Official researchers nudged higher their forecast for the European Union maize yield this year, despite worries over heat damaging the crop in France, one of the bloc’s top producers.
The European Commission’s Mars bureau lifted by 0.03 tonnes per hectare, to 8.08 tonnes per hectare, its forecast for the EU’s maize yield this year - taking it further above the five-year average result of 8.08 tonnes per hectare.
The commission itself has pegged the yield at 7.89 tonnes per hectare.
The upgrade contrasts with worries over heat-challenged French corn provoked by a four-point downgrade on Friday, to 74%, in FranceAgriMer’s condition rating for the crop – a move seen as contributing to late-week gains in Chicago corn futures.
Terry Reilly at US-based broker Futures International, for instance, said the French corn concerns had helped “underpin” Chicago prices.
And the corn crop in France, and elsewhere, is seen facing more weather tests, with further hot weather on the way.
Potential threat to corn yields
Maxar said that “very limited showers in Spain, southern France, eastern Germany, and eastern Poland this week will allow moisture shortages to build further”, a potential threat to corn yields, which tend to be depressed by hot and dry conditions during the pollination period.
In France, Paris-based Agritel said that forecasts of “another heatwave in the north of Europe are raising worries on spring crops and especially on the corn in this period of flowering.
“Corn crop ratings should degrade further after last week’s drop.”
Mars itself forecast “warmer-than-usual” conditions in “most of Europe” in late July, “driven by an African high-pressure ridge”.
Corn forecast trimmed
In fact, Mars did trim its forecast for the French corn yield, by 0.12 tonnes per hectare to 8.87 tonnes per hectare, putting a year-on-year decline on the cards.
It said that while French summer crops “are in good-fair condition… very low soil moisture levels have started to cause water stress”.
The German yield forecast saw a downgrade of 0.89 tonnes per hectare, also to 87 tonnes per hectare, with Mars cautioning that “if no rain falls, soil moisture under summer crops, especially maize, is critically low to fully sustain the remaining part of the season”.
However, the forecast for the yield in Romania, the EU’s top corn grower, was upgraded by 0.31 tonnes per hectare to 7.08 tonnes per hectare.
Mars, noting “frequent rainfall” over the last month, said that “the overall conditions for summer crops are good, and are especially promising for summer maize”.