*****2009/10 World Wheat Production*****

Below is a table showing production figures for wheat. The numbers where I disagree with USDA estimates are highlighted in red.


Date Created 9/11/2009 9:03:54 AM


(Million metric tons)

































































































































United Kingdom





United States




















The purpose of the table above is to point out that USDA estimates are off by AT LEAST 63 million metric tons. Below are the stories/sources that explain the differences between USDA numbers and reality.

China and India

From Nogger's blog:

(emphasis mine) [my comment]

Monday, 7 September 2009
Here's Some Interesting Stuff

I recently stumbled across the UK-based website http://www.agrimoney.com/ which is well worth a look and provides loads of interesting articles about the markets absolutely free, something which I know is dear to your little hearts.

They posted a story over the weekend saying that the Chinese corn harvest this year might be 20 MMT overestimated, and I thought that's quite a lot isn't it, 20 MMT?

The story goes on to say that this might explain why the government's weekly auctions have been attracting far more interest for corn than beans. Of course the fact that the bean price equates to roughly $5/bu more than the price in Chicago might also have something to do with it, but I get their drift. [as long as the Chinese bean price equates to roughly $5/bu more than the price in Chicago, Chinese imports of US soybeans are going to stay really strong.]

According to our mates at the USDA, China will produce 162.5 MMT of corn this season, [a perfect example of how USDA estimates are BS] that makes them easily the largest producer in the world after the US. Indeed that is around a third of the world's production outside of the good old US of A.

If we have a look at 09/10 ending stocks the USDA peg China at 57 MMT, that's 40% of the entire world's projected ending stocks, including the US.

The official Chinese government think tank, the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre, might have overstated the size of their domestic production by 20 MMT just three weeks ago. That would cut Chinese ending stocks by more than a third.

Which of course beggars the question, is corn the only product they are doing this with? [no] I think the answer is no Siree.

China accounts for around 17.5% of the world's wheat crop and a third of global 2009/10 ending stocks, using the USDA's figures. It's already been stated on here a few times that it is more than a little strange that they got a record crop of circa 115 MMT this year despite a terrible drought [Agreed]. Did they really? Who's to say that they didn't overstate that by 20 MMT as well?

Which leads us on from super-secretive and corrupt China to simply inept and corrupt India.
Where are their wheat stocks? [most of India's wheat is rotten and unfit for human consumption. See *****India's Wheat Harvest Is A Complete Disaster*****] They keep telling us that they've got enough to last a whole year, so why aren't they releasing any onto the domestic market right now, as they have been promising for weeks?

China & India combined account for 195 MMT or 30% of global wheat production, and 43% of world ending stocks for 2009/10, according to the USDA. How much of that is really there as well? [much less than believed]

Thursday, 17 September 2009
China's Corn Crop Hit By Drought

China's largest grain trader and corn processor COFCO say that this season's drought-hit corn crop in the country may only total around 148 MMT.

That's 12 MMT lower than the USDA's latest figure, but pretty close to another private Chinese estimate last week from Shanghai-based JC Intelligence. They said that this season's crop would come in at 145.9 MMT after drought hit the crop during August.

Both estimates are also substantially lower than forecasts from the official Chinese think tank CNGOIC who last month pegged production at 166.5 MMT.

These sharply lower private estimates from within the country may go some way towards explaining why the government's weekly corn auctions have been reasonable well supported of late.

[95.6 MMT wheat production for China (15% drop)]

Friday, 25 September 2009
India - The Slowest Car Crash In History?

India, the second most populous country on the planet (1.1479 billion people and rising last year), has just suffered the worst period of monsoon rains since 1972, 22% down on normal to Sept 23rd. Drought has spread to nearly half its more than 600 districts.

It is also the world's second largest consumer and producer of wheat.

The country depends heavily on monsoon rains which fall between June 1st and mid-September as they provide around 75% of the country's entire annual rainfall. An estimated 60% of the country's farmland is non-irrigated and depends entirely on natural rains to water the land.

A sporadic monsoon season, in which June rains were the worst in 83 years, means that India's sugar cane crop is expected to fall 20%, and rice output 17% this year.

Winter wheat planting, which begins next month, will be more heavily dependent on irrigation this year. Unfortunately with reservoir levels only around 40-50% of capacity hydro-electric power shortages will also impact upon the country's ability to physically pump what little water it has into the fields.

The late arrival of the rains this year also means that much more of the summer-planted rice was sown late, potentially impacting on farmers' ability to get their wheat into the ground in a timely manner this year.

The government recently introduced a limit on the amount of domestic sugar stocks that large companies like Nestlé and Pepsi can hold to just 15-days supply.

