Forecast eases quality concerns

With harvest nearing completion in much of eastern Europe, the focus has shifted to key producers in the west, particularly France, Germany and the UK.

Last week’s of rainfall slowed combining progress and increased concerns over quality, with MATIF milling wheat futures in France rising to record highs. However the improved weather forecast should support a good harvest pace in the next week and should also ease some of the growing quality concerns.

ONIGC, the French national office for main crops, cut its French wheat estimate to less than 34m tonnes, 1m tonnes below last month’s figure. Yields are seen at 6.9t/ha (7t/ha last season), though protein levels are still thought to be high. The barley harvest is almost complete, with yields lower, and the crop is now thought to be about 5% below last year. However, quality is reportedly good.

Germany’s wheat crop is expected to be some 20.7m tonnes, compared with last season’s 22.3m tonnes. The rain has delayed harvest, with about half the wheat cut in south and central regions. Quality is though disappointing.

Spain’s barley estimate has been increased to 11.3m tonnes, 35% above last season. Wheat production is estimated at 5m tonnes, an increase of 1m tonnes on last year. Good spring rainfall and a mild summer have supported cereal production.

In Denmark the winter barley harvest is now almost complete, with yields below normal, while rainfall has delayed the completion of the rapeseed harvest. Winter wheat and spring barley harvests have not yet begun due to rain.

Hungary’s drought-stricken wheat harvest is now complete. Overall yield is put at 3.7m tonnes, 300,000t below expectations. The maize crop is now estimated at 3-4m tonnes, about half the spring estimate. In response, the EU Commission has increased the Hungarian maize intervention tender for domestic use by almost 2m tonnes.

In the UK as at 26 July, 10-15% of winter barley and rapeseed had been cut, with variable yields. The ongoing rainfall was increasing concerns for barley and wheat crop quality, with lodging reportedly increasing. However, forecast good weather should improve harvest prospects.