German Farmers’ Association cuts forecast for 2018 grain yields


The German Farmers’ Association on Wednesday cut its forecast for wheat production for the year, saying the yield would likely reach its lowest point in at least 15 years as crops suffered from a drought caused by unusually hot weather.

The DBV said it expected the winter wheat harvest to fall to about 18m tons in 2018, compared to 24.1m tons last year, and cut expectations for all German grains to 36m tons from its last estimate of 41m tons. In 2003, after a heatwave devastated crops, Germany’s wheat harvest fell to 19.6m tons.

The DBV’s president, Joachim Rukwied, urged the German government to take action to help support farmers, many of whom he said needed “quick support.” The group has already called for €1bn in financial assistance from federal and state authorities, having previously downgraded its forecast for the wheat harvest to 20m tons.

Across Europe as a whole, wheat production is expected to fall below 130m tons for the first time in six years, according to Strategie Grains, cereal market analysts.

Even in northern parts of Germany, said the DBV, harvests of grain and rapeseed had been particularly bad. The yields demonstrated the “catastrophic extent of drought damage,” it said, with yields for the year so far “below our already low expectations.”

The revised estimate comes at a time when a large portion of wheat crops — Germany’s most important type of grain — have been harvested. The DBV said it now estimated the average yield for the crop to be about 20 per cent below 2017’s level of 7.7 ton per hectare.

Rye yields are also expected to be about 28 per cent below last year’s level. The average yield per hectare has fallen 35 per cent over the past five years, the DBV said.


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