11 May 2012
European Union Wheat: Dryness and Winterkill Reduce Prospects
Wheat production in the European Union (EU) for 2012/13 is forecast at 132.0 million tons,
down 5.4 million or 4 percent from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 24.9 million
hectares, down 0.7 million or 3 percent from last year, and yield is forecast at 5.3 tons per
hectare, compared to last year’s 5.36 tons. The EU-27 is the largest wheat producing entity in
the world. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Poland are the biggest producers within
the EU, with 2012/13 estimated production at 36.5 million, 22.5 million, 15.6 million, and 8.8
million tons, respectively.
Spain’s southernmost province of Andalucía has the nation’s highest concentration of wheat and almost all of its durum. Fall and winter drought severely limited wheat development in Andalucía. While significant April rain events benefitted earlier-stage northern crops, it was likely too late to improve conditions in the south. Dryness was a significant problem during the planting campaign for wheat last autumn in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and other areas in southeastern Europe. As a result, the estimated harvested area and yield are down.
After a mild start to winter, temperatures suddenly dropped in early February with an event of unseasonably low temperatures ranging from -20 to -25°C in areas of Poland and Germany. Snow was absent for the entire week-long event in Poland and for about half the week in Germany. Winterkill is estimated to be higher than normal in areas from eastern France through the Balkans, and much higher than normal for western Poland. Poland is one of the few countries where spring wheat might be planted, restoring some wheat area. Winter wheat is estimated to sustain damage at temperatures of -20 °C with no snowcover.
Shifted weather patterns brought rainfall back to much of the EU in April, improving soil moisture, enabling yield recovery, and encouraging increased summer crop plantings. The majority of wheat is harvested in July, so increased rainfall during grain-fill would be favorable for wheat prospects. (For more information, contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)
European Union Rapeseed: Area and Production Forecast Down from Last Year
Rapeseed production in the
European Union (EU) for
2012/13 is forecast at 18.0
million tons, down 1.1
million or 6 percent from
last year, and down 1.8
million or 9 percent from the
five-year average. Harvested
area is estimated at 6.0
million hectares, down 0.6
million or 10 percent from
last year, and down 0.6
million tons or 10 percent
below the five-year average.
Yield is forecast at 3.00 tons
per hectare, compared to last
year’s 2.88 tons.
Rapeseed, traditionally the first winter crop planted, needs significant vegetative development prior to winter. Autumn dryness was a major problem in Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, preventing it from achieving the necessary vegetative growth with some fields failing to emerge. According to rapeseed experts, fall establishment is the key for rapeseed yields, because if the plant isn’t properly established prior to winter, it is more vulnerable to winterkill and is more susceptible to spring drought and diseases. Compared to last year, harvested area is estimated to be down 78 percent in Romania and 36 percent in both Hungary and Bulgaria.
After a mild start to winter, there was an occurrence of lower temperatures that suddenly dropped to -20 to -25 °C in Poland and Germany during early February. Conditions conducive to winterkill were scattered throughout Europe during this period but were concentrated in Poland and Germany, where protective snowcover was absent for the entire week-long event in Poland and for about half the week in Germany. Without snowcover to insulate crops from extremely low temperatures, damage is expected to be widespread in Poland and areas of Germany.
Winterkill is also expected to have damaged rapeseed in eastern France, and was likely aboveaverage in much of central Europe. Rapeseed is estimated to sustain damage at temperatures of - 15 °C with no snowcover. Spring rapeseed is a fairly small producing crop in the greater EU, but it could increase significantly in Poland this year. (For more information, contact Bryan Purcell at 202-690-0138.)
Ukraine Wheat: Forecast Production Down Sharply From Last Year Due Mainly to Fall Drought
USDA forecasts Ukraine wheat production for 2012/13 at 13.0 million tons, down 9.1 million tons or 41 percent from last year. The decrease is attributed chiefly to severe fall drought that hampered emergence and establishment of winter crops throughout Ukraine. Localized frost further damaged the already weakened plants in parts of southern and eastern Ukraine. Harvested area is estimated at 5.3 million hectares against 6.7 million last year. An estimated 25 percent of the reported planted area was destroyed due to the combination of excessive fall dryness and frost damage.
Analysts from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service conducted cropassessment travel throughout the main wheat production zone in mid- April. The team observed that crop conditions varied significantly from field to field, depending on the planting date, crop rotation, and technology. Overall conditions, however, were not good. Satellitederived vegetative indices from late April are consistent with the poor conditions observed by the team earlier in the month. Wheat yield is forecast at 2.45 tons per hectare, 26 percent below last year and 18 percent below the five-year average. Early spring weather was favorable for the development of winter grains as they broke dormancy and resumed vegetative growth, but local specialists indicate that even with continued favorable weather the crops are unlikely to fully compensate for the remarkably poor fall conditions. (For more information, please contact Mark Lindeman at 202-690-0143.)