They say that this is to prevent hoarding. Critics say that as the limit doesn't apply to imported sugar, it is merely an attempt by the government to pass the onus of high world sugar prices onto these large multi-national companies,
forcing them to import more sugar than they would otherwise.

Now there is talk of introducing similar restrictions on soybeans, edible oil and wheat. They've already extended a ban on exporting edible oil to last until September 2010.

Checking back through the records there are only three years in the last thirty when monsoon rains in India have been 15% or more below normal: 1979, 1987 and 2002.

In each of these years,
not only did summer crop production fall significantly, winter output was also sharply lower.

The government say that they are confident that the country can produce around 79 MMT of wheat in spring 2010, and are considering raising the minimum price that they will pay farmers for wheat to encourage increased plantings.

Meanwhile they have been promising for months now to release state-owned wheat stocks onto the domestic market to contain spiraling prices, but consistently keep failing to do so.

Maybe they aren't as confident that they can produce a near record wheat crop as they would like to make out? Historically, the worst monsoon rains since 1972 suggest that it is highly unlikely.

[66.8 MMT wheat production for India (15% drop)]


The Wall Street Journal reports that Australia wheat crop outlook trimmed and El Nino continues.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2009, 2:31 A.M. ET
Australia Wheat Crop Outlook Trimmed; El Nino Continues

CANBERRA (Dow Jones)--Australian analysts Wednesday began lowering national wheat production forecasts in light of poor growing conditions in northern New South Wales and Queensland and a continuing El Nino climate episode.

Two analysts now put wheat output projections around 20 million to 21 million metric tons, down from estimates last week of 22 million to 23 million tons, but they still say production could go either way depending on rainfall.

"I'm probably sitting somewhere in the 18 to 21 range," but 21 million tons is probably the number most people would pick right now, said Robert Imray, a risk adviser and managing director at agricultural marketing concern Farmarco Australia Pty Ltd.

From Nogger's blog:

Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Crops Wither Down Under

There's a bit of momentum developing with this El Nino threatening crops in Eastern Australia story.

The problem lies in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia states which account for around 70% of the nation's wheat crop.

Queensland seems to be the worst affected state with stories here of some crops already being abandoned, and others turned over to stock.

Unfortunately for the Aussies, still smarting over their Ashes defeat, a hot and dry spring also lies in store.


Farmers watch crops wither
Hot dry spring ahead, says weather bureau
Despair as drought cripples 'Australia's Mississippi'


From Nogger's blog:

Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Another Wheat Disaster Looming In Argentina

Argentine farmers have planted just 923,000 hectares of wheat so far this season, according to the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange.

To put that into perspective, the country normally plants wheat from the beginning of early May through to the end of July, so we are around 2/3rds of the way through the planting season. Plus
they planted 4.2 million hectares last year that finally produced 8.3 MMT of wheat. [This year they planted 2.8 million hectors (or maybe less)]

They've got less than a million hectares in, during the first 60% of the planting year. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange hope that they will plant 2.9 million hectares this year, so they need to get 2/3rds of the remaining unplanted acreage in in the last 1/3 of the timeframe open.

It's not going to happen is it.

Chuck into the mix the ongoing drought and the lack of satisfaction with government tinkerings with export restrictions, and
"official" [USDA] sources of production next year of 9-11 MMT look like total pie in the sky. [USDA revised its numbers down to 8 MMT in September. This is still too high]

Production this year could easily fall to 4-5 MMT, maybe even less. Do the maths.

Thursday, 10 September 2009
Argentine Planting Progress/Intentions

Everything now seems to be gearing up for massive soybean plantings in Argentina this season.

The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange have cut their estimate for corn area to 1.875 million ha., that's around 600,000 ha or 24% down on last year. Although some rain has fallen in Argentina this past week, plantings have got off to a slow start at just 3.5% complete, they say.

[Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange] also say that [Argentine] wheat planting is finished at 2.8 million hectares, more than 40% down on last season's 4.7 million ha.

Thursday, 24 September 2009
Market Snippets
It never rains etc,
"intense frost is expected over the next days" in Argentina, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. That won't do the smallest wheat acreage in 100 years much good.

[Based on 2.8 million hectares planted, ongoing drought, and "intense frost", my guesstimate for Argentine wheat production is 5 MMT]

See also:

Argentina's pampas region have received only two inches of rain in seven months.


Wincustomersusa.com asks is Canadian dust bowl returning?

