U.S. rice supplies in 2009-2010 are 3 million cwt lower than last month, as estimated production is lowered 4 million cwt and imports raised 1 million cwt, says a U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) Report.

U.S. rice production in 2009-2010 is projected at 220 million cwt, nearly 2 percent less than last month, but 8 percent more than 2008-2009. Area harvested is unchanged at 3.16 million acres. However, average rice yield is projected at 6,955 pounds per acre, down 127 pounds per acre or about 2 percent from last month’s report.

Projected yield in June is based on trend yields by rice class for the period 1990 to 2008, adjusted downward for late planting and slow development in the Delta region caused by heavy rains and excessively wet field conditions in May.

Imports for 2009-2010 are projected at 22 million cwt, 1 million cwt more than last month and 2 million cwt more than the revised 2008-2009 figure. Total rice use for 2009-2010 is unchanged from last month, with domestic use and residual and exports all unchanged. However, the rough rice export projection is lowered 2 million cwt and entirely offset by an increase in the combined milled- and brown-export forecast. Ending stocks for 2009-2010 are projected at 36.2 million cwt, 8 percent less than one month ago, but 56 percent more than in 2008-2009.

U.S. imports in 2008-2009 are raised 1 million cwt, all in long-grain rice, due to the larger-than-expected pace of imports, principally from Thailand. Although the domestic and residual projection for 2008-2009 is unchanged at 135 million cwt, rice by class projections are changed, with long-grain rice domestic use raised 1 million cwt and combined medium- and short-grain rice lowered by an equal amount. Exports for 2008-2009 are projected at 94 million cwt, up 1 million cwt, all in combined medium- and short-grain rice. Ending stocks for 2008-2009 are unchanged at 23.2 million cwt.

The rice season-average price projections for 2009-2010 are unchanged. However, changes are made in 2008-2009 by class rice price projections, with the price range for long-grain rice lowered 5 cents per cwt on each end to $14.55 to $15.05 per cwt; and the range for combined medium- and short-grain rice raised 20 cents per cwt on each end to $21.10 to $21.60 per cwt. The 2008-2009 all rice price estimate is unchanged from a month ago at $15.75 to $16.25 per cwt.

Projected global 2009-2010 rice supply and use are nearly unchanged from a month ago. Global production is raised about 400,000 tons, primarily because of an increase for the EU-27 and Brazil, that is partially offset by reductions for the United States, Iraq and Taiwan. The change in Brazil is based largely on an increase in the 2008-2009 rice crop. The 2009-2010 Brazil crop will not be harvested until March to May 2010. Ending stocks for 2009-2010 are projected at 95 million tons, 300,000 more than last month, and 5.1 million tons, or about 6 percent, more than 2008-2009.