Global cereal production, utilitsation and trade are reaching record levels in 2021/2022, according to the recently published Cereal Supply and Demand Brief by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The forecast for world cereal production in 2021 has been lifted in February and now stands at 2,793 million tonnes, up by 0.8% compared to 2020 - largely due to higher wheat outputs in Argentina and Australia and bigger production estimates in Russia and Ukraine.

Coarse grain production in 2021 has been cut by 0.2% due to lower sorghum production estimates in Burkina Faso, Niger and the United States of America (US). 

Maize production estimates partly offset these reductions with the US registering its second largest crop on record in 2021 and higher estimates in the EU and Ukraine.

Global rice production forecast for last year is now at 517.1 million tonnes, up 0.7% from the 2020 record, however 1.3 million tonnes lower than anticipated in December. This primarily reflects a less thriving official production assessment for China and reductions for Nigeria and Nepal.

Cereal utilisation

At 2,805 million tonnes, world cereal utilisation in 2021/22 is forecast to increase by 1.6% from its 2020/21 level. This is despite a downward revision of 4.5 million tonnes due to weaker feed use of wheat in the US and Argentina.

Global wheat utilisation for 2021/22 stands at 776 million tonnes and coarse grains utilisation is forecast to rise by 1.3% year-on-year at 1,501 million tonnes, despite lower maize and sorghum feed use estimates.

Non-food use prospects for Asia have raised the forecast of global rice utilization by 0.8 million tonnes since December to 520 million tonnes.

Cereal stocks

World cereal stocks have been lifted to 824 million tonnes since Decemeber. The global cereal stocks-to-use ratio in 2021/22 is projected at 28.7%, slightly lower than last year's level (29.4%). 

Up 2.8 million tonnes, global wheat inventories are now forecast at 288 million tonnes. Stocks among major wheat exporters particularly Russia and the US, however remain tight.

Nearly unchanged since December, coarse grain stocks are forecast to fall by 0.4% which reflects a decline in global barley inventories. World rice stocks remain forecast at 188 million tonnes while a 2.7% rise in maize inventories is expected underpinned by higher stocks in the US and China.

Global trade

The forecast for world trade in cereals in 2021/22 stands at a record of 481 million tonnes, up 1.0 million tonnes from December.

At 193 million tonnes, global wheat trade is expected to rise by 2.0% from 2020/21, driven by stronger import demand from the near east and record wheat export forecasts for Argentina, Australia and Ukraine.

Wheat trade and a higher volume of rice - anticipated to reach 53 million tonnes this year - more than offset a 1.5% contraction anticipated for coarse grains reaching 235 million tonnes.

Making up the bulk of the decline in coarse grains, global maize trade is expected to fall in 2021/22, mostly reflecting a weaker demand from China.