News last update:6 Aug 2012

German farm ministry sees 12% grain crop fall

Germany's 2010 grain crop is likely to fall by 12% on the year to around 43.8 million tonnes following adverse weather, Germany's agriculture ministry said.

German grain has suffered from an early summer heat wave followed by heavy harvest-time rain, it said.
The wheat crop of all types was likely to fall 5 percent on the year to 23.92 million tonnes. This includes the key winter wheat crop, used for bread-making, which is expected to drop 5.3 percent on the year to 23.58 million tonnes, it said.
German wheat prices peaked on Monday to their highest level in 28 months on fears the harvest size and quality had been heavily damaged. Germany's woes have added to a series of global wheat production problems.
World wheat prices surged to two-year highs in early August as drought devastated Russia's harvest and the country announced a sudden grain export ban. Heavy rains have also hit wheat in Canada and Pakistan.
Enough for German needs
But the farm ministry said it believed Germany would still be self-supporting in wheat despite the forecast 5.3% drop in the winter crop.
The German flour mills association said last Wednesday Germany might import up to 1 million tonnes of milling wheat in the coming year, its first major imports for a decade, after the rain seriously damaged wheat crop quality and volume.
"The (wheat) quality for food use - 6 to 7 million tonnes are milled - should still be available in satisfactory volumes this year," the ministry said.
Barley down 14%
Germany's winter barley crop, used for animal feed, is likely to fall 14% to 8.66 million tonnes, and the spring barley crop for malt and beer brewing is expected to fall 20% to 1.76 million tonnes, the ministry said in a report.
The maize (corn) crop is likely to fall 19.5% to 3.64 million tonnes, and the rye harvest will fall 34.3% to 2.84 million tonnes, the Ministry said.
The rye harvest is also enough to cover German bread needs as substantial volumes were harvested before rain damaged the harvest in August, the ministry said.
But Germany, normally the EU's second-largest grain exporter after France, will have considerably smaller supplies available for export, it added.
Grain harvesting has still not finished because of rain, but enough work has been done for crop estimates to be made.
Rapeseed also down
The rapeseed crop is likely to fall 9.3% to 5.70 million tonnes, the report said.
Rapeseed has also suffered from the extreme weather this summer, but last year's 6.28 million tonne crop was a record and this year's harvest will be above average, it said.
About 80% of Germany's rapeseed crop is expected to be for non-food use. Germany is Europe's largest producer of biodiesel, which largely uses rapeseed oil as raw material.
Source: Reuters

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