USDA Outlook: U.S. wheat supplies projected to fall 9% year-over-year to 2.98 billion bushels in 2011/2012, unchanged from previous estimate; wheat output to fall 9% to 1.99 billion bushels

WASHINGTON , March 13, 2012 (press release) – The following article is excerpted from the March Wheat Outlook published by the Economic Research Service of the USDA.

2011/12 Supplies

Domestic Situation and Outlook

Total projected supplies for 2011/12, at 2,982 million bushels, are unchanged from February. Supplies for 2011/12 are 297 million bushels below 2010/11. Lower beginning stocks and production were only slightly offset by higher expected imports year to year.

Projected supplies of hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS), and durum are down year to year, mostly because of reduced production. HRW production is down from last year because of reduced harvested area and lower yields. Year to year, the planted area for the 2011 HRW crop is slightly smaller than 2010, but the rate of abandonment is up sharply and yields are down from the previous year due to the severe drought on the Central and Southern Plains. HRS and durum production are down from a year ago with lower planted and harvested areas and lower yields. Excessive moisture and cool temperatures on the Northern Plains resulted in late seeding and prevented plantings. The 2011 HRS crop was reduced by a greater percentage from 2010 than the HRW crop. The result is a substantial premium of HRS over HRW and a substitution of HRW for HRS in some flour blends.
Projected supplies of soft red winter (SRW) and white are up from 2010/11, mostly because of larger production. SRW production is up from last year because of larger harvested area and higher yields. The 2011 crop area recovered from 2010, when a rain-delayed row-crop harvest and low prices reduced SRW seedings in the fall of 2009. Due to excellent weather conditions through much of the season, production was up significantly from the previous year, with production in many of the SRW States up more than 100 percent from 2010. White wheat production was up due to both higher area and yield.

All-wheat 2011 production is estimated at 1,999 million bushels, unchanged from February, but down 208 million bushels from 2010. All-wheat harvested area is estimated at 45.7 million acres, unchanged from December and down 1.9 million acres from last year. The U.S. all-wheat estimated yield is 43.7 bushels per acre for 2011, unchanged from December, but down 2.6 bushels from the record high of 46.3 bushels in 2010.

Estimated 2011/12 carryin stocks, in total and by class, are unchanged from February. Projected 2011/12 carryin stocks of HRS and SRW are down sharply year to year. The carryin stocks for the other classes are nearly unchanged.

2011/12 Use

Domestic use of wheat for 2011/12 is projected at 1,157 million bushels, down 5 million bushels from February because of lower food use, but 29 million bushels higher than last year. Food use for 2011/12 is projected at 930 million bushels, down 5 million bushels from February based on the recently released flour production report by the North American Millers’ Association (see section below for per capita flour use for calendar year 2011). Projected food use for 2011/12 is up 4 million bushels from 2010/11. Projected seed use is unchanged from February. Feed and residual use is projected at 145 million bushels, also unchanged from February. Projected feed and residual use for 2011/12 is 13 million bushels above feed and residual use for 2010/11.

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