November 07, 2008
EU-27 grain crop estimates for 2008
With some member states embarking on publishing their first provisional harvest estimates for 2008, the total EU-27 grain crop is now expected to reach 309 million tonnes this season.
This is over 20 per cent up on marketing year (MY) 2007/08. Within this total, the EU-27 wheat and corn harvests are estimated at 151 million tonnes and 60 million tonnes, respectively.
As discussed previously, the EU-27 grain harvest is of mixed quality. Significant tonnages are forecast to be consumed domestically but questions remain as to the EU-27's import requirement for high quality grain and whether it will reside domestic or otherwise, for the surplus of supplies, particularly of the feed quality grain.
Finally, while reports suggest that the EU-27 has kicked off with an impressive start with its MY 2008/9 export campaign, the momentum will have to be maintained so as to prevent a significant build up in stocks at year-end.
The latest estimate of the size of this season's EU-27 wheat crop is up again, pushed up nearly 3 per cent or 4 million tonnes from a month ago and therefore, further increased the importance of the export number in the EU-27 wheat balance.
The most notable production expectations have exceeded in Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK. Indeed for the latter, recently published UK government data provisionally reports a record 17.5 million tonnes of wheat harvest, while an additional 10 million tonnes of wheat is expected to be fed to animals in the EU-27 this season as compared to last.
The most significant increase currently forecasted would have to be exports, doubling a year-on-year to 24 million tonnes. Improved exchanged rates from the standpoint of the EU-27 in recent weeks, lowers prices and a high level of export licenses granted, resulting in this season having EU 27's wheat exports commence at a strong pace.
They are reported to be competing well against third country supplies, particularly those of Black Sea origin to North African and Middle Eastern destinations. It still remains to be seen whether this pace can be maintained, if not, the current forecast of a 3.5 million tonnes increase in end-stocks to 17.5 million tonnes may have to be revised upwards.
For the full USDA report, please click here