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GIEWS Country Brief: Uruguay 10-February-2011

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- Cereal output reduced in 2010 from the 2009 record

- Early outlook unfavourable for 2011 crops due to erratic and deficient rainfall

- Domestic cereals prices remain stable

Cereal output reduced in 2010 from previous year record

The 2010 winter cereals harvest, mainly wheat and barley, is almost complete. Early estimates point to reduction in output from the record 2009 levels as a result of a significant reduction in sown acreages and crop yields. The reduction in the acreage under wheat is put at 13 percent, or 70 000 hectares less than for the 2009 crop, down to 488 000 hectares. For barley, the reduction was more marked, reaching 50 percent, down to 73 500 hectares, the lowest in the past decade. The smaller area under cereal cover is due a combination of the wet weather at the time of sowing and to a shift in acreage towards the more profitable soybeans production.

The reduction in wheat yields reflects the water deficits that affected the main wheat producing departments of Soriano, Colonia, Rio Negro and Paysandú.

Provisional estimates put the total cereal crop in 2010 at about 3.5 million tonnes, 17 percent below the 2009 record, but still 13 percent above the average of the previous five years. The sharpest reduction from 2009 is for wheat (- 31 percent) while barley and paddy (harvested in early 2010) are estimated to be down by 11 percent. By contrast maize and sorghum output was 529.146 and 138.251 tonnes respectively. Maize production constitutes an historical record production.