Drought Starting To Cut European Wheat Yields

Concern is growing that dryness is now damaging wheat in the European Union’s top producers France, Germany and Britain but late rain could still save the crops, analysts said on Tuesday.

Some yield damage may have occurred in top EU wheat producer France, where harvest forecasts are being scaled back. In No. 2 producer Germany, a bumper crop is no longer expected but late rain could still change the picture, analysts said.

The month-long drought in France will cut wheat output by at least five per cent, the scientific director of France’s grains institute Arvalis told Reuters.

“We know we won’t get last year’s yields,” said Philippe Gate. “There will be a negative impact on the country’s volume of the crop.”

But Gate stressed that wheat in France, which harvested 35.7 million tonnes last year, has greatly differing development between regions.

In the EU’s second-largest wheat producer Germany, crop yields may be cut after only 38 per cent of average monthly rain fell in April. But rain forecast for this week could bring last-minute relief, analysts said.

Wheat in central and southern Germany is generally doing well but some northern and eastern areas have not had significant rain since early April.

Widespread rain is forecast for Germany on Wednesday followed by more isolated showers up to Saturday night.

“We have now lost the chance of top wheat yields as plants have suffered damage,” a German analyst said.

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