World wheat production could see a "significant increase" in
2013 assuming the benign weather blessing sowings of winter crop in many major
production areas continues, the United Nations said.
The UN's Food Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization,
acknowledged some pockets of concern over residual drought in some northern
hemisphere areas currently in their autumn sowing periods.
In the south east of the European Union, "hot, dry weather has
reduced soil moisture, and significant rainfall will be needed to replenish normal
levels for establishment" of winter crops in countries such as Hungary and
Romania, the FAO said.
In Russia, "soil moisture levels still remain low in some
key growing southern areas," whose drought this year has been a major factor in
curtailing exports from a country which typically provides a source of ample
Indeed, the weak exportable surplus of wheat in the former
Soviet Union has "strengthened domestic prices of main staple wheat flour in
importing countries", contributing to a gain in world food prices last month.
However, overall Russian sowings of winter wheat, which
accounts for some two-thirds of the country's wheat production, are "progressing
well under generally satisfactory weather conditions", the FAO said, flagging
forecast of winter grains area remaining stable at about 16.8m hectares.
In neighbouring Ukraine, "planting got off to an early
start, favoured by beneficial rains during [late] August in the majority of
grain-producing regions", the exception being some "key" southern areas, where soil
moisture levels remain low.
Selected IGC wheat area estimates for 2013-14, on harvested area basis
European Union: 25.8m hectares, (+2%)
Russia: 25.5m hectares, (+4.1%)
US: 20.3m hectares, (+2.5%)
World total: 223.2m hectares, (+2.0%)
Winter grain sowings are expected at an "average" level of 8.1m
In the US, the arrival of "much-needed" rains last month had
improved soil conditions, the FAO said, flagging US Department of Agriculture
data showing only a small lag in planting progress behind typical levels.
And in the European Union, the world's biggest wheat
producer, planting conditions "are generally favourable".
The decent conditions boded well for sowings at a time when
elevated prices were giving growers a firm incentive to plant wheat, the FAO
"Wheat remains an attractive option for producers. Thus, weather
permitting, [world] plantings are expected to at least match those of last
"This alone could result in a significant increase in next year's
global wheat output, assuming growing conditions return to normal in areas
affected by drought in 2012, and satisfactory growing conditions in the other
key producing countries.
"Very early indications for wheat crops in 2013 are encouraging," after a 2012 harvest which the organisation pegged at 663m tonnes, a 5.2% drop year on year.
The comments follow a forecast last week by the
International Grains Council that wheat harvested area for next season's harvests
would increase by 2.0% to 223.2m hectares.
"Winter wheat planting for 2013-14 is well underway in the
northern hemisphere, and farmers are expected to increase sowings, driven by
both firm prices and a recovery from the adverse weather conditions the previous
year, notably in the former Soviet Union," the council said.
Indeed, the IGC forecast a rise in sowings in Russia and Ukraine,
as well as in Argentina, where plantings for 2012-13 fell to a multi-decade low
as farmers switched to barley, for which the country's export restrictions are not
as severe, so opening up the potential for better returns.
Separately, Agritel on Thursday flagged improved sowing conditions
in France, the EU's top wheat producer, after an unfavourably dry period during
the seeding window for rapeseed, which is planted earlier.
"The current rains in the northern part of France are warmly
welcomed, with the beginning of winter wheat seeding," the Paris-based
"These rains will partially offset the lack of rainfall
observed for rapeseed sowing."
In Russia, farm operator Ros Agro said on Wednesday it had
completed sowing nearly 100,000 hectares of winter wheat.