French wheat exceeds expectations

The French wheat harvest is more than 70% complete, and yields have been better than expected, according to analyst Agritel.

These better yields led the French Ministry of Agriculture to increase its forecast for the wheat crop to 32.5m tonnes yesterday (4 August), up from 32m tonnes last month but still below last year’s output of 35.7m tonnes. 

Quality had held up well, and harvest progress should reach 80% by the end of this week.

The Ministry expected barley production to reach 8.8m tonnes, up from its last forecast of 8.4m tonnes, with oilseed rape up by 500,000t to 5m tonnes – now larger than the 2010 crop.

British rapeseed yields were also excellent, leading Gleadell Agriculture to increase its crop estimate to a record 2.6m tonnes.

“This gives the UK an approximate 600,000t exportable surplus but, with Europe as a whole in a deficit situation, this should provide UK farming with an excellent opportunity,” said trading manager Jonathan Lane.

“However, in the short term, the bumper UK yields and the better than expected crops on the continent have combined to put severe pressure on the harvest market.”

Across the Atlantic, markets remained jittery awaiting the results of recent rain and lower temperatures on the American corn crop.

“It appears as if the whole world grain complex is stacked on top of the outcome of this year’s US corn crop,” said Gleadell’s managing director David Sheppard.

“If the corn crop is better than expected, or US wheat yields are understated, the whole market could be undermined.

“Conversely, if the corn crop is poorer than expected the market would rally again as US traders are very prone to trading their own back yard and forgetting the wider world picture as importers choose cheaper origins.

“Meanwhile, the Russians are hoovering up all tenders and US/EU wheat is too expensive to anywhere but very traditional or captive markets.”

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