Published in Milling
Cereal production in 2012 slightly lower but strong growth expected in 2013

The FAO estimate for world cereal production in 2012 has been cut since April, by nearly 4 million tonnes, to about 2 306 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms), falling 2% short of the previous year’s record. This month’s downward revision reflects adjustments to wheat and rice while coarse grains remained virtually unchanged. 

Turning to the new 2013 season, latest indications keep pointing to a strong growth in world cereal production. FAO’s current forecast of global wheat  production in 2013 stands at 695 million tonnes, 5.4% up from last year’s harvest and just some 6 million tonnes short of the historical high in 2011. Much of the increase is expected to be concentrated in the EU and CIS countries, driven by increased plantings in response to attractive prices, but also by expectation of a return to normal yields in the Russian Federation and Ukraine after drought last year. The outlook is also positive in Asia, where bumper to record crops are expected in the main producing countries. By contrast, prospects have deteriorated in the United States where drought persists on more than half of the winter wheat area and production looks likely to decrease this year. 

FAO’s first forecast for world production of coarse grains in 2013 has been set at 1 266 million tonnes, 9.3% up from last year and a new record, well above the previous high of 1 167 million tonnes achieved in 2011. Of the total, maize is expected to account for about 960 million tonnes, some 10% up from 2012. Good crops already being harvested in some Southern Hemisphere producing countries but the bulk of the increase is anticipated in the United States, the world’s largest producer, where maize plantings are forecast to reach their highest level since 1936. Recovery from drought in the major CIS producing countries should also contribute significantly to the record production of coarse grains expected this year. Still tentatively, and assuming a return to a more normal weather pattern in Asia, 

FAO foresees rice production in the forthcoming 2013 season to rise to 497.7 million tonnes, 10.2 million tonnes more than in 2012, with particularly large increases expected in India and Indonesia.  (For more details on latest 2013 production prospects please refer to the GIEWS Update – Production Prospects for 2013 Cereal Crops).

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