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Strategie Grains cuts EU wheat crop forecast due to heatwave

Reuters PARIS | Updated on July 11, 2019 Published on July 11, 2019

Analysts at the consultancy pegged 2019 EU soft wheat production at 140.6 million tonnes,

Strategie Grains cut its monthly forecast for this year's European Union soft wheat harvest by more than 2 million tonnes as it factored in a late-June heatwave in western Europe.

Analysts at the consultancy pegged 2019 EU soft wheat production at 140.6 million tonnes, down from 142.8 million projected last month but 11 per cent above a drought-hit 2018 volume.

Other forecasters have also trimmed estimates for this year's EU wheat harvest, although the extreme temperatures were not thought to have lasted long enough to cause severe crop losses as seen during last year's drought.

“The heatwave that struck West Europe and Poland at the end of June has triggered concerns around yield potentials, particularly for crops on shallow soils,” Strategie Grains said in a monthly EU grain report.

“For the most part, the winter barley crops escaped impact from the heatwave because the grains were already ripening. The wheat less advanced in the growth cycle (...) was at much greater risk from grain scald.”

Strategie Grains had reduced its estimates of soft wheat production in Germany by over 700,000 tonnes, Spain by more than 600,000 tonnes and Poland by nearly 400,000 tonnes, it said.

It kept little changed its soft wheat crop estimate for France, the EU's biggest producer, at 37 million tonnes, up sharply from around 34 million last year and in line with a first forecast from the country's farm ministry.

Production outlook falls

Harvesting of winter barley, which accounts for around half of EU production, is well under way and Strategie Grains said early yield indications were good with the exception of Spain. However, later-developing spring barley may have suffered more from the heatwave while maize plants could also have been affected after chilly conditions in May, it said.

Strategie Grains reduced its 2019 barley production outlook to 59.3 million tonnes from 59.6 million last month, a level still well above last year's crop of 55.7 million.

For projected maize production, the firm made a larger cut of 700,000 tonnes to 62.7 million tonnes although this also remained higher than the 2018 level of 61.7 million.

Published on July 11, 2019

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