KTG Agrar, the German-based farm operator, said that it was
heading "optimistically" towards harvest, chiming with the country's improved
crop prospects highlighted by the US Department of Agriculture and domestic
KTG Agrar said that plant condition promised "an
above-average harvest" from its 50,000 hectares of crops, from winter peas to
organic soybeans, mainly in Germany, but with some holdings in Lithuania and
The group had also continued a strategy of selling large
amounts of crop ahead, with 50% of its anticipated output already prices, allowing
it to minimise deals over the summer, when the ramp up in supplies and
withdrawal of the last weather premium tends to weigh on values.
Siegfried Hofreiter, the group's chief executive, said: "As
we pre-sell our produce in the first months of the year… we can concentrate on fieldwork
in the summer, when agricultural prices tend to decline," with KTG poised to "sell
the second part [of its production] in the winter."
The group stuck by a forecast of 2014 revenues of "clearly"
over E200m, with next year's revenues seen hitting E250m, with "stable"
operating profit margins.
The comments come the day after the US Department of
Agriculture lifted its forecasts for European Union wheat and rapeseed
harvests, citing in particular improved prospects in Germany and Poland, where
rains last month had come just in time to resolve a growing threat from
The forecast for Germany's rapeseed crop was raised by
100,000 tonnes to 5.58m tonnes, with the wheat harvest upgraded by 320,000
tonnes to 24.30m tonnes.
Meanwhile, Germany's Raiffeisenverband (DRV) farm co-operatives
group raised by 700,000 tonnes to an "above average" 48.3m tonnes its forecast
for the overall grains crop this year, ditching ideas of a decline from last
year's 47.8m tonnes.
The group, citing "favourable weather conditions" lifted its
forecast for wheat production to 25.5m tonnes, above a May estimate of 24.94m
That includes 25.1m tonnes of winter wheat, above the 24.6m
tonnes the DRV forecast last month.
The rapeseed crop was upgraded by 300,000 tonnes to 5.9m
The DRV added that the development of cereal and oilseed
crops was about two weeks ahead of average.
* Separately on Thursday, French farm bureau FranceAgriMer
lifted its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the European Union in
2013-14 by some 400,000 tonnes to 12.0m tonnes.
That represents a 21% rise year on year, and will sap wheat
stocks at the close of the season, this month, to 2.8m tonnes, 300,000 tonnes
less than previously expected.