WASHINGTON — In its most recent appraisal of the global wheat outlook, the US Department of Agriculture indicated more wheat was produced and will be consumed and exported in 2020-21 than in 2019-20. At the same time, 2020-21 world wheat endings were forecast lower than in January but still at a record high level.

In its Feb. 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, the USDA estimated global wheat beginning stocks for 2020-21 at 300.1 million tonnes, up 10,000 tonnes from the January projection and up 16.94 million tonnes, or 6%, from 283.16 million tonnes in 2019-20. 

World wheat production in 2020-21 was projected at a record 773.44 million tonnes, up 800,000 tonnes, or 0.1%, from January, and up 9.51 million tonnes, or 1.2%, from 763.93 million tonnes in 2019-20. The USDA in comments accompanying the report said a higher production estimate for Kazakhstan more than offset reduced production estimates for Pakistan and Argentina.

Global wheat imports in 2020-21 were forecast at 189.48 million tonnes, 200,000 tonnes above January’s projection and up 4.22 million tonnes, or 2%, from 185.26 million tonnes in 2019-20. Global exports were projected at 194.84 million tonnes, up 1.06 million tonnes from the January outlook and up 3.38 million tonnes, or 2%, from 191.46 million tonnes in 2020.

World domestic feed use of wheat in 2020-21 was seen at 147.78 million tonnes, up 5.4 million tonnes, or 4%, from the January forecast and up 8.83 million tonnes, or 6%, from 138.95 million tonnes in 2019-20. Total wheat domestic use for the world in 2020-21 was projected at a record 769.32 million tonnes, up 9.78 million tonnes, or 1%, from January and up 22.34 million tonnes, or 3%, from 746.98 million tonnes in 2019-20. The USDA said it raised consumption projections mostly on higher feed and residual use for China and increased food, seed and industrial use for India.

“China’s 2020-21 feed and residual use is raised to a record 30 million tonnes, surpassing the previous 2012-13 record of 26 million tonnes,” the USDA said. “China’s domestic corn prices continue to be at a premium to wheat, encouraging greater wheat feed use.  Additionally, increased auction volumes of old-crop stocks in China have expanded the availability of feed-quality wheat.”

India’s increased domestic use — raised 3.5 million tonnes to a record 96.5 million tonnes — was attributed to “greater disappearance than previously estimated, likely the result of the inclusion of wheat products in India’s government food assistance programs to address economic disruptions caused by COVID-19,” the USDA said.

The USDA projected 2020-21 world wheat ending stocks at a record 304.22 million tonnes, down 8.97 million tonnes from January because of the higher domestic use forecast but up 4.12 million tonnes from 300.1 million tonnes in 2019-20, the current record.