USDA official sees global wheat crop around record levels

Global wheat output could climb to record highs in the year to June 2014 on improved crop prospects for some key producers hit by severe droughts last year, an official of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

“I think global production should get back to record level,” Joe Glauber, the USDA’s chief economist, told Reuters March 6.

“We saw pretty severe droughts in the Black Sea and southern Europe and, assuming we see some snap-back, we should see strong global production levels again and hopefully some significant rebuilding of stocks.”

In the U.S. Plains, warmer temperatures will melt much of the snow cover from a pair of big blizzards in late February, adding crop-friendly moisture to the drought-stricken hard red winter wheat region.

Australia, the world’s second-largest exporter, on March 5 forecast wheat production in 2013-14 would rise 13 per cent from the previous year, boosted by increased planting and higher yields from better growing conditions.

And Ukraine is likely to produce its largest harvest since gaining independence in 1991 thanks to favourable autumn weather and a larger sowing area, analyst UkrAgroConsult said. The consultancy revised up its forecast for the 2013-14 grain harvest to 53 million tonnes from 51.85 million.

Glauber, speaking on the sidelines of an Australian agricultural conference, did not give a figure for world wheat output in 2013-14.

Global wheat production stood at 653.6 million tonnes in 2012-13, according to the USDA’s most recent forecast, down six per cent from a record 696.6 million tonnes the previous season.

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