports, at the end of June planted area was 7 percent lower than the same period last year. Last season (2011/12) Pakistan witnessed record cotton area due to favorable planting conditions in Punjab and Sindh.

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