Harvest is now under way in Europe, with combining of barley progressing, and wheat now under way or soon to begin. A large EU cereal crop is anticipated, but bad weather could still affect yield and quality results.

In France, barley harvest is complete in the south, and over 80% complete in the north, with yields reportedly good so far. Production has been lowered from the first estimates in June to 36.3m tonnes of wheat (30.8m tonnes last season), and raised for barley to 11.4m tonnes (unchanged). The rapeseed harvest has started, and wheat combining is about 50% complete in the south and is beginning in other regions.

The German winter barley harvest is over 60% complete with good, if variable, yield and quality results. Barley production is expected 1.2m tonnes above last season, and wheat up 2.5m tonnes.

Harvest generic

Farmers elsewhere in Europe are much further through barley harvest than here in the UK

The wheat, rapeseed, rye and spring barley harvests have begun in “early” regions, but have been interrupted by rain, leading to increased quality concerns, particularly for mycotoxins in wheat.

In Denmark, barley harvest is progressing, but the dry spring has significantly lowered yield forecasts. The Hungarian harvest has been interrupted by rain, with wheat cut so far showing excellent quality, and yields of 5.1t/ha.

Rains are expected to continue for the next week, and the quality could decline as a result. Dry weather in Poland has reduced cereal production estimates to 25.5m tonnes, some 1.7m tonnes below last year. The rapeseed crop is also seen lower, and is not expected to be more than 1.75m tonnes.

ADAS reports just 1% of the winter barley area had been harvested as at 16 July in the UK, with the wheat harvest expected to begin near the end of the month. With the UK expecting a wheat crop of 16-16.5m tonnes, and 5.5-6m tonnes of barley, a larger EU crop will put pressure on our exports.

UK wheat competes with French and German wheat to our main export destinations (Spain, Portugal and Italy), with UK barley competing with French, German and Scandinavian barley. Production in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Hungary could also affect inter-EU competitiveness.