Europe drives 4.3% global wheat surge as US drops: FAO

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

US wheat production will drop 6% by contrast, says FAO
US wheat production will drop 6% by contrast, says FAO

Related tags Wheat production Winter wheat Wheat

Global wheat production will surge 4.3% for 2013 driven by a strong European and Russian harvest, the FAO says. The US yield is expected to drop 6%.

It says increased European plantings to tackle high prices and a recovery in yields, particularly in Russia, were principle growth drivers.

The FAO said forecasts indicate that global wheat production for 2013 will rise to 690m tons – up 4.3% on the 2012 harvest. Aggregated plantings in the EU are estimated to be 3% higher with weather conditions favorable so far.  

The first forecasts for the 2013 wheat harvests were released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

EU wheat production for 2013 is forecast at 138m tons – up from 132m on the previous year’s harvest.

‘Less favorable US outlook’

Despite an increase of 1% in winter wheat plantings for the US, overall wheat output will drop by around 6% to 58m tons – below the average of the past five years.

“In North America, the outlook in the United States is less favorable among the other major wheat producing countries. Although good precipitation in February has greatly improved the outlook in previously drought-affected winter wheat areas, it is likely too late for the stressed crops to make a full recovery,” ​the organization said.

China to harvest ‘record’ wheat output for 2013

The wheat crop in Asia – to be harvested in April – is mostly favorable in the main producing countries.

Early forecasts suggest that China will have a record wheat output of 121m tons for 2013. “In China, higher minimum purchase prices have encouraged farmers to maintain last year’s good area and favorable weather conditions have benefited crops,”​ it said.

The FAO added that Pakistan was also set for a record output due to larger plantings and good yield prospects.

It said while India would have a good production level, it would be slightly down on last year due limited rainfall in some important producing areas.

Price calms

The FAO said international wheat prices weakened further in February, with the US price of Hard Red Winter wheat averaging $329 per ton – a 6% decline from January, although still 11% up from February 2012.

The FAO also released its Food Price Index report today that indicated that the recently lower prices in wheat and to some extent maize kept the Index unchanged.

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