Strategie Grains extended the series of downgrades to the
European Union corn crop after results from the harvest showed crops in south
eastern countries damaged even more than had been thought by hot and dry weather.
The analysis group lowered its forecast for the European
Union harvest by 900,000 tonnes to 52.8m tonnes, putting a 20% drop on the
cards from last year's bumper result.
The revision kept the Strategie Grains estimate well below those
of the International Grains Council, which foresees a 55.0m-tonne crop, and the
US Department of Agriculture, which last week downgraded its figure to 55.6m tonnes.
Industry group Coceral forecasts a 56.0m-tonne harvest.
'Yields have decreased again'
"Projected yields have decreased again in the southeast
EU countries, where more than two-thirds of acreage has already been harvested,"
Strategie Grains said.
The USDA last week flagged that problems for the south-east
EU crop started in July, when "prolonged heat and dryness prevented or
shortened pollination and reduced grainfill.," adding that many farmers had "abandoned
fields or used them for silage".
The fate of the EU harvest, the world's fourth biggest after
those of the US, China and Brazil, is being particularly closely watched
because of the potential impact of a poor crop in boosting the bloc's corn
import needs, at a time of tight global supplies.
The USDA last week raised its estimate for EU corn buy-ins
by 2.0m tonnes to 5.0m tonnes, although some observers believe imports will end
up at a higher figure.
Drought also remains largely unbroken in many eastern
European areas, prompting a caution this week from USDA staff over sowings of autumn crops in Romania.
Strategie Grains also cut its estimate for the EU soft wheat
harvest, the world's biggest, by 700,000 tonnes to 123.0m tonnes, citing
weakened ideas of UK production, which was downgraded by 600,000 tonnes.
Factoring in an upgrade to hopes for Polish barley, the
estimate for the overall EU grains harvest was downgraded by 1.0m tonnes to
The Paris-based group also issued its first estimates for EU
crop sowings for 2013-14, foreseeing a 0.6% drop in cereal seedings, as a drop
in spring plantings more than offset a rise of 2.5% in wheat and 2% in winter
Area put down to oilseeds is seen rising by 500,000 hectares
to 11.8m hectares.