PARIS, July 25 (Reuters) - The European Union’s crop monitoring service MARS on Monday cut its yield forecasts for all summer crops, including maize, due to hot and dry weather in many parts of the bloc while making small reductions to its winter grain projection.
Crop prospects in the EU have taken on extra significance this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine - a major wheat, corn and sunflower exporter - has disrupted Black Sea exports and raised uncertainty over Ukraine’s harvest.
But sweltering temperatures and sparse rain hurt Europe’s maize crop, reducing harvest prospects further after some countries saw a drop in plantings.
“The yield outlook for EU summer crops was substantially reduced due to continued hot and/or dry weather conditions in large parts of Europe,” MARS said in its July report.
MARS put its yield outlook for the EU’s grain maize crop, which will be harvested in the autumn, to 7.25 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), down from 7.87 t/ha last month and now 7.8% below the five-year average.
Summer crop yields had suffered most in regions already affected by long-lasting rain deficits, such as large parts of Spain, southern France, central and northern Italy, central Germany, northern Romania, eastern Hungary, and western and southern Ukraine, MARS said.
“Apart from direct impacts on growth, drought and heat stress in several regions coincided with the flowering stage, resulting in reduced flower fertility,” it said.
The monitor also cut its EU sugar beet yield projection to 77.4 t/ha from the 78.1 t/ha seen last month. The updated figure was still 4% above the five-year average.
The forecasts for winter crops, for which harvest is complete or nearly so, were subject to minor changes at EU level, remaining close to the five-year average, MARS said.
It cut this year’s average EU soft wheat yield forecast to 5.74 t/ha, down from the 5.76 t/ha projected last month and now 4.9% below the 2021 level.
Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Forrest Crellin and Paul Simao
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