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CWB forecasts below-average wheat crop

A below-average wheat and durum harvest is forecasted for 2008 by the Canadian Wheat Board. Currently, wheat, durum and barley crops are one to two weeks behind normal due to cold weather.

June 13, 2008  By

June 12, 2008

Recent rain alone won't
offset two to three years of dry conditions across much of the Prairies, which
will be partly responsible for a below-average wheat and durum harvest in 2008,
the Canadian Wheat Board forecast Thursday.

The board's preliminary
crop forecasts project a 2008 Prairie wheat and durum crop of 21.2 million
tonnes, up from 18.4 million in 2007 but below the five-year average of 22.1


Wheat, durum and barley
crops are currently one to two weeks behind normal due to cold weather so far
this spring, with temperatures 3° to 5°C below normal.

"A continuation of
cool weather could lead to delayed development and increased risk of frost
damage this fall," said Bruce Burnett, the CWB's director of weather and market
analysis, in the board's release Thursday.

Durum production is
expected to increase to 4.8 million tonnes from 3.7 million in 2007, while
barley production is predicted to slip to 9.9 million tonnes from 10.3 million.

Beyond Canada's borders, production problems in
U.S. corn belt are expected to result in
a "significant decline" in corn production this year, the CWB
forecast. Above-average yields are being reported from the
U.S. hard winter wheat harvest,
currently underway in
Oklahoma and Texas. Globally, a record world wheat
crop of 663 million tonnes is predicted.

"The global price
structure for wheat is expected to remain strong in the face of record
production, given the high demand from increasing consumption and the record
low stocks related to previous years' production problems around the
world," Burnett said.

Weather in Europe has improved over last year, with
record wheat production expected, while dryness is causing problems for North
African durum prospects, the board said. Production prospects in the
Middle East and Turkey have also dimmed somewhat due to
hot, dry weather.

The visuals from Burnett's presentation Thursday are available through
the CWB website.



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