Germany's wheat harvest did not recover quite as strongly from
a frost-hit start as some analysts forecast, farm officials said, but rated
quality as "satisfactory" despite some findings of lower protein.
Germany's farm ministry pegged the European Union's
second-ranked wheat harvest at 22.5m tonnes, well above market estimates earlier
in the season after setbacks from a February cold snap and a dry spring;
However, the figure, down 1.5% year on year, fell short of hopes from some private
commentators, such as analysis group Strategie Grains, which estimated the crop
at 23.4m tonnes.
German-based trading house Toepfer estimated the harvest at
22.9m tonnes after late weather conditions turned "practically perfect for crop
The ministry offered some support to Toepfer comments that that
results had from the initial harvest had indicated protein levels which were "disappointing,
particularly in northern Germany".
Protein results in some areas had come in lower than had
been expected, reducing the average level to 13.0% compared with 13.1% last
year, the ministry said.
However, it rated the quality of the crop, a major source of
harder wheat in Europe, as "satisfactory" overall.
The specific weight, the weight of grain in a given volume, was
in line with last year's result, while officials termed "not a problem" Hagberg
falling numbers, a measure of the sprouting which saps grain's starch reserves.
The ministry pegged the overall grains and oilseed harvest
at 44.7m tonnes a gain of 6.7%, reflecting largely a recovery of 25% in
rapeseed output from last season's poor result.
And it described as "quiet" the local grains market amid a stand-off
between farmers and buyers, with high prices deterring purchases while growers
show a "weak level of willingness" to sell, particularly milling wheat and feed
Ilse Aigner, the German farm minister, said that Germany was
following "very closely" developments in food markets.
Given tight global supplies, it was important "that the
world's most important agricultural export countries co-ordinate their actions as
closely as possible", she said.