USDA estimates wheat production in European Union to be at record levels

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it estimates 2015-16 European Union wheat production at 160 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.5 million or 1.5 percent from last month.

It said in its latest monthly report that production is estimated at 3.2 mmt or two percent above the previous record of 156.8 mmt set in 2014/15. The crop is also 18.0 mmt or 13 percent above the 5-year average. Area is estimated down slightly at 26.8 million hectares, marginally below the record set in 2008/09.

According to the report, yield is estimated at a record 5.98 tons per hectare, up 1.3 percent from last month, 1.9 percent from last year, and 5.5 percent from the 5-year average. Production was increased this month as harvest data continues to signal a record crop. With a price advantage compared to rapeseed, wheat area increased during the fall of 2014.

Planting conditions were favorable across Europe with the exception of the Balkans. Wheat enjoyed a very mild 2014-15 winter with abundant rainfall, increased soil moisture reserves, and above average temperatures that minimised winterkill.

Warm spring weather enticed the crop to emerge from dormancy a couple weeks earlier than normal, the report said, adding that dryness at the sensitive flowering period of late April and early May lowered yield expectations during mid-summer. However, rains returned in June and July, benefitting grainfill, while warm temperatures in July and August provided an excellent harvest environment.

Production increases were made this month for the Baltics. Higher area and yields resulted in increased production in Latvia (up 0.45 million tons to 2.3 million) and Estonia (up 0.16 million to 0.81 million tons). Additionally, wheat production is estimated up 0.35 million tons in Romania, 0.2 million in Spain, and 0.1 million in Poland, the report said.



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