World wheat production will hit a record high this season, thanks to recoveries in European Union and Ukraine crops from spring setbacks, and to "generous rainfall" in Kazakhstan.
The US Department of Agriculture, in its much-watched monthly Wasde crop report, lifted by 7.6m tonnes to an all-time high of 705.4m tonnes its forecast for the global wheat harvest in 2013-14.
The revision reflected in part a small upgrade, of 500,000 tonnes, to the wheat harvest in Canada, "as favourable soil moisture and a lack of heat stress across the western Prairies support higher yield prospects".
However, the USDA made the biggest upgrade, of 2.8m tonnes, to the European Union harvest, the world's biggest, taking it to 141.4m tonnes, the bloc's third-best result on record.
The USDA said: "Favourable July weather promoted yield potential and reduced growth delays that were incurred earlier in the season," when coldness hampered early development.
In May and June, above-average rainfall "aided grainfill", while last month "above-average temperatures and mostly dry conditions accelerated crop development and bolstered yield".
The biggest upgrade by EU country was for Spain, for which production was lifted by 800,000 tonnes to 7.7m tonnes after a "favourably wet growing season", with forecasts for France and German, the bloc's top two producers, also raised.
In the UK, "although yield improved during July, the estimated crop of 11.9m tonnes remains the lowest since 2001", and 150,000 tonnes higher than previously expected.
The Kazakh crop was upgraded by 2.5m tonnes to 17.0m tonnes, representing a 73% rebound year on year, thanks to amongst the best rains in post-Soviet times in the April-to-July period.
"Conditions in the key production region were favourable as the wheat crop advanced through the critical flowering stage in mid- to late July," the USDA said.
The estimate for Ukraine's harvest was lifted by 2.0m tonnes to 21.5m tonnes, after "the timely arrival for beneficial rain" in June fostered a recovery in a crop tested by dryness in May.
"The harvest began in late June, about two weeks earlier than usual, and reports indicate above-average yields in most regions."
Consumption upgraded too
The USDA also hiked, by 3.0m tonnes to 29.0m tonnes, its forecast for the Ukraine corn harvest, reflecting "generally favourable" conditions, including "adequate" rain and moderate temperatures.
The estimate for Argentina's wheat harvest was cut by 1.0m tonnes.
The USDA raised its forecast for world stocks at the close of 2013-14 by a relatively modest 610,000 tonnes, to 173.0m tonnes, despite the huge increase in the world harvest estimate.
The USDA also raised its estimate for world wheat consumption by 6.9m tonnes, "with increases in wheat feeding projected for a number of countries and higher food use expected for India and Iran".
The forecast for Chinese wheat imports was raised again, this time by 1.0m tonnes to 9.5m tonnes, the highest in 18 years.