Lower wheat crops in the Southern Hemisphere

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Daniel Bezte has a special interest in farm weather, which he follows from a small farm near Winnipeg, where he has his own computerized weather station. He has been a regular contributor to other farm publications including the Farmers’ Independent Weekly and the Manitoba Co-operator. Daniel has a degree in geography, specializing in climatology, from the University of Winnipeg.

He welcomes questions and comments at [email protected]Argentina wheat output will drop 31 per cent from a year ago to 11 million tonnes in 2008/09, a U. S. Agriculture Department attaché in Buenos Aires said in a report Dec. 8.

“A reduced harvested area and expected lower yields are the cause of this significant drop in production from the previous year,” the attaché said.

A lack of moisture and farmers’ uncertainties about domestic prices caused the area of harvested land to fall to an estimated 4.3 million hectares (10.6 million acres), down from 5.68 million hectares in 2007/08, the report said.

Wheat yields are forecast at 2.56 tonnes per hectare, down from 2.82 tonnes per hectare a year earlier, due to dry conditions and very hot weather in November.

Declines in production are expected to lead to a 42 per cent drop in exports during the marketing year to 5.8 million tonnes from 10 million tonnes in 2007/08, the report said.

Australia’s 2008/09 wheat crop is forecast at 19.969 million tonnes, the government said Dec. 9, marginally up from an October forecast of 19.907 million tonnes.

The government’s Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) said the forecast was well down from earlier forecasts due to a lack of rain in South Australia and parts of the eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Early ABARE estimates had put the 2008/09 wheat crop at 25.95 million tonnes, close to a record crop of 26.1 million tonnes in 2003/04 and well up on last season’s drought affected 13.0 million tonnes.

ABARE said in its December crop report Australia’s overall winter crop, including barley and canola, was now estimated to be about 31 million tonnes, a 36 per cent increase from 2007/08.

Barley production was estimated at around 6.4 million tonnes, around 440,000 tonnes above the 2007/08 harvest. Canola production was estimated at 1.3 million tonnes in 2008-09, about 260,000 tonnes higher than in 2007/08.

ABARE said the total area planted to summer crops such as sorghum and cotton would be the same as last year with more land planted with cotton but less with sorghum.

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