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IGC crop estimates higher

The Internat ional Grains Council (IGC) has raised its estimate for world wheat production in 2008-09 to 683 million tonnes, up seven million from its forecast issued last month.

The IGC put the 2007-08 wheat crop at 610 million tonnes.

“Crops in several Northern Hemisphere producers, including the EU, Russia, Ukraine, the U. S. and Canada, were even better than expected,” the IGC said in a monthly report.

“Poor harvesting conditions reduced wheat quality in Ukraine and several EU member states.”

World maize production in 2008-09 was projected at 773 million tonnes, up two million from a previous forecast of 771 million, and compared with the prior season’s 787 million.

“Small increases in the EU, Ukraine and Mexico are partly offset by a reduction for Argentina, where dry weather and a likely switch to soybeans will reduce plantings.”

The U. S. maize forecast remains at 305 million tonnes, eight per cent below the 2007 record.

Conditions favoured winter wheat planting in most major Northern Hemisphere producers, but there were indications that the global area would decline, the IGC said.

Lower farmgate prices may result in reduced areas in the EU and Ukraine, where high input costs are also a factor.

But increased support prices should boost sowings in India and Pakistan, the IGC said.

More rain is needed in North Africa and parts of Near East Asia.

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