Global wheat production in 2011/12 is projected down 1.9 million tons this month to 662.4 million. Foreign production is reduced by 3.2 million to 605.1 million, while the forecast for U.S. winter wheat production is up 1.3 million tons. Unfavorable weather conditions have reduced wheat production prospects in two of the major exporting countries, Canada and Ukraine, and also in Mexico and Tajikistan. These reductions are partly offset by increased wheat production in Turkey and the EU-27.
Wheat production prospects for 2011/12 in Canada are down sharply this month by 3.5 million tons to 21.5 million, reflecting a 14-percent reduction in area of 1.3 million hectares from 9.3 to 8.0 million hectares. As of a month ago, Canadian farmers had planted about 80 percent of their intended wheat area, but farmers in southeastern Saskatchewan and neighboring southwestern Manitoba, where percentages of unseeded area were the highest, reported virtually no progress in the month of June. Persistent rains that have disrupted field work for many weeks ended around June 20, the crop insurance cut-off day.
Based on provincial Saskatchewan reports that give planting progress by crop production regions, as of June 20, wheat planting in Saskatchewan appears to have reached only 3.4 million hectares. This is about 1.6 million lower than June preliminary estimates and almost 2 million lower than March initial planting intentions. In the southeastern corner of the province, almost 66 percent of land appears to have been left unseeded. Corresponding adjustments have been made for the neighboring southwestern Manitoba, where weather conditions have been very similar. Durum planting in these regions, which grow nearly half of Canadian durum, has been hit hard, leaving significant intended durum area unseeded. The problem of low durum planting extends across both U.S. and Canadian durum areas. The evidence supporting dramatic Canadian area reductions does not come from planting progress reports alone. Satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and local news reports all provide strong supporting evidence for a substantial drop in planted area.
Ukrainian 2011/12 wheat production is projected down 1.0 million tons this month to 18 million. Several factors have contributed to the lower wheat yield prospects in Ukraine. Cool weather in April delayed crop development, which, combined with dry spring weather, lowered tillering in the affected areas and hurt root development in wheat plants. Powerful rains in the second part of June and beginning of July on the one hand relieved the accumulated moisture deficit, but on the other hand were too strong, supplying around 200 percent of normal precipitation in the eastern part of the country. The moisture could result in harvest delays, some additional lodging, and is expected to raise the share of feed-quality wheat.
Wheat output for 2011/12 is projected 0.4 million tons lower at 3.8 million in Mexico, following an official downward revision to harvested area. In Tajikistan, production is down 0.1 million tons to 0.4 million, because of the dry and hot weather pattern in the main wheat producing region of the country. Yields are lowered similar to those in the low-yield years of 2006-2008. In Turkey, where the wheat harvest is underway, wheat output for 2011/12 is projected up 1.1 million tons to 18.5 million. Turkey is one of the world’s few other major durum producers and durum is grown in the southeastern part of the country where rainfall has not been excessive this year. Crop development was delayed this year, and abundant rains in May and the first part of June were very beneficial for wheat yields. This is partly because the rains occurred during the later-than-normal reproductive stage of the crop and did not negatively affect harvesting. The flip side of abundant to excessive soil moisture is that wheat quality is expected to be lower than normal.
EU-27 wheat production is expected to reach 132.1 million tons in 2011/12, up 0.6 million this month. Timely abundant moisture in Spain, and good weather conditions, increased use of fertilizer, and better irrigation in Romania, warranted this month’s increase in yield prospects in those countries, for a total increase in wheat production of 1.0 million tons. This increase more than offsets yield reductions in the U.K. and Hungary, where current projected yields better reflect and are more consistent with the impact of dry weather.