Terrible Outlook For 2009 Global Wheat Output

Here is a batch of entries on the world's agricultural situation from Nogger's Blog.

(emphasis mine) [my comment]

Friday, 22 May 2009
Romanian Wheat Production Ravaged By Drought

More than a million hectares of Romanian wheat and rye have already been damaged by drought as the country braces itself for a forecast very dry June.

Daniel Botanoiu, adviser to the State Secretary with the Ministry of Agriculture, Floristries and Rural Development Catalin Rosculete, said that
almost a quarter of the nation's planted area of around 7 million hectares was affected.

Of that,
more than 600,000 hectares was already 50% destroyed he said, with much of the remaining area 50% damaged, he added.

Agriculture Minister Ilie Sarbu said that
the country was on the verge of declaring a "calamity state" as only 500,000 hectares of the country's area under seed had adequate irrigation systems in place, with conditions expected to worsen next month.

"It is a sure thing that June has been forecast as a very dry month," he said.

Romania produced around 6.4 million tonnes of wheat in 2008, and was expecting output of around 5.2 million tonnes this year on a smaller planted area and reduced inputs. What size the crop now?
Four million? [less?]

Friday, 22 May 2009
Ukraine Wheat Production Hit By Dry Spring, Credit Crunch

Dry spring growing conditions are expected to cut Ukrainian wheat production this season, says Gail Martell of StormX, with quality also an issue for the second year running.

A record wheat harvest of 25.9 million metric tons was gathered last year, but crop quality suffered in a rainy May-June ripening period. Indeed, more than half the record wheat production was downgraded to feed-quality due to mold, sprouting and other wet-weather problems. Even so, Ukraine has exported an estimated 12 million metric tons of wheat in the 2008-09 marketing season, establishing itself as major player in global wheat trade, says Gail.

May growing conditions have been much drier this year, suggesting sharply reduced wheat production.

Dry growing conditions in spring usually improve the protein content of wheat that is valued for bread making. However, due to a severe credit crunch in Ukraine farmers reportedly applied fewer fungicides and insecticides. Traders predict quality will be sub-par for the second year in a row, adds Gail.

The USDA has pegged new-crop
Ukraine wheat production at 19 million metric tons on the May Supply-Demand Report and 27% less than 2008. Ukraine wheat exports were set at 6 mmt and 50% of last year.

Friday, 22 May 2009
More Grain Production Estimates Cut In Eastern Europe

Following with this mornings theme of having a look at what seem like diminishing crops prospects in Eastern Europe, here's a few more snippets for you:

Hungary has not had any significant rainfall since March, the state-run agricultural think-tank now says that the wheat crop there could fall to 4 MMT, down 28.5% from last season's 5.6 MMT.

Czech grain production has also been hit by drought. The Agrarian Chamber sees
total grain production this season down at least 17% and "probably more", without putting a tonnage on projected wheat output specifically. A 17% fall in wheat production would give us a crop of 3.9 MMT from 4.7 MMT last year.

Bulgaria's National Grain Producers Union sees below average yields this year, with
wheat production likely to fall around 20% to circa 3.5 MMT. Plantings were sharply lower after the EU Commission used satellite monitoring to reveal that land that some Bulgarian farmers were claiming set-aside for turned out to include sports stadiums, rubbish dumps and even graveyards! That put the blocks on huge tranches of farm aid destined for Bulgaria just when crops were due to be planted last autumn.

Low April rainfall may have been partially alleviated by improved precipitation in May "but it is too early to say" say the National Federation of Grain Producers in Poland. "The effects of the drought on the yields of summer grains are considerable in some regions," they added.
Wheat production here may be down 5-10% this year according to local farmers, giving us a crop of around 8.6 MMT.

Ukraine has suffered similar problems. "Frosts in April, and drought in March and April have affected crops and the future harvest. But recent rains have improved the crops," First Deputy Agriculture Minister Yuri Luzan said.
Wheat production seen 27% lower by the USDA to 19 MMT on a combination of reduced acreage and yields due to weather and decreased inputs.

Romania is on the verge of declaring a "calamity state" with almost a quarter of winter plantings destroyed or damaged by drought. A new official crop estimate will be made in early June.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Spanish Wheat Harvest Seen Sharply Lower In 2009

Farmers in Castilla-Leon,
the northern region of Spain that normally accounts for around half of the nation's wheat production, will harvest 45% less wheat than in 2008 according to the regional government there.

In what is becoming an all too familiar story, sharply lower prices last autumn when wheat was being drilled caused farmers to reduce plantings. Many have also cut fertiliser application in the face of tightening credit, they said. Barley production in the region will fall 47%, they added.

Many farmers in the region chose to either leave land fallow or plant lower-maintenance crops like rape, sunflowers, field peas or vetches.

Freak storms hit the region at the weekend which may push grain output even lower, according to media sources. The extent of the damage done to winter grains and sunflowers is still being assessed.

Prior to the weekend, on a national level the 2009 grain harvest was already forecast to fall between 34-42%, according to various estimates from farmers unions and grain merchants. That would give us
a national grain crop of 13.5-15.4 MMT, compared to 23.3 MMT a year ago.

