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EU Wheat Quality Causes Concern as Rains Cover Spain to Hungary

Published on Jul 7 2014 2:41 PM in Supply Chain

EU Wheat Quality Causes Concern as Rains Cover Spain to Hungary

Rain has interrupted wheat harvests in France and elsewhere in Europe in recent days, raising concern about crop quality, Paris-based farm advisor Agritel said.

Abundant rainfall in Romania and Bulgaria raises the prospect that a larger part of the crop than last year will be suitable for livestock feed rather than milling into flour, Agritel wrote in an e-mailed report today. That will weigh on prices for feed grains, the adviser said.

Parts of northern Spain, southern France and western Romania got more than twice the usual rainfall in the 14 days through July 5, with more precipitation expected through July 22, data from World Ag Weather show. Wheat harvests have started in all three countries.

“Weather returns to the center of concern,” Agritel wrote. “So qualitative aspects will be determining for price development, with export remaining key for the equilibrium of the balance sheets for the 2014-15 campaign.”

Rain on ripe wheat can swell kernels, reducing the amount of flour that can be milled, while sprouting prompted by humidity can reduce baking quality, according to Ohio State University.

Romania’s winter-wheat harvest is in progress, according to the country’s weather office. In France, Europe’s biggest wheat producer, farmers started cutting soft wheat in the Rhone-Alpes, Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees and Alsace regions as of June 30, the country’s crop office said. Harvesting in the south of Castile and Leon, Spain’s biggest wheat-growing region, started in the first half of June, farmers organization Asaja reported.

Northeast Spain, most of Italy, Germany and France as well as Bulgaria and western Romania may get more than twice the usual rainfall through July 22, World Ag Weather data show.

“With past cumulative rainfall and projected rainfall two to three times higher than normal at a point that the crops are at maturity, the concerns seem justified,” Agritel wrote. “If confirmed, the quality deterioration would support milling wheat prices.”

Bloomberg News edited by ESM

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