EU crop down 5m tonnes

The bad weather, with drought in the east and excessive rain at harvest in the west, has cut the EU crop from 262m tonnes to 257m tonnes, says French agricultural consultancy Strategie Grains.

The French wheat harvest has been completed, despite some chaotic weather. ONIGC, the French national office for main crops, says average quality is satisfactory, but estimates wheat output at 32.5m tonnes, almost 1m tonnes down on the year.

The German harvest is all but complete. The wheat crop is forecast at 19.6m-20m tonnes, down from 22.3m tonnes in 2006 and the lowest since 2004. Quality, particularly specific weight, is significantly down on 2006 in the rain-hit north, an area key to German exports.

Harvest in Denmark is 80% complete, again interrupted by rain. Most winter barley, rapeseed and rye is in the barn with quality as normal. Some 75% of spring barley and winter wheat has been harvested. Wheat yields are 10% below average, but quality is satisfactory.

The Spanish and Polish crops are significantly better than last year. Cereal production is up 27% to 22.72m tonnes in Spain and 21% to 26.37m tonnes in Poland.

Most winter barley and rapeseed has been harvested in the UK. More than half the winter wheat is in the barn, with average yields pegged at 7.7t/ha, but very variable. Rains last week and this could have damaged quality further.

By Mike Mendelson of the HGCA