Combines have been busy in Denmark and have made a good start in Finland as the EU harvest pushes northwards in to Scandinavia.

Danish winter barley is producing above-average yields, a contrast to 2008 when the country was one of the few member states that suffered dry conditions, which hit both output and quality.

Half the spring barley has been cut but yields are more variable. Overall, the findings suggest reasonable availabilities of Danish malting barley, a key competitor with UK exports. While this will lead to increased pressure, it will not make a big difference – barley was already in plentiful supply across the EU.

In Finland, Strategie Grains sees a good end to crop development and has raised its yield estimates. The first cuts of wheat and barley were well under way by 14 August. The Finnish oat crop is also seen higher than previously thought at 1.19m tonnes, but there is little indication of quality.

Further south, the French wheat harvest is coming to an end and quality is encouraging, with protein levels at about 14%. The focus is now switching to maize. The crop has suffered some heat stress and harvest is not far away.

In Germany, average yield estimates stand at 8.16t/ha, compared with 7.90t/ha previously and only just under the 2004 record of 8.18t/ha. Quality appears mixed, and high quality wheat is likely to be in tighter supply. However, more standard quality bread wheat is expected.

In the Ukraine, harvesting of grains, apart from maize, is nearing completion, with 98% combined by mid-August. Maize production is forecast at 10m tonnes, down from 2008’s 11.4m tonnes. Prolonged periods of hot and dry weather have reduced yield potential. Nearly all oilseed rape crops have been cut, producing 1.82m tonnes – and average yields of 1.82t/ha.

With the expected fall in Ukrainian maize production and reports of drought-affected maize crops in France and Eastern Europe, availabilities of EU non-GM feedgrain supplies could be tight for the coming season.