Is Canadian Dust Bowl Returning?
Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Farmers and ranchers in Alberta and Saskatchewan are afraid the "dust bowl" days of the 1930's Depression are returning to their region. A huge swath of land from central Saskatchewan and Alberta, up through the Peace River valley of British Columbia have seen their driest winter and spring in over 50 years. The Economist reports that some 900 farmers around Kindersley, southwest of Saskatoon, have plowed their crops under and claimed disaster insurance. The Canadian National Farmers Union foresees losses of up to 30% in wheat, barley, rapeseed and hay this year. David Schindler, an ecologist at the University of Alberta, said tree ring evidence indicates that the 20th Century was a wetter-than-normal century and that such current dry conditions may be closer to the norm in the future. Unfortunately, dwindling mountain glaciers and increased use of summer glacial melt by urban areas and the tar sands industry could convert the Canadian prairies into a semi-desert, Schindler said.

Canada.com reports that drought takes toll on Alberta crops.

Drought takes toll on Alberta crops
By Lisa Schmidt, Calgary Herald
August 21, 2009

CALGARY - Drought has hammered crops in Alberta, with farmers expected to bring in a much smaller harvest this year.

Statistics Canada said Friday production for all major crops is expected to fall this year, after a cool spring and a lack of moisture held back development at least two weeks behind normal.

Estimates for Alberta's major crops — wheat, barley and canola — are down as much as 40 per cent this year, according to preliminary estimates.

And with harvest now getting underway, those forecasts could shrink even more if delayed crops are hit with an early frost, say producers already bracing for a hit to their bottom line.

"With those kind of drops in yields and production, a lot of farmers are going to be negative territory this year," said Humphrey Banack, a Camrose-area producer and president of the Wild Rose Agricultural Producers.

Dave Burroughs, an analyst with Statistics Canada, said the Alberta estimates also showed a big drop in the area of abandoned acres due to drought conditions

"We were hearing the reports that in certain areas of Alberta crops like canola never got to germinate," he said.

"It was that bad . . . It certainly appears there's been quite a bit of loss, certainly above normal."

Across Canada, production is expected to be down among all the major crops this year.

Oilworld reports that Canada's 2009-10 crop will be the smallest since 2002-03.

Canadian production is a supportive factor, with Statistics Canada's first production estimate of the crop year indicating that the 2009-10 crop will be the smallest since 2002-03, the CWB said.

[Canada produced 20.1 MMT of wheat in 2007-08. Since this year is worse, I am going with 20.1 MMT for Canadian wheat production in 2009-10]


From Nogger's blog:

Thursday, 10 September 2009
CBOT Closing Comments

FranceAgriMer have increased it's estimate for French soft wheat production to 37.5 MMT.


From Nogger's blog:

Thursday, 27 August 2009
EU Wheat Nudges Higher

The German Agriculture Ministry surprised the market Wednesday by saying that this season's wheat harvest may fall short of last year's output, coming in at 24.8 MMT. Most private estimates have gradually been revised upwards this summer, from expectations around 24.0-24.5 MMT earlier in the year to 26.0-26.6 MMT recently.


From Nogger's blog:

Thursday, 3 September 2009
Spanish Barley Crop 35% Down, Wheat 34% Lower

Spain's agriculture ministry has revised lower it's estimate for this year's barley crop to 7.3 MMT, That's 35% down on last season's crop of 11.3 MMT. Most of the country's barley is spring-sown, accounting for 6.3 MMT this year, down from 9.6 MMT last season, they say.

Soft wheat output is also revised lower to an estimated 3.7 MMT, 34% down on last year's 5.6 MMT.

[3.7 MMT wheat production for Spain]


From Nogger's blog:

Friday, 18 September 2009
Market Snippets

The English wheat crop is only likely to be around 12.90-13.25 MMT this season on a combination of lower plantings and adverse weather conditions throughout the crop year, based on projections from the NFU/Defra.

Friday, 25 September 2009
NFU Releases New UK Production Estimates

Having released figures for England only last week, the NFU today released it's first estimates of UK grain and oilseed production for 2009.

Wheat production is down on the five year average by over a million tonnes and sharply lower than last season's bumper crop to 13.9 MMT, they say.

Difficult autumn planting conditions, high input prices and declining forward prices, contributed to farmers planting less cereals and oilseed rape and turning to lower input crops. These factors, coupled with drought affecting second wheat and spring barley in England, caused output of cereals to decline by an overall 14 per cent but oilseed rape yields offset lower plantings with production very similar to 2008, they add.

[13.5 MMT wheat production for the UK]


From Nogger's blog:

Friday, 18 September 2009
Market Snippets

Hungary's grain harvest is over, producing 5.99 MMT this season, 24% down on last year.
Wheat output accounted for 4.4 MMT, 21% lower than last year's 5.6 MMT. barley production was 30% down at 1.03 MMT.


