By Claire Hutchins, U.S. Wheat Associates Market Analyst
As the 2020 wheat harvest nears its end in the Northern Hemisphere, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) surveyed industry sources to assess the global harvest situation.
United States. The 2020 U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW) harvests are officially complete and preparations for the 2021 crop are now underway. The Pacific Northwest (PNW) soft white (SW) harvest made strong progress last week on favorable field conditions. Farmers in Washington have harvested 95% of the expected SW crop. Idaho’s SW crop is 99% harvested and Oregon’s SW harvest is now complete.
Warmer weather next week is expected to push spring wheat harvest nearly to its end across the Northern Plains.
USDA forecasts U.S. wheat production in 2020/21 will total 50.0 million metric tons (MMT), down 4 percent from last year on reduced planted area and lower average yields. Total U.S. wheat exports are expected to reach 26.5 MMT, up 1 percent from last year and 5 percent more than the 5-year average, if realized.
Canada. Canada is set to reach its second-highest level of wheat production in more than a century.
“The projected increase in wheat area is largely attributable to the durum wheat and winter wheat area remaining after winterkill, which offset the decrease in spring wheat area,” said Statistics Canada (Statscan) on Aug. 31.
USDA expects total Canadian wheat production will reach 36.0 MMT, up 11 percent from last year and 16 percent more than the 5-year average. Total wheat harvested area at 9.9 million hectares (24.5 million acres), is up 2 percent from last year and 5 percent more than the 5-year average.
In Saskatchewan, Canada’s largest wheat producing province, as of Sept. 8, official data showed 32 percent of spring wheat in the bin, the durum harvest at 62 percent complete and winter wheat at 99 percent harvested.
In Alberta, the second-largest wheat producing province in Canada, as of Sept. 8, spring wheat is 13 percent harvested, durum is 58 percent complete and winter wheat is 92 percent harvested. Recent frosts have been reported, but it is too early to determine if there was any crop damage as a result, said Alberta’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
This year, USDA forecasts total Canadian wheat exports will reach 25.0 MMT, the highest in more than 10 years.
Russia. According the Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Russian farmers have harvested 78.8 MMT of wheat as of Sept. 9, 24% more than this time last year. The average yield is up slightly this year at 48.0 bu/acre (3.23 MT/ha). Increased harvested area is expected to augment increased average yields. USDA predicts Russian wheat harvested area will jump 4 percent from last year to 28.3 million hectares (69.9 million acres), 6 percent more than the 5-year average. SovEcon, a Russian agriculture consultancy, increased the country’s wheat production forecast from 82.6 MMT last month to 83.3 MMT on Sept. 10.
USDA’s estimate for Russian wheat output differs from SovEcon’s report. USDA did not change its forecast of 78.0 MMT in 2020, unchanged from the August forecast, but 6 percent more than last year, if realized. USDA forecasts Russian wheat exports in 2020/21 will reach 37.5 MMT, up 9 percent from last year and 14 percent more than the 5-year average.
Ukraine’s 2020 wheat harvest ended on Sept. 7. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture reported final production at 26.9 MMT, in line with USDA’s estimate, and down 7 percent on the year as continued dryness through the growing season challenged average yields. A 3 percent decrease in harvested area from last year, at 6.80 million hectares (16.8 million acres), pressured overall production. USDA predicts total Ukrainian wheat exports will total 18.0 MMT in 2019/20, down 14 percent from last year’s record, but in line with the 5-year average, if realized.
European Union (EU). According to Stratégie Grains (SG), a European agriculture consultancy, estimated soft (non-durum) wheat production in the EU (including the United Kingdom) decreased by more than 2.0 MMT between July and August to 128 MMT.
“With the harvest ending in France and poor results in southeastern Europe, new reductions to growing areas in France and Germany accentuated the forecasted decline. Soft wheat production has therefore fallen by almost 20.0 MMT, or 13 percent, from last year,” said SG.
Poor planting conditions in the fall of 2019 followed by an extremely warm, dry growing season challenged soft wheat production in the EU’s two largest producing countries, France and Germany. According to USDA, total EU wheat harvested area is expected to fall 5 percent from last year to 24.7 million hectares (61.0 million acres), down 6 percent from the 5-year average, if realized. The total wheat average yield is expected to drop 7 percent from last year to 82.0 bu/acre (5.51 MT/hectare), down 3 percent from the 5-year average.
SG estimates that total EU durum production will fall slightly below last year to 7.30 MMT. USDA predicts total EU wheat production, including soft wheat and durum, will fall to 136 MMT, 12 percent less than last year, 9 percent below the 5-year average and the lowest output since 2012/13.
European Commission (EC) data shows that, so far in marketing year 2020/21, the EU and the United Kingdom have exported 3.60 MMT of wheat to all non-EU destinations. That is 41 percent behind their export pace this time last year. USDA forecasts the EU will export just 25.5 MMT of wheat this marketing year, 34 percent less than last year and 13 percent less than the 5-year average.
USW will continue to monitor global conditions as farmers in the Northern Hemisphere start the 2021 winter wheat planting campaign.