BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Projections for the European Union’s 2022-23 corn harvest continue to worsen as the EU’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) unit said in its latest report that yields were expected to fall 16% below the five-year average. The new projection is significantly worse than the 7.8% decline forecast by MARS in July. 

“Water and heat stress periods partly coincided with the sensitive flowering stage and grain filling,” according to the EU report. “This resulted in irreversibly lost yield potential.”

MARS said the exceptionally hot and/or dry weather conditions in large parts of Europe continue to substantially reduce yield outlooks for other EU summer crops, including sunflowers (down 5.5%) and soybeans (down 9.6%).

France, central and northern Italy, central Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia are among the most severely affected regions in Europe, MARS said.

“Several countries have imposed measures to restrict water use for irrigation,” the report said. “In northwestern Italy and southern and central Spain, very low water levels in reservoirs have been insufficient to meet the water needs of crops, and irrigation of some fields has been abandoned. In the Benelux countries, western Germany, western Poland, eastern Slovakia, and Bulgaria, scarcity of rainfall combined with occasionally hot temperature peaks also stressed summer crops with negative effects on the yield outlook.”

On a more promising note, the German Farmers’ Association on Aug. 23 said its winter wheat crop in the 2022-23 marketing year would increase slightly to 21.8 million tonnes, up 800,000 from the previous year.