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China Wheat Production Forecast to Reach Record High

China Wheat Production Forecast to Reach Record High
Source: USDA

China's wheat production is projected to reach a record high in the 2023/24 marketing year, bolstered by favorable weather conditions and improved yields, according to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA forecasts China's wheat output to reach 140 million metric tons (MMT), a 2.3 MMT increase from the previous year and 3.9% above the five-year average. This record production is attributed to a slight increase in planted area and a projected record-high yield.

"The USDA forecasts China’s marketing year (MY) 2023/24 wheat production at a record 140.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 2.3 mmt or approximately 1.7 percent from last year, and up approximately 3.9 percent from the 5-year average of 134.8 mmt," the report states.

Favorable weather conditions throughout the growing season have played a key role in boosting production prospects. Soil moisture levels were generally adequate during planting and the critical grain-filling stages, while favorable harvesting weather is anticipated.

"Overall, the winter wheat season’s soil moisture conditions during planting were characterized as wet-to-normal across the major growing regions including Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Anhui, and Jiangsu provinces," the report notes.

Additionally, farmers have been incentivized to maintain or slightly expand wheat acreage due to strong economic returns, despite rising input costs. The Ministry of Agriculture reported an 18% increase in input costs (seed, pesticide, and fertilizer) per hectare in Henan province, which accounts for a quarter of China's wheat production, in the 2022/23 marketing year.

Early season satellite imagery analysis and assessment of key crop stages indicated favorable production prospects. Subsequent assessments have confirmed significant improvement during critical productivity stages, such as heading, flowering, and grain filling.

"In general, the overall assessment indicated a near‑average area planted and expectations of above‑average yields reflecting the season’s favorable conditions as well as adequate availability of agricultural inputs, supplemental irrigation water, fertilizers, pesticides, and high-quality seeds," the USDA report concludes.

The robust wheat harvest is expected to enhance China's food security and potentially influence global wheat markets, as the country is a major wheat producer and consumer.