Wheat production forecasts: US goes against the grain


UNITED States wheat production forecasts have lifted 6 per cent in less than a month, while other major grain producing nations have had scale backs for the 2018-19 season.

The International Grains Council Market Report published last week forecast US wheat production for 2018-19 to be 51.1 million tonnes, up from the predicted 48.2 million tonnes earlier last month.

This brought estimated production into line with a USDA July forecast of 51.2 million tonnes for 2018-19.

TheIGC report forecast Australian wheat production for 2018-19 will be 22.5 million tonnes, down on the estimated 23.5 million tonnes earlier in the month.

Unfavourable weather for crops in key growing regions is the cause for a global grain production drop, the report said.

Grain Producers Australia Chairman Southern Region Andrew Weidemann said Australia operated in a global market, and farmers were aware of the way differing environmental factors can impact production across one country.

“It’s no different here in Australia with WA and the eastern coast,” Mr Weidemann said. “When you look at a global trend it’s exactly the same. Ukraine and Russia are looking at a downturn in total production, while the US last year were in a deficit as opposed to now, and that’s been driven by better weather conditions over there.”

AvantAgri grain analyst Malcolm Bartholomaeus said the US experienced a pullback in production last season, with significant drought in spring wheat production areas pulling production down to historical lows.

“Other parts of the winter wheat belt have performed quite well, and spring wheats are bouncing back,” Mr Bartholomaeus said.

“That’s given them a year-on-year lift, but it’s still small from a historical perspective.

“The issue now is the yield potential, it hasn’t fallen yet on the spring wheat, but it looks like it may with the upcoming heatwave in the US.”

Mr Bartholomaeus said the global quality of grain this season was affecting other nations’ predicted production levels.

“The protein of the Russian crop tends to be high, the European crop, Germany in particular, turns out quite high protein wheat. But the winter wheat production is compromised in the US, there are production cutbacks in Russia, and also in Ukraine with harvest rain downgrading some wheats to feed grain,” Mr Bartholomaeus said.

“Drought in northern Germany is cutting into production and affecting higher protein wheat.

“It is tightening the supply of higher protein wheat.”


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