Even with a bumper crop like last year's,
Spain is expected to have still imported around 8 MMT of grain when the current marketing year ends on June 30th.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Bulgarian Wheat Yields Will Be 'Tragic' In 2009

The Bulgarian news agency Novinite says that
this season's wheat yields in Bulgaria and Serbia will be "tragic", coming in at around 3.2 MT/hectare, more than 36% lower than last season's yields which were in excess of 5 MT/hectare.

The warm and dry weather this spring has left Bulgarian farmers worried about a very poor year for their corn and wheat crops, they say.

It's a similar story across pretty much the whole of Eastern European, as reported last week. Large areas of Romanian wheat and rye have been completely destroyed or badly damaged by drought the Agriculture Minister there is said to be on the verge of declaring a "calamity state".

Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Western Australian Grain Production Seen Sharply Lower In 2009

Early estimates for grain production in the state of Western Australia in 2009 are for
output of 8-11 MMT, between 10-35% lower than the 12.3 MMT produced last year, according to the region's monopoly grain storage facility Cooperative Bulk Handling.

Western Australia is the nation's largest wheat producing state, accounting for around 40% of the national production in 2008 with a crop of 8.9 MMT. Typically around 70% of WA grain production is wheat, implying a wheat crop this year of 5.6-7.7 MMT.

Last week's heavy rains in WA are said to have missed large tranches of the wheat belt entirely.

Meanwhile in the east,
plantings in New South Wales and Victoria, which make up around 36% of Australia's wheat production, have also ground to a halt. Planting, which began around the start of May, has slowed dramatically due to worsening drought conditions in the region, according to StormX. In the past two weeks, even drier conditions have prevailed, with some wheat fields recording no measurable rainfall at all, they say.

Melbourne has had the driest start to a year in 42 years, with just 99 millimetres of rain so far, 160mm short of the average.

Australia is the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009
EU Wheat Closes Mostly Higher Despite Currency

EU wheat futures closed mostly higher Wednesday despite a weak dollar having a potentially negative impact on the competitiveness of EU cereals on the export market.

Paris November milling wheat closed up EUR2.50 at EUR159/tonne, London November feed wheat closed GBP0.50 higher at GBP130/tonne.

Talk of sharply lower production across much of Eastern Europe, and also in Spain, looks like
there is going to be a lot less wheat around in 2009/10.

US futures continue to climb with spring wheat planting delays seeing in excess of a million acres going into alternative crops, mostly soybeans.

Early winter wheat yields in the US are said to be extremely disappointing after drought and an early April freeze badly affected crops in the Southern Plains. In Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas many farmers are ripping up their winter wheat fields early and claiming crop insurance before attempting to quickly get an alternative crop into the ground.

Further north in North Dakota, where spring wheat has just about run out of time to get planted by this weekend, soybeans or corn look like a much more attractive proposition.

Plantings in Argentina and Australia are also under threat from drought.

Meanwhile in the UK a large premium for new-crop still exists which will encourage farmers to carry old crop wheat rather than sell, if they have the storage capacity. An improved weather outlook here may mean more milling wheat and less feed grade this year. It could hardly be worse than last year, could it?

It's still early days but with a final crop of around 3 MMT less than 2008 already expected, and hopefully a higher proportion of milling wheat, we could be looking a smaller feed wheat supply of 5-6 MMT this year. Throw in a 1 MMT+ worth of extra demand from Ensus, you will buy British like you promised won't you lads (?), and the supply:demand equation is starting to look a lot different next time round.

Friday, 29 May 2009
Argentine Soybean Crop Revised Down Again, Wheat Acreage Seen 20 Pct lower

In what is becoming a familiar weekly ritual
the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange has revised down its 2009 soybean crop estimate for Argentina to 32.0 MMT from 32.2 MMT a week earlier.

That's a reduction of 30.7% on last year and 36% down on the 50 MMT originally hoped for this season.

Even so
there could still be more downward revisions to come yet. The Argentine Rural Confederation, or CRA, last week estimated production at just 30.5 MMT, 34% down on last season.

The 2009/10 wheat acreage is forecast at 3.7 mln ha by the BAGE, which would be the smallest area on record, and almost 20% lower that the 2008/09 area of 4.6 mln ha.

Friday, 29 May 2009
Bulgarian Drought Worsens

Drought in Bulgaria could see wheat production this year fall by more than 30% to 3 MMT, from 4.4 MMT in 2008, according to media reports.

Chairman of the National Association of Grain Producers (NAGP) Radoslav Hristov said his members would hold an extraordinary sitting this week to discuss the condition of autumn and spring crops. NAGP will produce a report which would be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Foods, he said.

The country has seen virtually no rainfall of note during May, he added.

"In my opinion the drought problem is now even more serious than in 2007 because then the affected areas were few but now their number is bigger. Condition of spring crops is three times as bad compared with 2007," Hristov explained.

Earlier this week the Bulgarian news agency Novinite described this season's potential wheat yields as "tragic".

Hungary meanwhile has not had any significant rainfall since March, and Romania is on the verge of declaring a "calamity state" with almost a quarter of winter pl antings destroyed or damaged by drought.

