Strategie Grains trims EU 2017 grain forecasts as weather takes toll

16.06.2017

Hot and dry weather in most of Europe in recent weeks prompted consultancy Strategie Grains to cut its estimates for most grain crops in the European Union, notably barley, it said on Thursday.

The reduced outlook is the latest downward revision in forecasts for this year’s harvest in European countries affected by adverse weather since early spring.

Welcome rainfall in May in many parts of western Europe allowed soft wheat yields to stabilise in France, Germany and Britain but barley yield potential struggled in Spain, Strategie Grains said in a monthly report.

It also noted that grains’ growth conditions had become drier in central and eastern Europe and in northern Italy.

“Whilst it is too early to describe a situation of drought stress at this stage, the dry conditions have certainly already taken a toll on ear cereal yield potentials,” it said.

This year’s EU soft wheat crop is now projected at 141.6 million, down 1.1 million from last month, but still four percent above a revised 136.1 million tonnes in 2016, when output was curbed by a historically poor crop in top EU grower France.

The downward revision was mainly due to lower projected yields in Spain, Germany and France, Strategie Grains said.

Lower availability would directly hit EU soft wheat exports next season, with Strategie Grains now forecasting them at 24.4 million tonnes, down 1.6 million from last month’s estimate.

For barley, Strategie Grains cut its monthly crop outlook by 1.6 million tonnes to 58 million tonnes, also due mainly to reduced yield estimates for Spain, Germany and France.

The EU barley harvest would now be three percent below last year’s 60 million tonnes.

The consultancy warned that current hot temperatures across western Europe could cause further damage to crops.

“On June 9, above average temperatures for the season were forecast for western Europe and hence there could be a risk of grain scald for the wheat and barley plants,” it said.

“Meanwhile the weather is set to remain dry in most of the main maize-growing countries and the condition of maize plants could therefore deteriorate rapidly.”

Strategie Grains cut its forecast for the 28-member bloc by 100,000 tonnes in its June report to 60 million tonnes, now unchanged from last year’s harvest.


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