China’s wheat may face being downgraded to feed quality and output could drop to a five-year low after persistent rain damaged crops in the world’s top producer and consumer, according to analysts.
Higher-than-normal rainfall in April and May soaked crops in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei, analysts at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. and Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd. said. Heavy rain last month also damaged crops being harvested in parts of Henan, the country’s top wheat grower, the analysts said.
“Yields this year may be the worst in many years, as well as quality,” said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst with Beijing Orient. Heavy rains in March and April, coupled with higher-than-normal temperatures, also caused widespread disease in Jiangsu and Anhui, the country’s soft-wheat growing region, he said.
China’s winter wheat harvest, which accounts for more than 90 percent of total output, is set to finish this month. About 10 million metric tons could be downgraded to feed use and output in the 2016-17 season may fall to a five-year low of 107 million tons, said Shi Wei, an analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence. China harvested a total of 130 million tons of wheat last year, up 3.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The strong El Nino weather event, which ended last month, caused more frequent rainfall in spring, including 16 rounds of heavy rains in April and May, Zhou Bing, an official at China’s National Climate Center said at a press conference earlier this month. China’s agriculture ministry said this month that it was expecting a bumper wheat harvest, without giving a production forecast.