According to the FAO’s Cereal Supply and Demand Brief for May, the predicted wheat harvest for 2013 is 695m tonnes, up 5.4% from last year’s harvest, and just 6m tonnes short of 2011’s historical high.
Russian wheat production, which was hit by drought last year, is expected to recover sharply in 2013, up more than 45% on last year’s harvest to reach about 55m tonnes. The European Union – the world’s biggest producing region for wheat – is set to increase production 5.5% to 138m tonnes, while US wheat production is predicted to fall 9.4% due to drought at planting time and further losses due to frost.
While wheat use is expected to reach a record high in the United States this year, total global use is predicted to fall 1.6% compared to the previous season, mainly on account of lower feed use of wheat in China and the EU.
US maize plantings highest in 77 years
Meanwhile, coarse grains are set for a record-beating year, with the FAO forecast standing at 1.27m tonnes – up 9.3% on last year, and well above the previous high of 1.17m tonnes produced in 2011. Maize is expected to account for the vast majority of the harvest, at about 960m tonnes, up 10% on last year, with about 45% of the total coarse cereal used destined for food.
“Good crops are already being harvested in some Southern Hemisphere producing countries but the bulk of the increase is anticipated in the United States, the world’s largest producer, where maize plantings are forecast to reach their highest level since 1936,” the FAO said.
World rice production is also expected to increase, assuming a return to more normal weather patterns in Asia, with particularly large increases predicted for India and Indonesia.