LONDON – Global grain production may climb to a record in 2013 and wheat output may be higher than previously expected as prospects improve for crops in the United States, Russia and Europe following dry weather last year, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said Thursday.
The world’s farmers may harvest 1.27 billion metric tons of coarse grain including corn, barley and oats, up 9.3 percent from the 1.16 billion tons produced a year earlier, the Rome- based FAO said in a report on its website, providing its first estimates for the next harvest. Corn output may be 960 million tons, up 10 percent. The coarse grain harvest will be 28 percent larger in the U.S, the top grower that last year had its worst drought since the 1930s.
“The big increases will be in places where last year there were big problems,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the FAO in Rome. “We’re expecting good crops, but we should still watch the weather. In terms of price prospects, good crops could translate to somewhat downward pressure on prices.”
Corn prices, which touched a record in August, are down 9.6 percent in 2013 on prospects for a rebound in supplies. U.S. planting is progressing at the slowest pace since 1984, as last year’s drought was followed by too much rain in the Midwest this spring.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update its domestic forecast and provide its first estimates for world grain crops Friday.