Global wheat production prospects trimmed

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According to the USDA's Wheat Outlook report, world wheat production in 2012/13 is projected to reach 672.1 million tons, down 5.5 million this month, while foreign production is down 5.2 million tons to 611.3 million. Wheat production is projected down for Russia, EU-27, Turkey, and Syria. The largest decline is for Russia, down 3.0 million tons this month, as fall dryness in the European wheat-producing parts of the country persisted through critical flowering and early filling stages of plant growth.

Above-normal spring temperatures also contributed to soil-moisture decline, thereby adding to crop stress. While dry and hot weather conditions continued through the first half of May in the Southern, Central, and Volga Valley parts of Russia, some relief in the form of widespread rainfall (which, however, excluded a northern pocket in the South District) arrived later in the month and continued into June. The rains strongly benefited spring crops, but arrived too late to offset the damage to winter crops (mainly wheat, but also winter barley and rye).

Subsoil moisture did improve recently in the major winter wheat-producing areas, helped also by cooler temperatures in the second part of May. However, in some northern pockets of the South District and the southern part of the Volga District, subsoil moisture remains still low.

One indication of largely irreversible damage is recently observed weakly developed secondary roots, and reduced tillering, in winter wheat fields. Spring wheat areas in the Urals and Siberia received favorable rains in March and April, but precipitation in May was low, and June and July weather will be decisive for spring wheat yield prospects. Russia’s total wheat production is reduced 5 percent this month to 53 million tons, 3.2 million tons lower than in 2011/12.

Wheat output is projected down 1.0 million tons this month for the EU-27 to 131.0 million, with reduced area and a slightly higher yield. In Germany and Poland wheat production is projected down 0.7 million tons, each. Early statistical estimates indicate higher-than-expected wheat winterkill, and suggest lower wheat area. Most of this area lost to winter wheat was replanted this spring with barley in Germany and with barley and corn in Poland.

Wheat output is also projected down by 0.2 million tons in Spain, where prolonged drought through the beginning of April appears to have had larger effect on yields than previously thought. A small downward change is made for Italy. Partly offsetting are increases for France and Bulgaria, up 0.5 and 0.2 million tons, respectively. In France, wheat appears to have recovered with favorable soil moisture and cooler temperatures. Despite early-spring dryness, the Vegetation Health Index (VHI) indicates better-than-last-year crop development. In Bulgaria, wheat production is projected up 0.2 million tons this month, as crop conditions improved following rains and abundant soil moisture in May.

Another 1.0-million-ton reduction this month is made for Turkey, where 2012/13 wheat production is projected at 16.5 million tons. Satellite imagery indicate distinct problems with the wheat crop during late maturity in the major wheat-producing area of the Anatolia Plateau. Recent abundant precipitation caused the development of root fungus disease that affected crop density and is also expected to have additional negative effects on wheat yields. Wheat output in Syria is reduced 0.2 million tons this month to 4.0 million. Though most of the country’s wheat is irrigated, the reduction reflects poor conditions in the rain-fed wheat fields in the north and northeastern parts of the country.

For 2011/12, wheat production is revised for China, down 0.5 million tons to 117.4 million, following data recently published by the government statistical agency. Bangladesh 2011/12 wheat production is revised slightly up.

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