By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports on global wheat supply and demand to its farmer directors at each of their board meetings. The directors meet in Washington, D.C., the week of Feb. 11 and the report will include the following update on marketing year 2018/19 wheat production, with one exception: the latest U.S. supply and demand data will be added after USDA issues catch-up reports on Feb. 8.
Canada. In its January “Principle Field Crops” report, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) tallied total 2018/19 Canadian wheat production at 31.8 million metric tons (MMT) (1.20 billion bushels), up 6 percent year over year. AAFC estimated the average yield for all wheat was 3.22 MT/ha (47.9 bu/acre). That is down 4 percent from 2017/18 though significantly offset by a 10 percent increase in harvested area to 9.90 million hectares (24.5 million acres). Production of all wheat excluding durum increased 4 percent from 2017/18 levels to 26.0 MMT due to increased harvested area, despite slightly lower yields in 2018/19.
Increased planted area helped push durum production up by 16 percent to 5.70 MMT, while quality decreased slightly. The Canadian Grains Commission (CGC) reported 85 percent of the Canadian Western Amber Durum (CWAD) samples tested graded No. 1 or No. 2 CWAD, compared to 91 percent in 2017/18. For Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS), CGC reported 56 percent of samples were No. 1 CWRS, compared to 78 percent in 2017/18. The percentage of samples tested as feed grade increased to 11 percent compared to last year’s 4 percent.
AAFC expects 2018/19 Canadian total wheat exports (including durum) to reach 22.9 MMT, up 5 percent from last year if realized.
European Union. Stratégie Grains (SG) forecasted total European Union (EU) wheat production at 136 MMT, down 11 percent year over year due to adverse weather conditions and decreased harvested area. Total EU harvested wheat area fell 2 percent year over year and total average yields for the region fell 9 percent. Common (non-durum) wheat production fell 10 percent from 2017/18 levels to 127 MMT due to significant weather challenges in Germany, France, and the Baltic countries.
Durum production fell 7 percent to 8.60 MMT in 2018/19, however this year’s total still sits slightly above the 5-year average of 8.50 MMT. SG noted that Italian durum yields were their lowest since 2010 at 3.09 MT/ ha (46.0 bu/acre), and the situation was exacerbated by a low-protein harvest that failed to match the excellent quality recorded in 2017. French durum yields were also the lowest they have been since 2011, not counting the disastrous harvest recorded in 2016.
SG expects total EU wheat exports to fall to 19.2 MMT, down 18 percent year over year, if realized due to increased animal feed consumption, following poor quality harvest years in Spain and France, and decreased overall supplies.
Australia. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) forecasted 2018/19 wheat production at 17.0 MMT, its lowest volume since 2007/08 due to extreme drought in New South Wales and Queensland. Wheat exports will decrease sharply year over year due to lower production and increased demand for domestic feed supplies. Domestic demand for feed wheat, due to forage pressure on livestock herds, is expected to increase 20 percent year over year to 5.0 MMT. ABARES estimates total Australian wheat exports will fall 31 percent below 2017/18 levels and 40 percent below the 5-year average, down to 10.6 MMT.
Argentina. Bolsa de Cereales, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, reported a record Argentinian harvest of 19.0 MMT, despite concerns in late December 2018 that yield and quality could suffer from hard rains and hail storms. Final average yields are right in line with the 5-year average at 3.10 MT/ha (46.2 bu/acre) but fall below last year’s 3.20 MT/ha (47.7 bu/acre). Total production is up 10 percent from 2017/18 with increased planted and harvested area, which offset lower yields. Planted area increased 9 percent year over year to 6.0 million hectares (14.8 million acres). USDA expects 2018/19 Argentina wheat exports to total 14.2 MMT, 15 percent above last year’s export volume and 40 percent above the 5-year average, if realized.
Black Sea. SG estimated Russian wheat production at 72.0 MMT, down 18 percent from last year’s 85.0 MMT due to decreased harvested area and notably lower yields across the board. Russia’s harvested area dropped by 5 percent year over year to 26.3 million hectares (65.0 million acres) and average yields decreased by 12 percent to 2.73 MT/ha (40.6 bu/acre). Most significant yield losses were reported in Russia’s southeastern Volga region, which fell 33 percent below last year’s figures. Though Russian production fell significantly below 2017/18 levels, this year’s 72.0 MMT still lands 3 percent higher than the 5-year average of 70.0 MMT. The Russian Ministry of Agriculture readjusted its 2018/19 total wheat export estimates to 36.0 MMT, a 12 percent drop from 2017/18 export levels, if realized. As of late January 2019, IKAR reported total Russian exports at 26.2 MMT, or 73 percent of the country’s total expected export volume. SG estimates that the influence of Russia’s decreased production and exports will bolster global wheat prices until the start of MY 2019/20.
The State Statistics Service of Ukraine (SSSU) estimated the 2018/19 wheat harvest at 24.6 MMT, right in line with the 5-year average, but down 8 percent from last year’s record harvest due to decreased yields which offset increased harvested area. SG reports Ukraine’s 2018/19 average yield at 3.72 MT/ha (55.3 bu/acre), 7 percent below last year’s record of 4.16 MT/ ha (61.9 bu/acre). Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture tallied total wheat exports, as of late January 2019, at 11.2 MMT. Last year, the Ukrainian government issued a memorandum establishing a 2018/19 export ceiling at 16.0 MMT, its lowest export volume since 2014/15, if realized.
SG estimated Kazakh wheat production at 14.3 MMT, down slightly from last year due to decreased harvested area. However, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry estimated the country will export a record 9.0 MMT in 2018/19, 1.20 MMT more than left the country last year. If realized, this year’s total Black Sea exports from all three countries will amount to 61.0 MMT, down 12 percent from last year, but still 11 percent above the 5-year average.