IGC Raises Wheat Crop Estimate, Lowers Maize

The International Grains Council raised its estimate for world wheat production in 2009-10 but forecast a drop in plantings for next year’s crop Nov. 26.

The IGC, in a monthly report, put world wheat production at 668.3 million tonnes, up 1.5 million from its previous forecast although still below the prior season’s record 686.8 million.

“The EU’s (wheat crop) estimate is raised by 1.7 million tonnes after a better-than-expected harvest in Italy while Kazakhstan’s crop of 15 million tonnes was also larger than anticipated,” the IGC said.

The IGC cut, however, its forecast for Australia’s wheat crop to 22 million tonnes from a previous projection of 23 million, citing “extreme heat.”

Total wheat area in 2010 was seen at 222 million hectares, down 1.5 million from 2009 but still two per cent above the five-year average.

“Harvested areas in the EU should be similar to last year but in Russia and Ukraine they could be smaller than 2009, when frost damage was below normal,” the IGC said.

“In the U. S. expected lower returns could encourage some farmers to grow less, especially in Soft Red Winter wheat areas affected by planting delays.”

Maize production in 2009-10 was seen at 786.5 million tonnes, down 2.4 million from the previous estimate and below the prior season’s 790.5 million.

“In the U. S., where harvest progress has been the slowest for 35 years, crop quality is below normal and extensive and costly drying is needed,” the IGC said.

The IGC cut its forecast for the U. S. maize crop to 328 million tonnes, down from a previous projection of 330 million.

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