The area sown with soft wheat should increase in the European Union this year despite adverse weather in some major producing countries that raised concern of a repeat of last year’s rain-disrupted sowing season, analysts said.
The improved outlook should come as a relief, notably in France, the European Union’s largest grain producer, where this year’s soft wheat output fell by about a third, also hurt by dry weather in the spring.
Consultancy Strategie Grains estimates that the area sown with soft wheat in the EU and the United Kingdom for the 2021 harvest will be 9% above last year’s at 24m hectares, mainly driven by a rebound in France and Britain.
In France, farmers had sown 12% of the expected area as of Oct. 12, down from 16% by the same time a year earlier, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday. (Full Story)
The rain has eased in France’s largest grain producing regions with forecasts pointing to mostly dry weather in the coming week.
"The situation seems to improve, even the rains of the last few days were rather moderate so the sowing conditions in the autumn will be rather favorable," FranceAgriMer chairman Benoit Pietrement told reporters earlier this week.
Strategie Grains sees the French soft wheat area gaining 17% from last year to 5.0m hectares.
British farmers are expected to plant around 1.8m hectares, weather permitting, sharply up from a sub-par 1.415m for this year’s harvest but in line with the preceding season, according to analysts at Britain’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
"We’re going to need two or three days to dry out and hope there is no more rain but if we get a dry run there is every chance that area goes in pretty quickly," James Webster, senior analyst with the AHDB said at a briefing earlier this week.
Britain’s Met Office on Friday forecast mostly dry weather this weekend but widespread rains should return early next week with the rest of the month expected to remain wet and windy.
In Germany, winter grain sowings made good progress with weather overall satisfactory.
"It was drier than usual and this has caused a slight sowing delay in some areas, but I see no cause for national concern as we had reasonable volumes of rain in most of the country too," one German grains analyst said.
It was too early for detailed predictions but he expected a trend towards more winter wheat and barley, with winter rapeseed also being expanded.
In Poland, most winter crops have now been planted, said Wojtek Sabaranski of analysts Sparks Polska, who expects a slightly larger winter wheat area this season due to recent high prices.
"The recent heavy rainfall across the country will be favourable to plant emergence and proper crop establishment prior to the winter," Sabaranski said.