Severe weather hurts EU crops
Jun. 24, 2010
The dry weather which beset crops in countries such as France appears to have been more damaging than the worst floods for a century further east, industry leaders believe, cutting their forecast for Europes grain.
The European Union now looked on track to produce 283.7m tonnes of grain this year, 3.7m tonnes less than previously expected, according to Coceral, an industry group whose members include merchants and farmer groups from across Europe.
While the group did not expand on its revision, which leaves the EU on track to harvest 10m tonnes less grain than in 2009, the change was nearly all accounted for by the west of the region, which suffered dry weather for much of the spring.
Hopes for France - the EUs biggest producer, whose northern areas were particularly badly affected - were sliced by 1.6m tonnes to 66.4m tonnes, with hopes for second-ranked Germany cut by 640,000 tonnes.
In the east, estimates for the harvest in Poland, where 20 people died in floods, were cut by 520,000 tonnes.
However, this was more than offset by better hopes for crops in nearby countries such as Romania, where rainfall did not reach such deleterious levels.
Overall hopes for grain crops in eastern European countries were marginally better than in March, when Coceral made its initial forecasts.
Barley and wheat suffer
By crop, hopes for barley and wheat were cut most, by around 1.3m tonnes apiece. The barley harvest, at 55.3m tonnes, will come in 10.9% below last years, Coceral believes.
Besides suffering some weather damage, barley has lost out in farmers affections thanks to especially low prices and the loss of intervention support next season, which allows growers to sell grain to Brussels at preset prices.
Among oilseeds, the forecast for the rapeseed crop was trimmed by 69,000 tonnes to 20.7m tonnes.
However, the decline was partly offset by better hopes for sunflowers and soybeans, leaving Cocerals estimate for the total EU oilseeds crop only 23,000 tonnes lower at 28.3m tonnes.
Separately, Toepfer International estimated Germanys wheat crop of all types at 25.3m-25.8m tonnes, a modest improvement on last years harvest, and on the Coceral estimate.
"The sometimes substantial rainfall since early May has replenished ground water reserves and so has raised the prospects for the grain and rapeseed harvest," Toepfer, Germanys largest grain trading house, said.
However, Germanys total grains crop was set to fall to 46.5m-47.5m tonnes, from nearly 50m tonnes in 2009, held back by lower corn and rye harvests.
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