PRINTABLE VERSION   EMAIL TO A FRIEND   RSS FEEDS 12:42 UK, 13th Jul 2017, by Mike Verdin
Strategie Grains cuts EU wheat harvest hopes - again

The European Union wheat harvest, the world's biggest, received its second downgrade in two days, thanks to dryness in France and Spain, as Strategie Grains lowered its forecast, again.

Paris-based Strategie Grains cut by 900,000 tonnes to 140.7m tonnes its estimate for the EU soft wheat harvest - reducing it to within 5m tonnes of last year's result, when production was undermined by ill-timed rains in France.

The downgrade followed cuts of 1.1m tonnes to the harvest estimate in both April and May reports.

And it left the group's estimate of the total EU wheat crop, including durum, at 149.3m tonnes a rise of just 3.3m tonnes year on year.

French, Spanish setbacks

Strategie Grains cited weaker yield prospects and France and Spain as behind the downgrade, with excessive heat seen curtailing development during the grain filling phase.

Nonetheless, the estimate for the French harvest, at 36.3m tonnes, was above an interim forecast of 35.6m tonnes made late last month, with the group saying that a farm tour had revealed crops more advanced than had been thought, curtailing their vulnerability to the heat.

The revisions come hours after the US Department of Agriculture lowered its forecast for the EU all-wheat harvest by 750,000 tonnes to 150.0m tonnes, citing "smaller expected crops in Spain and France".

The USDA also trimmed by 500,000 tonnes, to 30.0m tonnes, its forecast for EU all-wheat exports in 2017-18, demoting the bloc to second behind Russia in the world shipping league.

However, the Strategie Grains estimate is in line with that from the International Grains Council, which has pegged all-wheat output at 149.4m tonnes, and above a 147.6m-tonne forecast of "usable production" from the European Commission.

Barley, corn downgrades

Strategie Grains also, citing weakened Spanish prospects, lowered its forecast for the EU barley crop by 500,000 tonnes to 58.0m tonnes, taking it 2.5m tonnes below last year's result, and to the lowest in some years.

That is below estimates of 58.8m tonnes from the IGC, and a 59.1m-tonne forecast by the USDA, although above a commission figure of 57.0m tonnes.

And on corn, Strategie Grains reduced its forecast by 1.2m tonnes to 58.8m tonnes, taking it below last year's level of 60.0m tonnes.

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