put another dent in hopes for a sharp revival in world wheat output this year
by cutting its estimate for the European Union harvest, citing setbacks to
sowings for winter crops.
analysis group cut by 1.7m tonnes to 133.3m tonnes its forecast for the EU soft
wheat harvest, the world's biggest, with wet weather during sowing cutting hopes
for crops in Denmark, France, Sweden and, especially, the UK.
A harvest at that
level would still represent an improvement on the 123.9m tonnes achieved last
year, when wet weather set back harvests in some north western countries, while
eastern states were unduly dry.
But it further cuts
hopes for a revival in wheat output in the forthcoming season after a decline in output below consumption in 2012-13.
While still leaving adequate supplies worldwide, this shortfall
has sapped stocks in exporting countries to historically low levels.
'Just did not sprout'
Russia's Grain Union warned that of the 15m hectares sown in the country to
winter grains, "about 1.2m hectares cane be written because of dry
"They just did
not sprout," Arkady Zlochevsky, the union's head, said.
crops may have been damage by low temperatures, with Mr Zlochevsky saying that
"more than 1m hectares were without snow cover, and in low lying areas the
temperature was minus 12 or 13 degrees [Celsius], even minus 15".
warned that "frost damage will be observed" in southern Russia, a
main source of wheat supplies for export, and "where the snow cover is
melting once again which could be a problem" if bitter temperatures
While lost winter
crops can be reseeded, spring equivalents tend to yield less.
Meanwhile, in the
US, Lanworth cut by some 500,000 tonnes, to 53.8m tonnes, its forecast for US
wheat output this year, a harvest which would be the smallest in seven years.
At broker Benson
Quinn Commodities, Brian Henry said that while he "questioned the
validity" of Lanworth's research, "you don't have to look very hard
to find people willing to reduce the size of the wheat crop".
US winter wheat,
which accounts for the majority of the crop, went into winter dormancy in its
worst condition on record, and dry forecasts have cut hopes, for now, of a
recovery after it re-emerges in the spring.
International Grains Council, forecasting a 4% rise in this year's world wheat
harvest in 2013-14, urged caution over extensive gloom on US prospects, saying
that "analysis shows little correlation between reported end-November crop
conditions and final yields.
"But as the
rating for the current crop is at an historical low, it is uncharted
territory," the council added.
A 4% rise in world wheat output would take it to some 682m tonnes, strong by historical standards, but short of the 2011-12 record.
Strategie Grains cautioned over a further risk to winter crops from any sudden
drop in temperatures, as happened last February, after a relatively warm
conditions could limit the plants' hardening process and reduce their
resistance to the cold," the Paris-based group said.
conditions in the coming weeks will therefore need to be watched closely."