LONDON, ENGLAND — Estimated wheat and barley yields for the European Union’s 2022 harvest have been cut for the third month in a row by the European Commission in its latest crop monitoring report.

At a European level, yields for soft wheat, durum wheat and winter barley are now pegged at below five-year average levels, due to the adverse dry conditions across the bloc. In countries such as Spain, where drier-than-usual conditions have been met with hotter weather, the impact is expected to be greater. Meanwhile, crops in growing regions around the Baltic Sea have been impacted by colder-than-usual weather.

The latest report pegs EU soft wheat yields at 5.76 tonnes per hectare. This is down from both the 5.89 tonnes per hectare forecast in May’s bulletin, and the five-year average of 5.84 tonnes per hectare. At the start of June, the EU Commission pegged soft wheat production for 2022-23 at 130.39 million tonnes, based off an area of 21.7 million hectares and a yield projection of 5.98 tonnes per hectare.

“If we take the latest soft wheat yield projection from the MARS report and apply it to the same area, production would come in at 125.49 million tonnes,” said Millie Askew, a senior analyst with the UK-based Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). “This is nearly 5 million tonnes down on the current estimate, and 4.66 million tonnes down on 2021-22 levels. While this is a rough calculation and the two datasets do not completely align, it gives us an idea of what harvest 2022 may bring.”

With regard to the current heatwave, the French Agricultural Ministry on June 20 reported that this should have limited impact on yields, given the lateness in the season.

However, Askew noted that higher-than-expected temperatures or less-than-forecast rainfall could have a further negative impact on yield prospects in other parts of Europe.

“Equally, there is always the risk of untimely harvest rains affecting crop quality,” she said. “With a tight global supply picture of wheat due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, developments in Europe are a watch point. Tighter-than-expected European supply would likely add support to both domestic and European markets.”