Grain Yield Expectations Differ Greatly Across the EU
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The European Union (EU) total Grain production is set to exceed last year’s crop marginally and amount to 270.8 million MT in MY 2023/24. The initially optimistic outlook for EU Grain production was partially negated by uneven weather conditions. The production increase is solely attributed to the improved yield expectations, as all Grains experienced area reductions.
Yield expectations differ significantly across the EU in MY 2023/24. Some Member States in the EU’s northeast (Poland, Baltic States, Germany, and northeast France) and the EU’s southwest (Spain and Portugal) report dryness pushing yields down. Central EU countries (Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy) report excessive rain and, in some instances, waterlogged conditions.
In France, Grain crop growing conditions have been favorable, except for the dry conditions in the northwest. Rains in June benefitted crops from a dry spring but caused lodging in some areas. France’s Grain production is projected to exceed the previous season’s levels, despite the excessive rain in northern France’s last week of July curbing Wheat yield expectations. Durum Wheat is the exception to the rule, as improved yield expectations are not expected to counter its reduced area.
In Romania and Bulgaria, below-average late spring temperatures slowed down the final stages of winter Grain development and delayed emergency and implantation for spring plantings. Some fields were affected by thunderstorms and abundant rains, where heavy wet kernels caused lodging. Lower fertilization rates, rains during ripening, and pest incidence are anticipated to affect quality, specifically in test weight in these two countries’ western areas. MY 2023/24 Grain production in Romania and Bulgaria is set to recover, driven by larger areas and improved yields.
According to AgFlow data, Romania, one of the vital Grain exporters of the EU, shipped 1.3 million tons of Wheat in July 2023. The key markets were Algeria (0.3 million tons), Saudi Arabia (0.2 million tons), Egypt (0.15 million tons), and Spain (0.14 million tons).
In Hungary, the milder-than-average winter and early spring conditions resulted in crops that developed well. This was later countered by the lower temperatures registered in April. Heavy rains and strong wind knocked over cereals, causing lodging. After the disastrous result registered in MY 2022/23, Hungary’s total Grain output is expected to recover but still falls short of expectations.
Similarly, in Italy, heavy late spring rainfall improved soil moisture for corn but impeded farmers’ access to their fields, increasing fungal pest infestations and negatively affecting the quality and quantity of the winter Grain harvest. Italy’s total Grain production is still expected to surpass the previous season’s poor results. In Slovakia, cold and wet spring conditions improved soil moisture. Without unexpected adverse weather events or a sharp onset of fungal diseases, the country is set to witness a rebound in Grain production levels.
Grain Crop Condition in the Baltic States and Germany
Cold temperatures delayed spring plantings in the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and the Czech Republic. In May and the first half of June, higher-than-average temperatures and the absence of rains have affected Grain production expectations in these countries. The beginning of the Grain growing season in Poland was auspicious. However, the intense rainfall delayed spring plantings, and the frigid start of the emergence resulted in crops that developed behind schedule. The persistently dry and warm summer conditions have worsened the crop-yielding expectations in Poland, especially in those areas where winter Grains are not ripe yet.
In Germany, a comparatively wet spring replenished soil moisture, which was short-lived given the dry month of May and early June. The much-awaited precipitations came in the form of thunderstorms, which resulted in uneven distribution of soil moisture and wide variations of yields across the country. MY 2023/24 total Grain production in Germany is expected to decline marginally.
Other sources: USDA
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