June 14, 2012


Germany's 2012 wheat crop forecast down


Germany's 2012 wheat harvest forecast has been lowered by the German Farm Cooperatives Association on Wednesday (June 13), as damage from the cold winter was worse than thought and dryness threatens part of the German crop.


It now expects a 2012 wheat crop of 21.3 million tonnes compared with the 22 million tonnes estimated in May. This will be 6.2% down on the weather-reduced 22.7 million tonnes of wheat Germany harvested in 2011.


The association also raised its forecast of Germany's 2012 winter rapeseed crop to 4.51 million tonnes from 4.27 tonnes forecast in May. This is 18% up from the 3.8 million tonnes Germany harvested in 2011, when the country suffered a major rapeseed crop failure. Frost damage to rapeseed was not as bad as feared and recent rain had helped the oilseed, the association said.


The sudden cold snap which hit much of Europe in February is now believed to have ruined about 360,000 hectares of German wheat and 160,000 hectares of barley, the association said. Germany's 2012 winter barley crop, used for animal feed, is now forecast to fall to 6.32 million tonnes from 6.67 million tonnes last year. The corn crop is seen unchanged on the year at 5.18 million tonnes.


Rain in the last week in much of Germany had helped to calm fears the wheat crop would suffer dryness damage, but not removed concern entirely, the association said. There is still concern about dryness in the huge East German grain belts which missed out on the recent rain, it said.


"Dryness damage can now be seen in (eastern) wheat and barley plantings," the association said.


"Because of the disappointing forecast for Germany and only average crop expectations in Europe, the association continues to expect a tight supply and demand balance and so sharp swings in prices."


Germany's harvest of grains of all types is likely to fall 0.8% to 41.5 million tonnes, it said.


"The forecast harvest volume will only just technically cover domestic consumption so that the import requirement will rise," the association said.


Against this background, the association welcomed proposals by the EU to allow tiny amounts of unapproved genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be permitted in food imports to prevent disruption to trade. The German government is opposing the change.


The heavy frost damage to winter crops means German farmers have replanted with spring grains, the association said. Germany's spring barley crop, largely used for beer and malt output, is likely to rise by a dramatic 30% to 2.68 million tonnes, the association forecasts. This follows a 29.7% increase in spring barley planted area.