June 18, 2018 / 2:43 PM / a month ago

EU crop monitor cuts cereal, rapeseed outlook on harsh weather

PARIS (Reuters) - Severe weather, including hot, dry conditions in northern Europe and torrential rain in France, has reduced yield prospects for this year’s cereal and rapeseed harvests in the European Union, the bloc’s crop monitoring service said on Monday.

For soft wheat, the EU’s most produced cereal, the MARS service cut its forecast for the average yield in the bloc this year to 6.04 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) from 6.19 t/ha estimated in May.

This is now lower than last year’s 6.11 t/ha yield although 1.2 percent above the average of the past five years, MARS said in a monthly report.

It also lowered its outlook for the 2018 barley yield in the EU, to 4.98 t/ha from 5.04 t/ha, as a reduced projection for winter barley outweighed an upward revision for spring barley.

The projected EU grain maize yield was trimmed to 7.35 t/ha from 7.64 t/ha, while the forecast rapeseed yield was cut to 3.05 t/ha from 3.19 t/ha last month.

“At EU level, yield forecasts for all winter crops, grain maize and sunflower were revised downwards, mainly as a consequence of unusually warm and dry conditions in central, eastern and northern Europe,” MARS said.

Other crop observers have also lowered their expectations for EU crop production due to parched field conditions in countries like Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

The past month had the warmest nationwide temperatures in Germany since 1975, according to MARS records, along with sparse rainfall in the north and east, reducing cereal and rapeseed yield prospects, the crop monitor said.

Denmark, Sweden and the Baltic states have also had hot, dry spells. But crops were generally in good condition, although rain was needed to maintain growth, MARS said.

In contrast, France and parts of Italy have endured heavy rain and this has increased disease pressure while also knocking over some crops, it said.

Like other crop watchers, MARS revised up its outlook for wheat and barley yields in Spain after abundant spring rain.

At EU level, the crop monitor increased its projection for this year’s sugar beet yield to 77.5 t/ha from 76.1 t/ha. This remained below last year’s 81.4 t/ha but was 3.6 percent higher than the five-year average.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Sybille de La Hamaide and Jane Merriman

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