From Nogger's blog:

Friday, 17 July 2009
Bulgaria Harvest Latest

As of July 15th Bulgarian farmers had harvested around 30% of the nation's wheat crop, with yields averaging 3.2 MT/hectare, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

They've trimmed their final wheat production estimate from 3.6-3.7 MMT to 3.5-3.6 MMT, around 20% lower than last season's output. [3.6 MMT wheat production for Bulgaria]


Actmedia News reports that draught and rains reduced Romanian wheat production by 45%.

Farmers: Draught and rains reduced wheat production by 45%
Date: 18-08-2009

Big farm producers in Romania declared that draught and rains reduced by 45% the local wheat production this year when 4-4.5 million tons of wheat were obtained compared to 7 million tons in 2008. Specialists say the main factors contributing to the drop of wheat production were draught in May, June and beginning of July and heavy rains in the second part of July. Representatives of the main companies in the cereal market declared that although production seems to cover Romania's consumption, its quality was affected. Most of the low quality wheat can be used to feed animals. In this context the president of the Farm Producers' League Adrian Radulescu declared, quoted by NewsIn that this year's crop about 1 million tons can be used for bakery products and estimates Romania might import bakery wheat. The administrator of TCE3 Brazi, Culita Tarata estimates that Romania will have to import up to 800,000 tons of wheat. "This is a difficult year and if we want quality bread we will have to import 500,000-800,000 tons of wheat", Tarata added. Mihai Anghel, the owner of Cerealcom Dolj declared that Romania will export fodder wheat and will import bread wheat. According to representatives of the cereal market, this year the price of wheat will be 0.4-0.45 lei/kg, under tar production price. So many farmers will not be able to cover their expenses. He added that this year, as in the last 20 years on the background of crisis, of difficult access to credits and low prices of cereals compared to production costs we will witness the increase of abandoned land areas.


Syria Today reports about tough times in Syria.

May 2009
Tough Times
By Julien Lennert
Photos Adel Samara

"Agriculture is dead," Abu Mohammed Ahmed, a farmer from a village on the eastern shore of Lake Tishreen around 100km from Raqqa, says matter-of-factly. "If they don't reinstate the subsidies this year, no one will continue working the land."

The world's oldest agricultural sector is enduring tough times, hit by three straight years of drought and the painful effects of the lifting of government subsidies on diesel. With the agricultural sector accounting for around 20 percent of the country's GDP and 19 percent of its workforce, few in Syria are left untouched by the sector's problems.

This year marks what may be the fourth successive year of a drought that has decimated much of the country's agriculture sector, particularly in the north-eastern regions which are heavily dependent on rainfall for their harvests.

In an interview with Syria Today, Hassan Katana, director of statistics and planning at the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, said three of the country's 13 governorates — Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Hassakeh — as well as the semi-arid badia regions were still suffering from the impact of the drought. The governorates of Raqqa and Hassakeh are two of the country's primary wheat-growing areas, with around 75 percent of Syria's wheat grown in the north-eastern region.

"Around 60 percent of land in these governorates is affected," Katana said. "It's a normal year except for the three governorates and the badia, although irrigated areas in these governorates are doing well."

During the 2007-08 season, nearly 75 percent of agricultural families in the north-eastern region suffered total crop failure, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The average yield of basic crops dropped in irrigated areas by 32 percent and in rain-fed areas by as much as 79 percent. Wheat and barley yields dropped by 47 and 67 percent respectively compared to the previous year.

Syria's wheat production for 2009 is estimated to come in at 2.5m tonnes, according to the National Agricultural Policy Centre (NAPC). This is a slight increase on the approximately 2m tonnes produced in 2008, which led Syria to import wheat for the first time in 15 years. Syria's average annual production stands at 4.7m tonnes, of which 3.8m tonnes are consumed internally.

United Press International reports that Drought in Syria cost more than 800,000 people their livelihoods

Saturday, August 8, 2009
Drought in Syria cost more than 800,000 people their livelihoods
Drought problems envelop Syria
Published: Aug. 7, 2009 at 11:12 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 7 (UPI) The drought that has kept Syria dry for three years has cost more than 800,000 people their livelihoods, Red Cross and Red Crescent officials said.
Wheat production was predicted to decline 38 percent to about 2.5 million tons, which would be the lowest level in 17 years, from 2008 yields of about 4 million tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report. Government estimates indicate barley yields were off 67 percent compared with previous growing seasons.

