EU wheat crop comes through winter in 'promising' condition


The European Commission forecast wheat yields to rise sharply from last year, as winter-winter sown crops reach spring with only minimal frost damage.

"In general, prospects for the new season are promising," the European Commission said.

"Winter crops are generally in good shape, despite extremely cold conditions in large parts of central and eastern Europe during January and the first half of February."

"Western Europe has seen exceptionally mild temperatures in late February and early March," the Commision added.

"Frost events were sparser than usual. "

Moisture in France improves

In France, the EU's top wheat grower, recent rains are improving soil moisture for the spring growth season, after a dry winter.

Cumulative rainfall since the beginning of December is well below average in all regions of France.

Substantial ranfall has been recorded since the beginning of February, and particularly since the beginning of march, which is starting to fill in the deficit.

Winter crops were not affected during the dry period, the commission said.

But the bureau warned that "a rain shortage is still prominent in central and southern Germany".

No worries in Russia, but 'slightly negative' in Ukraine

In Russia, wheat came through the winter with only "minor losses," the Commission said.

But it warned that the crop in Ukraine had seen "slightly negative conditions".

"Weather conditions in the coming weeks will determine the outlook for winter cereal [in Ukraine]," the Commission said.

Improving yields

The European Commission forecast soft wheat yields in the EU at 6.02 tonnes per hectare, based on long-term trends. This would be up 7.7% year-on-year, at 3.0% above the five-year average.

Wheat yields in France are forecast to rise by 35% from the very low levels of the previous season.

This forecast is in-line with one made by analysts Stratagie Grains earlier this month.

Strategie Grains saw yields of 6.0 tonnes per hectare, with the soft wheat crop at 143.9m tonnes.


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