World wheat production will be the third largest on record in 2010/11, according to the latest forecast from the International Grains Council.

It put the total wheat crop at 658m tonnes – 2m tonnes below last month’s estimate and 17m tonnes down on last year. However, 2009/10 closing stocks remain unchanged at an eight-year high of 197m tonnes, so wheat availability remains ample.

Maize plantings are estimated at a record 156m tonnes, following expected area expansions for America, Canada, Russia, South America and China. This puts production at a new record of 812m tonnes – 12m tonnes up on last year and the fourth record crop in five years.

Assuming average yields, the IGC forecast world grains production to be 1.76bn tonnes – 12m tonnes below last year. “With increased opening stocks, global grains supplies in 2010/11 are forecast to rise to 2.16bn tonnes,” said the report.

Meanwhile, a strengthening dollar is aiding old crop exports, having reached a 10-month high against the euro. “EU wheat has been substituting US grain, with French wheat now reported to be the cheapest quality wheat,” said the HGCA’s latest market report.

“UK wheat has also benefited, with reports of a 50,000t shipment bound for the Philippines.”