August 12, 2011


EU seen to reap bumper corn harvest



The EU is set for a bumper corn yield this summer, signalling positive times ahead for farmers seeking animal feed and for purchasers of materials to make breakfast cereals, analysts said Thursday (Aug 12).


French grains analyst Strategie Grains on Thursday forecast the EU will harvest 60.7 million tonnes of corn in 2011, up 10.3% from 2010. This was also up from 60.2 million tonnes forecast for this year's harvest by Strategie Grains in July.


Repeated summer rain, which has spoilt countless holidays and hindered wheat harvesting, has helped corn plants recover from a springtime drought that had threatened to cut yields.


"Our estimates for maize production retain a potential for additional increase in the event that weather conditions continue to be ideal for maize through the final weeks of the growth cycle," Strategie Grains said.


Crops in France, the No. 1 EU corn producer, continue to show good yield potential after rain last month benefitted plants after the spring drought.


"Everything is going well for maize, there is good to excellent (yield) potential," said Jean-Paul Bordes of grains technical institute Arvalis. "Crops are very consistent and plants showing good strength. The rains were beneficial and we are generally ahead of the normal growth cycle."


Strategie Grains on Thursday also raised its forecast for France's corn crop to 13.99 million tonnes from 13.63 million forecast in July and 13.8 million tonnes harvested last year. France's farm ministry this month forecast production at 13.3 million tonnes.


"Maize yield potential is high and recalls the excellent harvest of 2007," Strategie Grains said.


Bordes at Arvalis said late-planted French fields would have suffered from dryness at delicate development stages, leading to varied growth among crops across around a fifth of France's corn grain area.


Output of corn in No. 2 producer Italy is expected to rise thanks to expanded sown areas but the grain quality remains a key issue as harvesting starts in north Italy, farmers and traders said.


In No. 3 producer Germany, repeated rain in past weeks, which is causing misery for farmers, could help corn achieve more growth.


In fourth largest producer Spain, farmers expect to harvest 3.4 million to 3.5 million tonnes of corn this summer, up 4-6% on the year.

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