wall bulletin
Executive summary

Authors: USchulthess,xieyan,zenghongwei | Edit: tianfuyou

Executive summary

The current CropWatch bulletin describes world-wide crop condition and food production as appraised by data up to the end of April 2024. It is prepared by an international team coordinated by the Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The assessment is based mainly on remotely sensed data. It covers prevailing agri-climatic conditions, including extreme factors, at different spatial scales, starting with global patterns in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 focuses on agroclimatic and agronomic conditions in major production zones in all continents. Chapter 3 covers the major agricultural countries that, together, make up at least 80% of production and exports (the "core countries"), while Chapter 4 zooms into China. Special attention is paid to the production outlook of main crop producing and exporting countries where major cereal and oil crops (maize, rice, wheat and soybean) are harvested this year or currently still in the field. Subsequent sections of Chapter 5 describe the global disasters that occurred from January to April 2024.

Agroclimatic conditions

The January–April global surface temperature ranked warmest in the 175-year record. It was at 1.34°C above the 20th-century average of 12.6°C. Global warming is increasingly becoming a driver of heat waves, droughts, and floods. Ocean-atmosphere oscillations are an additional driver of extreme weather anomalies. Their effects can get exacerbated by warmer temperatures. El Niño is one of these oscillations. It is forecasted to end in the coming months. It brought drought conditions to southern Africa, where rainfall stopped in mid-January, at the peak of what was supposed to be the rainy season. In Southeast Asia and Western Africa, the rainy season did not start on time, and hardly any rainfall has been observed so far this year in those two regions. The extreme drought conditions continued in the Maghreb. In Brazil, the Cerrado observed a rainfall deficit exceeding 30%. However, precipitation levels are generally high in that region. El Niño also caused extreme floods in Rio Grande do Sul, causing damage to rice fields that had not yet been harvested and to infrastructure.

Global crop production situation

The global CPI for the second quarter (January-April) of 2024 is 1.01, which is close to the average level of the same period in the past five years, indicating that the global agricultural production situation was generally normal.


In Argentina, conditions were more favorable than a year ago. The maize growing season benefited from abundant rainfall and favorable temperatures. With a 4.5% increase in the national maize planting area and a 7.0% increase in average yield, maize production has rebounded to 55.585 million tonnes, an increase by 11.9%. In Brazil, the rainfall showed a decreasing trend from the south to the north: the southern region experienced abundant rainfall while the central and northern regions suffered from drought. The drought has caused a further reduction of 1.2% in the first maize production in central and southern Brazil for the 2022-2023 season, amounting to only 21.9 million tonnes. The second maize crop faced reduced planting areas due to drought during the planting period, but increased rainfall in the main producing regions since February has led to higher yields than last year. The total national maize production is estimated at 100.74 million tonnes with a slight increase of 0.1%. Apart from Angola, which experienced close to average rainfall, production in southern Africa was hit by severe drought conditions. Especially Zambia was affected by crop failures. Soil moisture conditions for maize planting and establishment have been mostly favorable in North America and Europe. Global maize production is estimated to increase by 0.5% to 1.05 billion tonnes.


Affected by the El Niño, the dry season rice growing period in Southeast Asia in 2024 was dominated by dry and hot weather, leading to poor overall production. Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam saw slight decreases in both dry season rice planting area and yield, resulting in a decrease in production ranging from 1.3 to 6.6%. However, production in Indonesia increased by 3.1% and India increased its production by 1.7 million tonnes (+1%). Global rice production is estimated to stay close to last year’s levels, at 755 million tonnes  (+0.05%).

Wheat: China, as the largest wheat producer, saw an increase in both planting area and yield, resulting in a wheat production of 137.55 million tonnes, an increase of 2.1%. Conditions for wheat production were also rather favorable in India (100.16 million tonnes) and Pakistan 25.35 million tonnes, resulting in an increase by 1.9% and 1.2% respectively. Production in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East benefitted from better rainfall than a year ago. It increased in Turkiye (+6.5%), Iran (+6.6%) and Syria (+21.8%). However, the severe drought conditions persisted in the Maghreb and Morocco saw a decrease in production by 32%. Production in Europe, Russia and North America is expected to increase due to favorable rainfall and temperature conditions. The global wheat production is favorable, but the war in Ukraine is expected to keep the global wheat supply tight. The global wheat production for the 2023-2024 season is projected to be 750 million tonnes, an increase of 9.61 million tonnes or 1.3%.


In South America, the two dominant exporters Brazil and Argentina, have a combined soybean production of 153 million tonnes, an increase of 4.72 million tonnes or 3.2%. Although Brazil and Argentina are neighboring countries, the agroclimatic conditions and soybean production in the two countries are significantly different. In Brazil, soybeans suffered from a delayed onset of the rainy season,  leading to a decrease in both the soybean planting area and yield by 2.0% and 1.6% respectively, with the total production expected to be 102.85 million tonnes, a decrease of 3.76 million tonnes or 3.5%. In Argentina, the soybean growing period experienced good rainfall, resulting in favorable agroclimatic conditions for crop growth and development. Compared to the severe drought of the 2022-2023 season, the average soybean yield significantly increased by 4.4%, and remote sensing monitoring showed that the soybean planting area increased by 11.4%. The soybean production is expected to reach 50.49 million tonnes, an increase of 8.48 million tonnes or 20.2%.