Russia Grain: Historical Area Estimates Revised
USDA has revised its series of grain area estimates, beginning with 1990/91, to reflect harvested area. Previous estimates were based on sown-area data from Rosstat, the State Statistical Committee of Russia. Although Rosstat does not publish comprehensive data explicitly detailing the harvested area of individual crops, the official yield data is calculated on the basis of harvested area. This enables the harvested area to be derived from official production and yield data. The average ratio of harvested area to planted area of total grains for Russia is 92 percent, but the ratio varies considerably for individual districts and grains. Abandonment rates tend to be higher in the Volga District, for example, because this area is subject to frequent drought.
(For more information, please contact Mark Lindeman at 202-690-0143.)
Canada Rapeseed: Seeded Area Forecast at a Record High
USDA estimates 2012/13 Canada canola area at 8.05 million hectares, up 0.58 million or up 8 percent from last year. Statistics Canada’s 2012 March Intentions of Principal Field Crop estimates that farmers will expand planted area by 8 percent from last year due to favorable prices. In Saskatchewan, which produces 50 percent of total production, area is likely to expand by nearly 10 percent from last year. In Manitoba, which accounts for 25 percent of total production, area is expected to rebound from last year where floods reduced planted area. Production is forecast at 15.4 million tons, up 1.2 million or 9 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 1.91 tons per hectare up slightly from a year ago.
As of the first week of May, seeding is underway across the western prairies. Localized reports indicate a surplus of moisture in some areas that delayed seeding, but planting conditions in most areas are reported as good to excellent. (For more information, contact Arnella Trent at 202-720- 0881.)
China Cotton: Area and Production Forecast Down by 9 Percent
China cotton production for 2012/13 is forecast at 30.5 million bales (6.64 million tons), down
3.0 million or 9 percent from last year. The forecast area of 5.0 million hectares is down more
than 9 percent from a year ago and down 1.2 million hectares from its peak of 6.2 million in
2007/08. The forecast yield of 1326 kilograms per hectare is nearly the same as last year and
slightly below the record yield of 1335 kg/ha from 2009/10. Yields have been fairly flat
(between 1300 and 1335 kg/ha) since 2006/07.
Planting-intention reports from several sources all agreed that farmers would reduce cotton area in 2012/13 by 5 to 10 percent nationally. The provinces with the largest reductions (as much as 20 percent) are located in eastern and central China. Area reductions are expected to be relatively small in Xinjiang province, which now accounts for about one-third of China’s cotton area and nearly one-half of cotton output. Cotton planting started in mid-April and progressed without major problems. Temperatures, rainfall, and soil moisture levels in April and early May were generally favorable for planting, germination and emergence. Spring sandstorms in Northwest China and locally excessive rainfall in parts of eastern China may have caused minor damage to the newly planted cotton crop, but no significant losses were reported. (For more information, contact Paulette Sandene at 202- 690-0133.)
Brazil Soybeans: 2011/12 Harvest Nearly Complete
Brazil’s 2011/12 soybean production is estimated at 65.0 million tons, down 1.0 million tons
from last month and down 10.5 million or 14 percent from last year. Area is estimated at a
record 25 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.8 million or 3 percent from last
year. Yield is estimated at 2.60 tons per hectare, down 2 percent from last month and down 10
percent from the 5-year average.
Brazil’s soybean harvest is 97 percent completed. The last states to harvest are Bahia with 85 percent harvest completed and Rio Grande do Sul with 93 percent complete. Soybean production was lowered by 1 million tons this month due to lower than expected harvest reports in the states of Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul.
This year’s soybean yields will be lower than last year’s record yields for most states in Brazil, even though both years occurred during La Niña events. A severe La Niña drought this year reduced yields by more than 30 percent in the southern state of Paraná and by more than 40 percent in Rio Grande do Sul. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0314.)
Brazil Corn: Record 2011/12 Production Expected
Brazil’s total corn production for 2011/12 is estimated at a record 67 million tons, up 5 million from last month and up 9.6 million or 17 percent from last year. Total harvested area for 2011/12 is estimated at 15.7 million hectares, up 0.4 million from last month and up 1.9 million or 14 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 4.27 tons per hectare, which is above the 5- year average yield of 3.94 tons.
Total corn production was increased by
5 million tons this month due to a
400,000 hectares increase in the secondseason
corn area and favorable rains
from mid-March through April. Belowaverage
rainfall in the south from
November through February reduced
main-season corn production to
approximately 36 million tons, but
main-season drought losses should be
fully compensated with a record secondseason
forecast of approximately 31
million tons, or 46 percent of total
Over 70 percent of the second-season corn crop is in the pollination and grain-filling stages, with the development most advanced in the states of Paraná and Mato Grosso where harvest will begin soon. Second-season output is expected to reach record levels in Paraná and Mato Grosso with states producing approximately 10.0 and 11.7 million tons, respectively. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0314.)
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