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World Enjoys Record Grain Harvests

February 13, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The world is bulging with record harvests of major crops, including food grains and oilseeds, says a new report by the Agriculture Department.

If 1984-85 crops in the Southern Hemisphere turn out as indicated currently, global production records could be set for wheat, coarse grains, rice, oilseeds and cotton.

The latest analysis was issued Tuesday by the department’s Foreign Agricultural Service. As usual, the United States is a key factor in world crop totals. Conditions in other countries, however, have a direct bearing on future U.S. exports and prices received by American farmers.

Wheat production in 1984-85 was estimated at a record 513.5 million metric tons, up 5 percent from last season. The U.S. crop, which was harvested last summer, was put at 70.6 million metric tons, up from 65.9 million in 1983-84.

A metric ton, the international standard, is about 2,205 pounds and is equal to 36.7 bushels of wheat or soybeans, or 39.4 bushels of corn.

Australia’s wheat crop was estimated at 18.5 million tons, down 16 percent from last seaon’s record. In Argentina, the harvest was put at 12.7 million tons, 3 percent more than last year.

Wheat production in the European Community, notably in France, was indicated at a record 76 million tons.

The Soviet Union’s wheat crop, by comparison, was reported at 75 million tons, and China’s at 85.5 million tons.

Looking at coarse grains, which include corn, sorghum, oats and barley, the report said 1984-85 production may be a record 796.9 million tons, 15 percent more than last year. The U.S. harvest, reflecting a return to bumper corn yields last fall, was 237 million tons, up from 137.1 million tons in 1983-84. Corn made up 194.3 million tons of the total U.S. coarse grains.

South Africa’s coarse grains, mainly corn, were forecast at 7.3 million tons in 1984-85, depending on good weather the next few weeks. Although down from earlier predictions, the new crop would still represent a 41 percent increase from last season’s drought-shrunken yield.

Australian coarse grain production was estimated at 8.7 million tons, down 6 percent from last year’s record harvest.

The Soviet Union’s coarse grain output was shown at 84 million tons, and China’s at 97.5 million tons.

World production of oilseeds, which include soybeans, cottonseed, sunflower seed, flaxseed, peanuts and rapeseed, was forecast at a record 184.9 million tons in 1984-85, up 11 percent from last year.

Soybeans accounted for 89.5 million tons of the total, with U.S. production shown at 50.6 million tons, up 14 percent from last year. Argentina’s crop, at 6.4 million tons, is down 3 percent.

Cottonseed, at a record 33 million tons, increased 8 percent from 1983-84. Sunflower seed was estimated at 16.7 million tons, also up 8 percent, and peanut output, at 19.6 million tons, was up 4 percent.

World rice production for 1984-85 was estimated at a record 313.8 million tons, milled basis, up 2 percent from last season. China is the largest producer with 123.2 million tons, followed by India with 58.5 million tons. U.S. rice output was 4.4 million tons.

The world cotton crop was estimated at a record 81.8 million bales, 21 percent more than a year ago. The U.S. harvest was 13.3 million bales, compared with the Soviet Union’s 11.7 million bales and China’s 26 million.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Agriculture Secretary John R. Block says a new ″farm credit coordinating group″ is looking at ways to better coordinate federal efforts in communities where local banks have failed.

Formation of the group was announced last week as part of an administration package to improve federal credit service to farmers. The group’s first meeting was held Tuesday in Block’s office.

One task will be to work out procedures with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. so that agency’s work can be put in step with Agriculture Department efforts in place where lending institutions have gone broke.

The group includes William M. Isaac, chairman of the FCIC; C. Todd Conover, comptroller of the currency; Thomas J. Healy, assistant secretary of the Treasury for domestic finance; Donald E. Wilkinson, governor of the Farm Credit Administration; and Frank W. Naylor, USDA undersecretary for small community and rural development.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The ″icy grip of winter continued its clutch over nearly all″ of the country last week, putting livestock under stress and nipping at some winter wheat fields in the South, says the government’s Joint Agricultural Weather Facility.

Winter wheat in the northern half of the nation remained dormant and, for the most part, was protected by snow cover, the facility said Tuesday in a weekly review.

Generally, wheat conditions were rated ″mostly fair to good″ during the week of Feb. 4-10, although the crop in the southern states ″showed the ill effect of the bitter cold.″

In most areas, livestock required supplemental feeding because of the cold and snow cover, the report said. The suppy of hay and roughage was said to be adequate, but ″a few areas experienced shortages.″

The facility is operated jointly by the departments of Commerce and Agriculture.

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