EU wheat crop shows mixed results as harvest progresses

Reuters – This year’s soft wheat harvest in the European Union is expected to be sharply lower than last year due to adverse weather.

“Wheat crops in large exporting countries at the two extremes of the bloc, northwest and southeast, have suffered a lot due to bad weather conditions this year,” Vincent Braak, analyst with consultancy Strategie Grains, said.

The consultancy now expects this year’s soft wheat harvest in the EU and Britain to hit below 130 million tonnes. Projections for France, Romania and Bulgaria dropped by three million tonnes overall, which was not compensated by a rise of 1.5-million to two-million tonnes for Poland, Germany and the Baltic States, he said.

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The EU produced 147 million tonnes of soft wheat in 2019.

Some optimism emerged with the French harvest in full swing in the last week of July, thanks to dry conditions.

“Yield expectations (in France) are still below the five-year average, due to the difficult start of the season and contrasted conditions, but the end of the season has been particularly beneficial,” EU crop monitor MARS said in a recent report.

Strategie Grains still estimates French soft wheat harvest will fall below 30 million tonnes against nearly 40 million last year, Braak said citing hampered sowings and a reduction in its area estimate.

This echoed Agritel’s forecast on Monday of a French soft wheat harvest at 29.22 million tonnes.

In Germany, the EU’s second-largest wheat producer, wheat harvest is starting in early southern regions with a better outlook.

Germany’s 2020 wheat harvest is expected to fall 2.6 per cent on the year to 22.46 million tonnes, farm co-operatives estimate.

In Poland, the outlook has also improved, although repeated rain has created a need for drier weather, said Wojtek Sabaranski of analysts Sparks Polska.

Sparks Polska increased its wheat crop forecast to 11.6 million tonnes, up four per cent from last year.

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