Drought takes its toll on US maize

Wheat harvest in the US is 85% complete, but maize crops remain under pressure from the recent drought.

Just 24% of the maize crop was in good to excellent condition, according to the latest US Department of Agriculture report – two points down on the week.

Spring wheat harvest was 28% through, with 63% of the crop in good to excellent condition.

Wheat and barley crops were likely to be larger than last year in western Canada, while soft wheat production in France was pegged at 37m tonnes – an 8% increase on last year’s drought affected crop, said Jonathan Lane, trading manager at Gleadell Agriculture.

But in a boost to international markets, Russian officials downgraded their estimate of grain production from 80-85m tonnes to 75m tonnes, with an exportable surplus of 10-12m tonnes.

“Further downward revisions can not be ruled out,” said a report by analyst Agritel.

“Ukrainian authorities maintain their production estimates at 45m tonnes. Wheat and barley harvests will soon reach an end, and 23m tonnes of grain have already been harvested.”

Oilseed rape harvest was well underway across Europe, with the best reports coming from France, where 80% of the crop had been cut, said Gleadell’s Willie Wright.

“The French have raised their rapeseed crop estimates to 5.4m tonnes. There are also good reports coming from Germany (5m tonnes) but, unfortunately, not the UK.

“Rapeseed is competitively priced compared to other oilseeds, and will benefit from renewed demand at these levels.”

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For all harvest news go to our Harvest Highlights 2012 page.

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