US winter wheat plantings lowest in more than 100 years

Winter wheat plantings for the coming year are the second-lowest ever recorded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The total planted area for harvest in 2017 is estimated at 32.4m acres, according to latest USDA figures. The lowest on record were in 1909, when it was reported that 29m acres were planted.

The US hard red winter wheat seeded area is expected to total 23.3m acres, down 12% from 2016, with the soft red winter wheat seeded area at 5.7m acres, down 6% from last year.

The total estimated 2017 plantings are 10% lower than last year and 18% down on 2015.

News of the drop in plantings followed reports of global wheat stocks reaching a record high.

Last month, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said global cereal stocks were up 1.4% from the previous season to hit a new record. Global wheat inventories in 2016/17 are estimated at a new record of 238.5 million tonnes.

Large global supplies are putting downward pressure on the European wheat market, according to commodities analyst Mintec.

Although EU milling wheat prices rose in October and November last year, due to poor weather conditions for winter crops, they eased in December and were down 1% month on month at €166/metric tonne (mt).

Meanwhile, UK milling wheat prices have risen 1% as a result of lower availability and the high quality of crop this season, bringing strong demand from the UK milling industry.

The price per tonne of Canadian milling wheat also rose 1% month on month in December following delays in seeding due to wet conditions in Saskatchewan.

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