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Oat prices, basis Chicago futures, traversed a narrow range beginning in the second half of 1998 and continuing throughout 1999. The sideways pattern generally traded in a range bounded by $1.00 per bushel on the downside and $1.20 per bushel on the upside. Within both the U.S. and the worldwide feed grain complex oat production is the smallest of all crops. The U.S. 1999/2000 crop (June to May) of a record low 148 million bushels compares with 166 million in 1998/99. The U.S. harvested oat acreage in 1999/00 of 2.5 million acres is the smallest on record. In the 1980’s acreage averaged about 12 million acres. Average yield, however, has increased over the years, averaging 63 bushels per acre for the 1999 crop vs. 62 bushels in 1998. The Dakotas are generally the largest producing states with Wisconsin and Minnesota close by. Imports, primarily from Canada, help compliment U.S. supplies and are forecast at 100 million bushels in 1999/00 vs. 108 million in 1998/99. U.S. oat 1999/00 carry-in stocks, as of June 1, 1999, of 81 million bushels compare with 74 million a year earlier. The total supply for 1999/00 of 329 million bushels compares with 348 million in 1998/99. Disappearance was estimated at 263 million bushels vs. 266 million, respectively. Feed and residual use was forecast at 165 million bushels in 1999/00 vs. 170 million in 1998/99; feed/seed/industrial use was placed at 96 million, about unchanged from 1998/99. U.S. oat exports of about 2 million bushels are insignificant. Carryover stocks on May 31, 2000 are forecast at a near record low 66 million bushels. The average farm price for 1999/00 was forecast at $1.00-1.10 per bushel vs. $1.10 in 1998/99 and $1.96 in 1996/97, the highest farm price of the 1990’s. World oats production in the mid 1980’s totaled about 50 million metric tonnes, for 1999/00 the total was less than 25 million as less acreage continues to be allocated to oats. In 1999/00 world acreage of 14.2 million hectares compares with 15.4 million in 1998/99 with an average yield 1.74 tons per hectare vs. 1.67, respectively. Russia is one of the largest producers, but their 1999/00 crop of 4.5 million tonnes compares with 9.4 million in 1997/98. Russian oat production is now only a fraction of what it was in the mid-1980’s. Among the few major producers only Canada, the world’s largest producer, has shown any real growth in production during the 1990’s; a record high 5.9 million tonnes were produced in 1998/99 and 5.3 million in 1999/00. Most of the world’s oat production is consumed domestically and world trade is small. In 1999/00 exports were put at 2.2 million tonnes vs. 2.0 million in 1998/99 with Canada accounting for 1.3 million and 1.1 million, respectively. Importing nations are more numerous, but the U.S. is the consistent leader with a 1.75 million tonne forecast for 1999/00 vs. 1.6 million in 1998/99. Futures Markets Oat futures and options are traded on the Chicago Board of trade (CBOT) and the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange (WCE). Oats futures are traded on the Mid-America Commodity Exchange (MidAm).

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Excerpted from the CRB Commodity Yearbook.