Friday, 29 May 2009
Hot Dry Weather Threatens Chinese Corn And Soybeans

Young corn and soybeans on the Manchurian Plain are being stressed by dry field conditions and unusual springtime heat, says Gail Martell of StormX. Heavy April rainfall may have encouraged growers to plant corn and soybeans early, but very warm and dry weather has hindered growth in the recent 3-4 weeks. Dryness affects the leading corn and soybean provinces Jilin and Heilongjiang.

Conditions have grown desperately dry in Heilongjiang. Harbin in the heart of soybean country has received a scant 0.1 inch of rainfall in the past 30 days. Mid May is usually the prime time for planting, but growers may have sown their soybeans right after heavy late April showers, believing the rainy season had begun in earnest [it didn't though]. Prospects have declined with worsening dryness in May, she adds.

China View reports that lack of rain and falling river level endangering NE China's grain production.

Lack of rain, falling river level endangering NE China's grain production base
www.chinaview.cn http://imgs.xinhuanet.com/icon/2006english/2007korea/space.gif2009-05-29 18:02:29

HARBIN, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Lack of rainwater, coupled with falling river levels, is endangering more than 50 percent of grain fields in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, China's largest grain production base, said drought relief officials here on Friday.

Hou Baijun, deputy commander of the provincial drought relief headquarters, said that 6 million hectares of grain fields, or 53 percent of the province's total, has been dry since mid-May.

The average river level in the agricultural plain area was 0.39-1.96 meters lower than that of a normal year, which was considered abnormal, he said.

He said the provincial government has allocated 460 million yuan of drought relief fund this month, which has helped dig more than 30,000 wells for irrigation.

However, only 1.37 million hectares of the dry field were irrigated under the measures taken, said the official.

"If there is no sufficient rainfall to moisten the land before June 10, this year's grain production would be harmed," he said.

China Daily reports that pests and diseases strike up to half of NW China wheat crop.

Pests, diseases strike up to half of NW China wheat crop
Updated: 2009-05-26 13:39

Pests and diseases have infected 30 to 50 percent of the wheat crop -- or 187,000 hectares -- in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, the regional agriculture department revealed Tuesday.

The acreage affected by pests, mainly aphids, and diseases like powdery mildew disease accounted for 87.5 percent of the wheat cultivation area, said Lai Weili, director of Crop Farming Bureau of the regional Agriculture Department.

If not effectively controlled, the summer harvest would be harmed, said Lai.

Lai said aphids had been found on 30 percent of plants, and powdery mildew disease, one of the most dangerous wheat diseases, had already affected more than 92,000 hectares, where the average diseased-plant rate has reached 46.5 percent.

The mildew first affected the surface of the plant. If it was promptly controlled with chemical sprays, the crop would still be harvested, said Lai.

"This year's pest and disease outbreak is the most serious in recent years, and has been brought about by the spring drought and rising temperatures," said Lai.

My reaction: The numbers for this year's wheat output are horrible.

1) Romania = output wheat down -30%

2) Ukraine = output wheat down -27%

3) Hungary = output wheat down -28.5%

4) Czech = output wheat down -20%

5) Bulgaria = output wheat down -30%

6) Poland = output wheat down -10%

7) Spain = output wheat down -42%

8) Australia = output down -10-35%

9) Argentina = output down -34%

10) China = output down -20% or more

11) US = output down -20% or more

12) Canada = output down -12%

13) Russia = output wheat down -21.5%

Conclusion: Nothing has changed. Estimates for agricultural production are being continuously downgraded every month. Droughts, under planting, and lack of credit have devastated global agricultural output. The world is still facing food shortages in 2009.

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5 Responses to Terrible Outlook For 2009 Global Wheat Output

  1. Anonymous says:

    UK wheat, barley and oilseed will be well down on last year.
    Too wet in the autumn and winter, too dry since march. Weather forecasters think we are in for hot dry summer (the worst scenario for yield).
    Wheat production will be down at least 15% on last year.

    France and Germany not doing too badly overall, but will not repeat record yields of last year.

    Next months weather is critical for all regions north of and including Paris Basin.

    Farmer John

  2. VegasBD says:

    I still laugh to myself at your comment on one of your previous articles "i cant believe im writing about soybeans" how their defaults will spark the runs on comex.....

    Id love to see historians sum that up.

  3. Corny says:

    I think the above figures are really scary...
    However, we ought to also consider the carryout estimates as well. This will affect the amount of wheat being available....
    Any figures on that???

  4. Anonymous says:

    Eric, thanks once more for the digest.

    What immediately comes to mind reading this is how in hell the idea of the planet warming up relentlessly come to be what it is today?

    This is the proof that the msms are either totally incompetent or blatantly trying twist our minds.

  5. Mark says:

    First of all, isn't it a bit strange that weather conditions are detoriating in so many places all over the world? Looks like climate change to me. On the other side, I'm really not into this for very long, so I cannot rely on past experience ;-).

    Second, I'm not convinced regarding COMEX defaults. Shouldn't some futures exchange have already defaulted when oil prices went to the roof last year?

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