WASHINGTON — Forecasts for the outlook for U.S. and world wheat supply and demand in 2018-19 commanded the market’s attention this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its initial wheat forecasts for 2018-19 at the department’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington on Feb. 23. Earlier in the week, the International Grains Council provided its preliminary projections for 2018-19 world wheat supply and demand, and on Feb. 16, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (A.A.F.C.) issued its initial 2018-19 forecasts for Canadian wheat.
Despite estimating winter wheat plantings for harvest in 2018 at a 109-year low of 32.6 million acres in January, the U.S.D.A. preliminarily forecast area planted to all-wheat for harvest this year at 46.5 million acres, up a half-million acres from 2017 and compared with 50.1 million acres in 2016. The increase in plantings forecast for 2018 was due to an expected increase in spring wheat planting.
The U.S.D.A. projected harvested area of wheat in 2018 at 38.8 million acres, up 1.2 million acres from 2017. Average yield in 2018 was forecast at 47.4 bus per acre, up from 46.3 bus per acre in 2017 but below a record 52.7 bus per acre in 2016. Wheat production in 2018 was projected at 1,839 million bus, up 6% from 1,741 million bus in 2017.
U.S. wheat supply in 2018-19 was projected at 2,983 million bus, down 3% from a forecast 3,076 million bus in 2017-18 and roughly comparable to the 2015-16 supply at 2,927 million bus. Wheat disappearance in 2018-19 was projected at 2,052 million bus, down 15 million from the forecast for 2017-18.
The U.S.D.A. projected the carryover of wheat on June 1, 2019, at 931 million bus, down 8% from 1,009 million bus as the forecast for the current year.
A.A.F.C. forecast area planted to all-wheat in Canada for harvest this year at 9,510,000 hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres), up 4% from 9,126,000 hectares in 2017. Harvested area was projected at 9,310,000 hectares, up 4% from 8,983,000 acres in 2017. A.A.F.C. projected average yield at 3.22 tonnes per hectare, signifying a return to trend yields compared with 3.34 tonnes per hectare in 2017. Canadian wheat production in 2018 was forecast at 30,000,000 tonnes, up only 16,000 tonnes from 2017.
A.A.F.C. projected planted area of wheat excluding durum (winter wheat and spring wheat) in 2018 at 7,300,000 hectares, up 4% from 7,020,000 hectares in 2017. Harvested area was projected at 7,140,000 hectares, up 4% from 6,895,000 hectares. Average yield was forecast at 3.4 tonnes per hectare compared with 3.63 tonnes in 2017. Production of wheat excluding durum in 2018 was projected at 24,300,000 tonnes, down 3% from 25,022,000 tonnes in 2017.
A.A.F.C. projected Canadian all-wheat ending stocks in 2018-19 at 6,000,000 tonnes, down 300,000 tonnes from the forecast for the current year.
In its preliminary outlook for 2018-19, the I.G.C. forecast world wheat harvested area at 217.9 million hectares, down 0.7% from 2017-18, world wheat production at around 741 million tonnes, down 2%, world wheat consumption at a record 746 million tonnes, up 1.6%, and world trade in wheat at a record 179 million tonnes. The I.G.C. projected world wheat ending stocks in 2018-19 at 250 million tonnes, the first decline in six years but still the second highest on record.