August 10, 2012


France's wheat harvests 59% complete


France wheat harvest is nearing into the latter stages, with 59% of its wheat cut by July 31 and output proving better than expected.


The French Farm Ministry estimated the wheat crop at 36.6 million tonnes - 8% up on last year, although it did have concerns over quality following the wet weather, said a report by Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).


The winter barley and oilseed rape harvests were almost finished, with 43% of spring barley cut by August 2.


Spring barley yields were above average, with production rising by 80%, to 4.4 million tonnes.


"The corn crop is developing in line with last year, with 87% having reached its reproductive stage by July 30. Yields are forecast to be lower than last year although crop condition scores are higher."


Harvest in Germany was well underway, with winter barley almost finished, and production set to be below the five-year average.


About a quarter of spring barley had been cut, with above average yields, with wheat harvest just started, showing lower than normal yields but good specific weights.


Wheat supply and demand across Europe would be finely balanced, meaning quality would be key to market direction, said the report.


German farmers had cut more than 70% of their oilseed rape, with yields up 10% on last year but overall production still about average.


"Despite better than expected EU rapeseed production, global oilseed markets have taken the lead from the drought stressed US soy crop," said the report.


"However, the recent arrival of rain may give the crop a life line."


Drought across Russia and the Black Sea had slashed corn and wheat production, which would limit grain exports, it added.


"Global wheat trade will have to draw on US wheat stocks in 2012-13, with the Southern Hemisphere 'top-up' more important – quality depending."


However, drought in the US meant half of the corn crop was rated poor to very poor, with 39% of the soy crop similarly rated.


"The winter wheat harvest is now starting to draw to a close with 88% harvested by August 5," said the report.


Conditions in Canada were good, with crops advancing quickly following warm and dry weather in July, and both wheat and rapeseed looking well. In contrast, dry conditions in Australia were affecting crop development, with some rapeseed crops failing to germinate and being re-sown with cereals, it added.


Dry and cold weather was also slowing winter plantings in Argentina, with 88% of the winter wheat sown by July 26 compared to 92% last year.