The United Nations raised the bar on forecasts for world wheat production this year, foreseeing bigger harvests in countries such as Australia, Canada and the US offsetting much of the declines expected in the European Union and Russia.
The UN food agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, in its first forecast for world wheat output this year, pegged it at 720m tonnes.
While down 7.2m tonnes on last season’s production, it is a bigger harvest than forecast by the likes of Abares, the Australian crop bureau, which earlier this week forecast a 707m-tonne crop.
The International Grains Council has forecast 2015-16 output at 705m tonnes, while Canada’s farm ministry, AAFC, has a forecast of 710m tonnes.
‘Cold weather and severe frost’
The FAO flagged an “expected decline [in production] in Europe, as yields in the EU and the former Soviet Union region are forecast to return to average levels from the previous year’s high”.
In Russia, “cold weather and severe frost has reportedly affected nearly one-fifth of the winter crops, and yields are therefore expected to decrease slightly from the high level of last year,” the FAO said.
“Although an expansion in the total area planted, including the spring crop, is forecast, production is expected to decline to 55m tonnes on account of the lower yields,” down some 4m tonnes year on year.
The EU harvest, the world’s biggest, was seen dropping 8.6m tonnes to 147.0m tonnes.
Although “crop conditions were generally favourable, despite some dryness reported in eastern EU countries,” yields were forecast retreating from last year’s bumper levels.
Nonetheless, the FAO’s estimate for EU wheat was higher than the 143.0m tonnes forecast by Abares.
And, at 26.0m tonnes, the FAO was more upbeat on Australian wheat prospects too, which Abares put at 24.39m tonnes.
“Tentative forecasts point to a return to an average production compared to 2014’s reduced output,” the FAO said.
The agency also forecast a 2.0m-tonne recovery to 21.0m tonnes in output in Turkey, from levels dented last year by poor weather.
The forecast for Canadian output this year, up 700,000 tonnes at 30.0m tonnes, was in line with the AAFC’s, while the estimate for the US harvest, up 900,000 tonnes at 56.0m tonnes, was shy of the 57.8m tonnes expected by the US Department of Agriculture.
“Forecasts indicate a small increase in production, as a return to average yields and reduced abandonment for the winter crop is anticipated to more than offset a near-5% contraction in the planted area,” the FAO said.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/un-raises-bar-on-forecasts-for-2015-wheat-crop)