Today, we got the USDA’s first projections for the 2018/19 crop. In addition to giving grain markets an idea of what production numbers are going to be around the world, they also gave us a look at the demand side.
For durum, the USDA doesn’t actually provide a projection until later in the growing season but, given the focus being around production, we took our own stab at the production.
This year, the USDA is estimating that American farmers will plant 2 million acres of durum. This is 13% down year over year. Historically speaking, 95.9% of the planted acres of durum gets harvested, which means that this year, it can be postulated that American farmers will combine about 1.9 million acres of durum.
Using the average yield of the last 5 years of 39.4 bushels/acre, it can be forecasted that the American farmer will produce 2.1 million tonnes of durum.
Compared to last year’s production 1.5 million tonnes, this would mean that this year’s American durum harvest will be 32.1% higher.
Something worth thinking about is how last year’s lower yield have pulled down the five-year average. That being said, the total production number could be even higher if we get even more normalized yields.
Regardless, it looks like North American durum supplies will get a bit more heavy in 2018/19. But, again, everything depends on the weather from now during the planting season this spring until harvest in the fall. Therefore, the weather is a wildcard to watch going forward.