The China National Grain and Oils Information Center (CNGOIC) on Friday forecast that China’s combined output of major grains will slip for the first time in six years in 2009.

China’s production of wheat, corn and soybeans is projected to fall, while rapeseed production is seen rising and rice production is seen about unchanged.

The government-run think tank projected China’s wheat output would fall by 1.3% this year to 111 million metric tons (mmt), despite a slight rise in planting acreage, due to the effects of the drought that gripped major winter wheat producing areas earlier this year.

The CNGOIC also forecast China’s corn production would dip 1.5% to 163 mmt despite slightly higher plantings, but did not give a reason for the drop in output.

Soybean output is likely to fall 3.2% to 15 mmt on a 3.7% decline in acreage, while rapeseed output may rise 10.2% to 13 mmt on increased acreage, the CNGOIC said.

The report, the center's first forecast of 2009 crop acreage and output, was based on a survey of farmers' planting intentions in some provinces and assumed weather will generally be normal, it said.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.