VARIABLE WEATHER has had a dramatic impact on this season’s production across Europe, reports Michael Mendelsohn from the Home Grown Cereals Authority.

Drought in Iberia reduced production by as much as 60%, while heavy rain in northern Europe affected quality.

Spain and Portugal were severely affected by drought. Total wheat production in Spain is expected to be around 2.5m tonnes (4.3m tonnes in 2004), while in Portugal production is only 60,000-90,000t (0.3m tonnes last year).

In Germany wheat quality is uncertain and variable by region after heavy rain. But, Strategie Grains expects there to be sufficient milling wheat to meet internal demand.

German growers are reportedly looking to the Commission to relax intervention quality requirements as high feed stocks put downward pressure on prices.

The French wheat harvest was also delayed by rain, with Strategie Grains reporting yields 10-20% lower than last year. So far quality reports have been mixed, with low specific weight but Hagberg’s above 220.

In Hungary, the grain harvest is now complete, with total production of around 15m tonnes, according to the farm ministry. This is below last year’s 16.7m tonnes.

The factors likely to influence prices over the coming season and threats and opportunities from the Single Farm Payment will be key topics at this year’s HGCA Market Outlook conference.

The conference will be held on Wednesday 5 October at the Mermaid Conference Centre in London. To book a place, or for more information, see www.hgca.com