EU crops may compensate for drought-stricken U.S. crops

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As drought and extreme heat continues to batter U.S. grain crops, European Union crops are faring better and may fulfill export demand instead of the United States.

Grain crop production numbers were released in Europe this week and show that a drought and late freezes in parts of Europe have also taken their toll on soft wheat, corn and barley.

EU’s soft-wheat production is now projected to be lower than a month ago by about 400,000 tons. However, France’s wheat crop is expected to produce 35.2 million tons of wheat this season, which is 1.1 million tons more than estimated in March. France’s turnaround is attributed to recent ample rains have been reported. Germany’s wheat has also improved. However, Spain’s crop is expected to worsen due to the drought that started this spring.

“U.S. wheat is going to be priced out of export bids,” Nick Higgins, a commodities analyst at Rabobank International in London told Businessweek.com. “The EU is going to have to pick up more of the export burden.”

Demand for European wheat, France’s in particular, is expected to increase from Russia and surrounding countries. Wheat quality from the Black Sea region is declining, and Russia is expected to ship 24 percent less this year, based on USDA estimates.

Corn stock estimates in Europe were raised this week from 63.7 million tons to 66.8 million tons.

The EU is projected to harvest 55.5 million tons of barley, which is 100,000 tons more than forecast a month ago. Rapeseed harvest is projected down to 18.8 million tons from 19.2 million tons in 2011/12. Sunflower seed output is also projected to slip to 8 million tons from 8.4 million tons.


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