Sunday, May 8, 2011

Europe wheat harvest to fall on drought, may be catastrophic

Rudy Ruitenberg in Bloomberg: The European Union wheat harvest, which accounts for a fifth of world production, will fall this year as drought cuts yields in France and Poland, said Michel Portier, general director of Paris-based farm adviser Agritel.

“We’re losing yield,” Portier, whose company advises more than 2,000 farmers on crop sales, said in an interview in Paris today at a conference on commodity-industry regulation. “We already know that the 2011 harvest will be below 2010, both in France and in Europe.”

The wheat situation in Europe “will be catastrophic” if the drought continues for another 10 days, and no significant rain is forecast for northern Europe for the period, Portier said. For now the outlook for Black Sea region production is “alright,” which is keeping wheat prices in check, he said.

France, the EU’s largest wheat grower, just had its second- hottest April since 1900 and one of the driest since 1953, the country’s Agriculture Ministry reported this week. European wheat and rapeseed are at an “important tipping point” because stored soil moisture from the winter has been used up, Martell Crop Projections said in a May 2 report.

The EU wheat harvest fell 2.4 percent last year to 135.4 million metric tons, the London-based International Grains Council estimates, on a world wheat crop of 649.6 million tons. The council last month cut its outlook for world production in 2011/12 by 1 million tons to 672 million tons as dry weather in the U.S. and the EU affects crops….

A wheat field in Brandenburg, near Berlin. Shot by unknown photographer, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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