Poor weather delays harvest completion for Europe’s farmers

Despite poor weather conditions, the cereal harvest is drawing to a close across much of Europe.

Given the increased planted area prompted by high prices last autumn, a large crop is expected.

However, the wet August has delayed harvest in many regions and caused quality concerns, particularly over wheat protein levels.

With Ukraine expecting a large feed wheat crop, the 2008/09 export campaign could be tight for milling wheat, but highly competitive for feed wheat.

In France and Germany, rains are delaying the final stages of harvest. ONIGC will publish its latest estimates of French production on 9 September.

The German harvest is virtually complete, and the ministry sees grain production up 22.8%, with wheat up 24% to 25.7m tonnes.

In Denmark rain continues to slow winter wheat and spring barley harvest, which are about 75% complete.

Wheat yields and quality have generally been good, but barley has been below average.

After a 3% increase in plantings, Slovakia expects a total grain crop of 2.9m tonnes, 35% above last year.

Wheat is 0.4m tonnes higher at 1.8m tonnes and barley is up 0.25m tonnes to 0.9m tonnes.

Ukraine has reportedly harvested 26.8m tonnes of wheat and 13.4m tonnes of barley, with the harvest about 90% complete.

This compares with a total grain harvest of 29.3m tonnes last year. However, quality problems suggest Ukraine will have substantially more feed wheat this season, and less milling wheat.

Russia’s grain crop is forecast to reach 95m tonnes, of which 57m tonnes is expected to be wheat. But it is not clear at this stage how much of this wheat will reach milling quality.

Analyst SovEcon estimates Russian wheat exports for 2008/09 could reach 16m tonnes, compared with 12.2m tonnes last year.

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