Milling & Baking News - April 6, 2004 - (Page 1)

Theinewsweeklyiofigrain-basedifoods APRIL 6, 2004 / U.S. wheat seeded area forecast at 59.5 million acres, down from '03 N E W S F E AT U R E Time For A Change WASHINGTON - All wheat seeded for harvest in 2004 was projected at 59,462,000 acres, down 4% from 61,700,000 acres in 2003, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual prospective plantings report released March 31. Most of the decline in wheat acreage was attributed to increased area for soybeans. The U.S.D.A. projected soybean area up 3%, or more than 2 million acres, from last year. Corn area was up only slightly from 2003. The 2004 projections for all wheat and classes were all below average pre-report estimates from private analysts. Despite lower-than-expected U.S.D.A. numbers, wheat futures opened lower following the report in sympathy with sharply lower soybean futures. Winter wheat seedings were down 3%, while intentions for spring were down 4% and durum down 5%, the U.S.D.A. said. Winter wheat acreage declined because of dry conditions during seeding last fall, while spring and durum lost acreage to corn and especially soybeans. Winter wheat seedings were pegged at 43,372,000 acres, down 1,573,000 acres from 44,945,000 acres in 2003 and down 92,000 acres from the January winter wheat seedings estimate of 43,464,000. Of the total, about 30,900,000 acres were hard red winter, 8,300,000 soft red winter and 4,200,000 white winter, the U.S.D.A. said. "Moisture shortages remain a concern in the Plains states, especially Kansas and Colorado, where winter wheat condition declined during the winter," the U.S.D.A. said in comments accompanying the report. "The largest acreage declines are in Continued on Page 9 Facing too much capacity, Kraft closing two baking plants Interstate discontinues dividend payment; credit ratings lowered NORTHFIELD, ILL. - Kraft Foods Inc., two months into a $1.2-billion restructuring process, said March 26 it will close company bakeries in Niles, Ill., and Buena Park, Calif., by December. Company officials, citing a glut of bakery capacity throughout the Kraft system, said they will shift production from each plant to other company bakeries. "After a careful review of our bakery manufacturing network, we determined that we have excess capacity and more facilities than we need to make our core cookie and cracker products," said Brian Beglin, Kraft's vice-president of manufacturing for its U.S. Continued on Page 11 KANSAS CITY - Interstate Bakeries Corp. has suspended the dividend it pays on the company's common stock. "The decision was made as a result of the company's cash flow shortfall due to a recent reduction in bread sales," Interstate Bakeries said. "The sales reduction is industry wide and not LATE Story on Page 23 limited to the company." Savings from the dividend elimination will help accelerate the company's Program SOAR initiatives of cost reduction and new product development, I.B.C. said. The company said it would continue to Continued on Page 12 NEWS Value in enriched and whole grains inside WASHINGTON - The "nutrition community's" sentiment that enriched and fortified grains "are expendable" if consumers increase whole grains consumption is a "risky assumption," according to representatives of leading grainbased foods groups. A letter advocating the benefits of Continued on Page 8 THIS WEEK Low-carb impact on grocers reviewed 14 Ingredient Trans fat labeling rules detailed NAMA organizes wheat caucus 20 Week 29 31

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Milling & Baking News - April 6, 2004