Coceral lowered the bar on estimates for the rain-damaged UK
wheat crop as it cut its forecast for European Union grains harvest, foreseeing
lower corn production too than some other commentators.
The grain industry group pegged the UK harvest, the European
Union's third biggest, at 13.6m tonnes, on a yield estimated at a 20-year low
of 6.81 tonnes per hectare.
The figure – down 2.1m tonnes on Coceral's last forecast for
the crop, in June, is below figures of a little over 14m tonnes from Strategie
Grains, 13.8m tonnes from grain trader Toepfer International, and a US Department
of Agriculture figure of 14.8m tonnes.
International Grains Council on Friday cut its forecast for the crop by 400,000 tonnes to 14.0 tonnes.
And it follows a dismal season for UK growers, challenged
first by an unusually dry spring, prompting drought warnings which heralded
unusually heavy rain, including the wettest summer in 100 years.
The recent return of rains, after a dry spell earlier in
September, has provoked fears that farmers will be forced to abandon much of their last standing barley and wheat crops.
French, Polish upgrades
However, the downgrade was offset in part by improved hopes
for the harvests in France, the EU's top producer, which enjoyed an improvement
in late season weather, and Poland, where Coceral factored in higher
yields and area.
Furthermore, damage to the Spanish harvest from drought was
deemed not to have been quite as serious as previously thought.
Coceral trimmed its estimate for the overall EU soft wheat crop
by 1.1m tonnes to 124.7m tonnes.
Adding in the hard, durum variety used in making pasta, the
overall wheat harvest was put at 132.7m tonnes, in line with the USDA estimate.
However, Coceral analysts were more downbeat than the USDA
on prospects for the bloc's corn harvest, which they pegged at just under 56m
tonnes, a drop of more than 8m tonnes year on year.
The estimate factored in a Romanian corn crop of 5.2m tonnes
- half the harvest of last year, despite the country's farmers slightly raising
The overall EU grains harvest was pegged at 273.7m tonnes, a
downgrade of nearly 8m tonnes.
However, the group upgraded its forecast for the EU oilseeds
harvest, by 970,000 tonnes to 28.1m tonnes.
The revision reflected improved hopes for the rapeseed crop,
which Coceral now saw, at 20.5m tonnes, exceeding last year's weather-hit harvest.
In rapeseed too, French and Polish crops were notable among upgrades.