[2.5 MMT wheat production for Kazakhstan]

See also:
Water crisis uproots Syrian farmers


The USDA's June 10, 2009 commodity intelligence report gives us the forecast for Afghanistan's 2009/10 wheat crop

June 10, 2009
AFGHANISTAN: Wheat Production Recovers in 2009/10 Season

Afghanistan suffered a severe drought last year which decimated its 2008/09 winter grain crop and caused an acute food and feed-grain shortage throughout much of the country. Wheat production is estimated by USDA to have fallen 55 percent from the previous year. This major shortfall in production of the nation's staple grain crop was also exacerbated by disruptions in regional grain trade (export bans) and increasing conflict in major transport corridors along the Pakistani border, resulting in record high domestic food grain prices and increasing food insecurity.

With a seriously diminished supply of wheat in the country, officials have been particularly concerned about the outlook for the 2009/10 wheat crop. This crop was sown in the autumn of 2008 and will be harvested from May-August 2009. It is readily apparent from seasonal satellite image analysis that a major recovery in wheat growing conditions has occurred this year and that production potential is expected to reach near-record levels. The USDA currently forecasts Afghanistan's 2009/10 wheat crop at 3.4 million tons, up 1.9 million or 127 percent from last year. The sharp rebound in wheat production should help alleviate existing regional grain shortages, assist the government in building emergency stocks, help reduce imports to more normal levels, and cause a significant decline in persistently high food grain prices in the country.

[3.4 MMT wheat production for Afghanistan]


From Nogger's blog:

Friday, 31 July 2009
FSU Grain Production

According to the forecasts of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan,
this year's wheat crop will increase by around 1.5-2 MMT on last season to 13-14 MMT in net weight "if there is good weather in August and if we harvest the crop on time."

[13.5 MMT wheat production for Kazakhstan]


From Nogger's blog:

Tuesday, 25 August 2009
eCBOT Close, Early Call

Saudi Arabia say that they will only produce 1 MMT if wheat this year, after the government decide to abandon a self-sufficiency drive saying that the cost of irrigation was too high. That leaves them needing to import 1.8 MMT in 2009/10.

Irin News reports about massive crop failure in Kenya's "grain basket".

KENYA: Massive crop failure in "grain basket"

NJORO, 20 August 2009 (IRIN) - Two months before harvest time, the maize in Kenya's Rift Valley should be tall, lush and green, bursting with life. Instead, crops in the province's Lare division are stunted, barren fields of parched browns and pallid yellows.

The area, local farmers say, has experienced three years of erratic rainfall. This year, however, has been "a nightmare", Samuel Karanja told IRIN on 17 August at his farm in Njururi village.

"I do not expect to harvest anything, yet I used a lot of money to prepare my land and plant maize and beans earlier this year," the 70-year-old farmer said.

Karanja planted maize and beans on 3.2ha, at a cost of at least KSh80,000 (US$1,052), but the beans have since withered and died while the maize is stunted and drying.

"I have left everything to God; I am hoping the short rains [September-December] will come but I am exploring alternatives to maize, together with other farmers and we want to plant cassava when the rains come."

Like Karanja, hundreds of farmers in the area, which lies in the new district of Njoro, have been hit hard by drought. Across the province - considered the country's grain basket - agricultural officials are reporting significant crop failure.

The larger Nakuru area, comprising Njoro, Nakuru North, Naivasha, Molo, Rongai and Olengurone districts, are hardest-hit.

"Overall, we expect at least 95 percent maize crop fai lure across the larger Nakuru areas; only areas such as Weseges in Nakuru North may see some maize harvests," said Stephen Muriithi, the Nakuru district agricultural officer.

Karanja said the situation was so bad they could not even cut the stunted maize plants to feed cows as the animals died after eating the rotten roots.

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3 Responses to *****2009/10 World Wheat Production*****

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the stream of info. It keeps me merrily adding to my positions even as prices seem to be intent on continuing to fall…
    Dollar-cost averaging (well, GBP, actually) into the LSE ETC's (WEAT, CORN, SOYB). I just hope they track better than those US nat gas and oil ETF's! ;-)

  2. Robert says:

    The USDA has gone rogue:

    US Agriculture Department Handing Out $0 Down, 100% Financed Mortgage

    Can't take this agency seriously anymore.

  3. Nogger says:

    Eric, old chum, crop estimates from July and August simply aren't still valid. SOFT wheat production in France, Spain etc ISN'T all-wheat production and ENGLISH wheat production ISN'T UK wheat production. Oh, and as far as India is concerned you are comparing NEXT season with LAST season. The USDA's figure of 80.6 MMT is for the crop that was harvested six months ago in March/April 2009.

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