EU Monitor Lifts Wheat Yield Outlook, Trims Rapeseed On Rain Contrasts
Yield prospects have improved for EU wheat and other cereals but have eroded for rapeseed, the European Union's crop monitoring service said as it factored in contrasting levels of rainfall last month.
In a monthly report released on Monday, the MARS service raised slightly its forecast for the average soft wheat yield in the EU this year to 6.05 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), from 6.01 t/ha last month.
That would be 7.6% above last year's drought-affected level and 1.9% higher than the average of the past five years, MARS said.
In other cereals, it raised marginally its all-barley yield forecast to 4.96 t/ha from 4.95 t/ha, reflecting an improved spring barley outlook that offset a reduced winter barley estimate.
"Substantial improvements to the yield outlook for winter cereals in southern Europe were largely offset by reduced yield forecasts in northern regions, resulting in a slight upward revision at EU level," MARS said.
Above-normal rainfall in Italy, southeast Europe and parts of the Iberian peninsula had revived low moisture levels, benefiting both winter crops and young spring varieties, it said.
In contrast, a rain deficit in March and April had strained winter and spring crops, particularly in shallow soils, in northern Poland, eastern and northeastern Germany and the northwestern Czech Republic, before the return of rain this month, it said.
France, Germany, Poland and the UK are the EU's biggest rapeseed producers.
In France, the EU's biggest grain producer, crops were expected to have avoided water stress and late frosts were only seen having minor effects.
However, heavy showers in May have increased the risk of disease as French winter crops reach the flowering stage, MARS said.
For rapeseed, it trimmed the EU yield forecast to 3.13 t/ha from 3.19 t/ha last month.
That would be 8.5% higher than in 2018 but 3.3% below the five-year average.
Drought And Insect Attacks
Rapeseed in major producing countries like France and Germany already suffered from drought and insect attacks during the autumn.
For this year's sugar beet crop, MARS projected the 2019 EU yield at 76.5 t/ha, up 12% from last year and 1.7% above the five-year mean.
The forecast was MARS' first published outlook for this year's sugar beet crop, although it gave a comparative estimate for April showing it had previously expected the 2019 yield at 77.1 t/ha.
The crop monitor projected the EU's grain maize yield at 7.92 t/ha, which it said compared with 7.73 t/ha expected last month.
That was down 5.2% from 2018 but 4% above the five-year average.