EU wheat output to revive, a bit, in 2017 - in line with future trend

29.11.2016

European Union soft wheat production will recover, a bit, in 2017-18 - a trend which is expected to continue until 2030 despite weaker crop planting prospects for the region, Strategie Grains told Agrimoney.com's AgriRisk Forum.

Andree Defois, the Strategie Grains president, pegged the soft wheat harvest in the bloc, the world's top producer of the grain, at 152.9m tonnes next season.

That would represent a recovery of 8.0m tonnes from this year's harvest, which was depressed by persistent rains in particular in France, the EU's top wheat-growing country.

However, it would remain below the record harvest of 159.4m tonnes produced in 2015, and indeed the 156.6m tonnes recorded for 2014 too.

'Margins are very bad'

The forecast reflects an expectation of farmers keeping soft wheat sowings steady in 2017-18 at 24.3m hectares, avoiding the decline expected for durum, the hard wheat used in making pasta.

"Prices of durum wheat mean margins are very bad," Ms Defois told the forum, in London.

Sowings of oilseeds, by contrast, will see a small rise for the 2017-18 harvest, of 240,000 hectares to 12.2m hectares, with the declining popularity of rapeseed in the UK – where analysts foresee area dropping to the lowest in more than a decade – something of an anomaly.

While UK farmers have blamed an EU clampdown on neonicotinoid insecticides for cutting rapeseed acreages, Ms Defois said British growers were "more concerned" about these restrictions than many other countries – in part because of "big differences" in how the curbs were being interpreted by different national governments.

Other commentators have attributed the UK's disillusion with rapeseed to relatively warm winters, which encourage higher populations of pests such as cabbage stem flea beetle.


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