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Weather to cause sharp fall in European wheat production

Staff Writer |
The smallest French wheat harvest in at least a decade is set to push European Union production down sharply from last year's record.

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Rain delays mean it is still too early to call the overall size and quality of the EU crop. But the plunge in French output should leave EU soft wheat output well shy of last year's record 151 million tonnes, despite bumper yields in eastern states such as Romania and Bulgaria.

Plummeting yields in France, the EU's biggest wheat producer and exporter, have led to a growing consensus that soft wheat output will only reach 28-30 million tonnes, the lowest since at least 2003 and down more than a quarter from last year's record.

Repeated rainfall has held up harvesting northern France but poor initial yields there have contributed to further downward revisions. Consultancy ODA Groupe this week cut its estimate by 2.2 million tonnes to 28.2 million, a 28-year low.

In Germany, winter wheat yields could fall 10 to 20 percent from last year, although rain delays meant only one third of the crop had been gathered so far, the Association of German Farmers said on Wednesday.

As in Germany, rain was raising concerns about quality downgrades to wheat crops in Poland. Sparks Polska forecasts Poland's wheat crop at 10.7 million tonnes, down 10 percent from 2015.

Britain is expected to see a sharp fall in wheat production due to adverse weather and a smaller area, although harvesting was only just getting underway.

CRM AgriCommodities is forecasting a UK wheat crop of between 14.5 and 14.7 million tonnes, down from last season's 16.4 million.


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