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Editors Comment: Europe, Ukraine Leading Cereals Harvest

Editors Comment: Europe, Ukraine Leading Cereals Harvest

21 October 2014

ANALYSIS - This year’s cereal harvest has generally been strong in Europe and Ukraine. Performance in the region was critical to counter some smaller cereals crops in Northern America and look to result in a record wheat harvest, writes Sarah Mikesell.

Europe, Ukraine Leading Cereals Harvest  

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This year’s cereal harvest has generally been strong in Europe and Ukraine. Performance in the region was critical to counter smaller crops in Northern America and looks to result in a record wheat harvest.

Corn yields are also strong in the US and look likely to break records as combines roll across the South and Midwest. The only US issue now seems to be weather holding up harvest. 

In terms of weather, precipitation was lacking in Spain and Northern China this summer but was in excess across much of central Europe.  

Another complication is the ongoing disruption to transport lines in Ukraine, which is noted as a major bullish political factor.


Grain harvest totals broke 100 MMT with 10 per cent still to harvest, the Russian Agriculture Ministry said. Yield is up, even after a hot and dry summer which gripped southern Russia and much of the Black Sea Region in July and August.

Wheat performed well in general across the Commonwealth of Independent States, counteracting smaller crops in North America, the Near East Asia and a dry Australia.


Increasing diplomatic tensions in Ukraine have marred the second best harvest in history. Strong Ukrainian barley performance underpins expectations of a lift from last year, according to USDA analysts who see good harvests in Canada and the EU counter lower production in Algeria, Azerbaijan and Australia.

However, notable crop losses post-harvest in the Crimea have resulted from protests and violence disrupting logistical infrastructure within and into the eastern regions.

This is according to the Ukrainian Grain Association which put loss of Crimea’s shipping capacities at 10 per cent. Plans are being made to reconnect train lines in jeopardized regions.

China's Drough Localized

China’s corn and wheat production is expected to be up on last year following higher plantings.
Corn harvest is to be 3.5 million tons higher despite drought conditions across northern regions affecting 5 million crop hectares.

Rain is plentiful in the south with central areas a little drier and a widespread rain deficit across China’s northern half running west to east. Overall corn yield expectations are at 6.03 tons per hectare.

Rice expectations have been reduced in China along with the US, so global production will match last year’s record level.

Europe's Challenging Weather

European farmers have overcome some challenging weather conditions to deliver a ‘favourable’ harvest with record wheat and maize crops with barley down.

An exceptional year for maize/corn has seen nine per cent more crop grown from two per cent less acreage.

Oilseed production is also higher. Sunflower production stayed unchanged at 9.1 Mt as Soybeans and Rapeseed lifted, according to European Commission estimates.

Europe’s two biggest cereal producers, Germany and France, grew more maize/corn, barley and wheat this year. Questions have been raised about crop quality however, particularly in France where, like much of central Europe and the Balkans, a rain surplus was recorded through July and August.

In contrast, Spain’s dry summer spoiled EU maize numbers, with harvest almost a third lower.

Those experiencing wet summers have benefited from good canopy development at the price of higher possibility of plant diseases.

Meanwhile, ‘near perfect growing conditions’ have left UK wheat yields 16 per cent higher than last year at 8.6 tonnes per hectare, the largest annual uplift for thirty years.

To read more harvest details, click here

Sarah Mikesell, Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell, Senior Editor

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