The poor prospects for UK wheat production this year prompted
Strategie Grains to lower again its forecast for the European Union harvest, with
a cold snap in Eastern Europe raising caution too.
The French-based analysis group cut by 600,000 tonnes to
131.6m tonnes its forecast for the EU soft wheat harvest, the world's biggest.
The downgrade, for a third successive month, left the crop
3.4m tonnes below an initial forecast, made in December, if well above last
year's 124.9m-tonne result.
The latest revision reflected a further cut of 300,000
tonnes to the estimate for the UK harvest, which it pegged at some 12m tonnes –
a figure which, while a 12-year low, remains well above some other market
Not low enough yet?
"They have still not appreciated how bad things have been
over here," a UK grain trader told Agrimoney.com.
"OK, we are on for an unusually big spring wheat harvest,"
but with yields lower than for winter crop, "that is never going to make up for
what we lost and missed out in the autumn".
The UK's second wettest year on record left growers unable
to plant 25% of their winter wheat, as of December 1, official data last week showed,
with much of what was sown set back by excessive damp and slug damage.
Strategie Grains, which is based in Paris, also trimmed its
estimate for sowings in France, where wet weather has also hurt some crops,
besides in Italy and Poland.
France's soft wheat crop is, nonetheless, rated officially
as 66% "good" or "excellent", down a modest two points year on year.
Strategie Grains cautioned that cold weather this week could
hurt autumn-sown crops in central Europe, in coming after snow had melted in
some areas, so leaving seedlings exposed to frost.
Nonetheless, it left its estimate for the barley unchanged
at 55.1m tonnes.
The forecast for corn output was lifted by 500,000 tonnes to
66.0m tonnes, reflecting the prospect of lower-than-expected winter plantings
in France and Poland leaving extra area for the grain, which is spring seeded.