IGC Sees 2009 World Wheat Acreage Declining

Wheat acreage worldwide is projected at 221 million hectares (546 million acres) in 2009, down 1.8% just from 2008, the International Grains Council (IGC) has said.

The IGC said plantings are expected to contract even though seeding activity "is making good progress" in the Northern Hemisphere this fall.

Acreage in the five leading exporting nations was projected by the IGC at 75.2 million hectares (179 million acres), down 2.6% "as farmers switch to alternative crops after this year’s large outturn."

In a breakdown of conditions and projections by regions, the IGC said wet weather in the southern Plains caused delays in the U.S., but conditions were improving for the emerging crop. Delays in the harvest of the canola crop in Canada have set back wheat planting there.

Good conditions prevailed in the European Union, but the IGC said declines in ex-farm prices may reduce wheat area.

Warm weather promoted extra winter grain growth ahead of dormancy in Russia and Eastern Europe, the IGC said. Rains encouraged emergence and growth. In Ukraine, heavy rains delayed planting, and lower prices and higher input costs were expected to reduce planted area.

China enjoyed weather conducive to planting except in northern regions, where work was delayed by wet weather, the IGC said.

Heavier planting was thought possible in India, where an increase in minimum support prices was anticipated. Pakistan, similarly, was expected ton increase plantings.