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German grain, rapeseed harvests to rebound in 2017 - a bit
By Mike Verdin - Published 15/03/2017

German grains and rapeseed harvests will recover this year from 2016's "disappointing" levels, but remain below average, Deutscher Raiffeisenverband said, cautioning over some crop damage to dryness and frost.

The DRV, a farm co-operatives group, in its first forecast for production this year in the European Union's second-ranked grain grower pegged cereals output at 46.4m tonnes.

That would represent a recovery of 2.5% on year, but remain below the five-year average, the group said, highlighting a rainfall deficit between November and January, although this had been "balanced" in many regions by rains last month.

The German wheat harvest, which is mainly autumn sown, was estimated at 25.14m tonnes, a rise of some 540,000 tonnes on the 2016 result, which was impaired somewhat by the wet summer weather which devastated last year's crop in neighbouring France.

DRV vs EU

However, the DRV was not as optimistic on the extent of the rebound as some other commentators, including the European Commission, which in its first forecasts for 2017 has pencilled in a German wheat crop of 25.9m tonnes.

The commission's estimate for German barley output, at 11.4m tonnes, is also more generous than the 10.75m tonnes expected by the DRV.

And in corn, while the DRV forecast "a significantly better result than in the previous year, when this crop was significantly affected by the wet and cool weather", its expectation of production of 4.47m tonnes, a 22% rebound, also fell a little short of what Brussels is expecting.

The commission forecasts a 4.6m-tonne crop.

Rapeseed damage

In rapeseed, of which Germany vies with France for being the EU's top producer, the DRV pegged domestic output this year at just sort of 4.9m tonnes, a rebound of 5.6% year on year, but again short of the five-year average crop of 5.3m tonnes.

The DRV said its forecast reflected crop damage from dryness in the autumn, and winter frosts.

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