September 18, 2014


EU corn harvest seen at an all-time high of 70 million tonnes



Corn harvests in the EU this year could top 70 million tonnes for the first time.

France, the EU's top corn producer, is forecast to post a record 17.25 million tonnes this year, thanks to favourable weather, according to a farmers group AGPM.

The country had its rainiest summer since 1959. While the wet weather severely damaged the quality of its wheat harvest, it contributed in no small measure to a bumper corn harvest.

"We have had favourable conditions throughout the growth cycle," Gilles Espagnol of crop institute Arvalis said, adding that September was maintaining the momentum with optimal conditions for grain-filling.

France corn harvest has started in some parts of the country but will only be in full swing in October.

France's bumper crop and lower demand from animal feed makers who are seen turning to larger availabilities of low-quality wheat means this could lead to the largest maize ending stock in at least 18 years, farm office FranceAgriMer said.

EU's second-largest corn grower, Romania, is however predicted to produce a little less than last year's 10.7 million tonnes. But last year's harvest was itself exceptionally large, forecasters noted.

"It's hard to believe we can get last year's crop in terms of quality and quantity given unfavourable weather. Across the country maize is in very different stages of development," said ConstantinBazon, vice-president of Romania's LAPAR league of cereal farmers.

"Nobody has an estimate for the moment, maize plants are fully developed in southern Romania and almost good to be harvested in the northeast," he said.

Germany's corn is also reported to be doing well.Traders attribute the expected good harvest to, like France, its wet summer.

"I think we are set to have an excellent (grain) maize crop following last year's poor harvest as growing conditions in Germany have been near to ideal," one trader said.

Germany's agriculture ministry seesait corn harvest reaching 4.6 million tonnes this year, 4.9% higher than last year' disappointing figures.

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