BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — A rise in autumn planting of cereals and favorable weather conditions in recent months, especially in the South of Europe, are likely to see a higher E.U. cereals harvest this year that could bring market relief and higher stocks in marketing year 2013-14, according to the European Commission's Summer 2013 Short Term Agricultural Outlook published on July 4.
Marketing year 2012-13 saw strong cereals net exports, especially of common wheat, despite an overall very tight market and large imports of maize. This resulted in less grain availability especially for feed, high prices and low stocks.
Overall increased autumn sowings for cereals and oilseeds, combined with so far favorable weather conditions, especially in the South of Europe, create expectations for a relief in the marketing year 2013-14.
The usable cereal production in 2012 of 276.4 million tonnes is 3.4% below the previous season. The season 2012-13 remains tight and strong exports of common wheat and barley reduced the domestically available grains.
Strong imports of maize helped to relieve the tightness for feed grains but nonetheless a reduction by 2.4% of grain feed use is expected. This reduction is larger than the overall decline in animal production during the same period. The impact of the resulted changes in animal diets and production intensity is unclear.
Total sown area for the E.U.-28 in autumn 2012 and spring 2013 is expected to turn out 1.3% higher than last year leading to an overall area for the EU-28 of 58.4 million hectares. Common wheat and maize are likely to reach the largest or second largest area harvested in the E.U.-27 in the last 20 years. But also the area harvested of rye, oats, barley and triticale will increase against a year before.
The winter sowings for the U.K. and Ireland are in contrast of the general trend considerably reduced compared to last year due to adverse weather conditions at time of sowing. Some of it has been compensated by increased spring crop sowings but overall a decreasing cereal production is expected for these two countries.
Favorable conditions have prevailed so far in the Iberian Peninsula and in south-east Europe which results in higher yield expectations than in the previous years. Northern Europe had a long winter but the only noticeable effect is a delay in the crop development and spring crop sowings.
Whether this will affect yields, production and quality remains uncertain. Concerning central Europe, rain surplus and consequent flooding has affected crops but it is currently too early to assess the damage precisely.
Problems of flooding especially are of localized nature,and it is difficult at this stage to calculate the national average impact.
The overall cereal usable production in the E.U.-28 is currently forecasted at 298.1 million tonnes, up 6.8% from last year. Common wheat accounts for 43% of the crop, maize for 23% and barley for 20%.
It can be expected that cereal end-stocks will recover to 40.1 million tonnes or a stock to domestic use ratio of 14.7%, up from 30.4 million tonnes and 11.3% in the season 2012-13. End-stocks will consist only of market stocks as intervention stocks are completely empty as of June 2013.
Expectations for the world cereals markets are also for a recovery. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates) expects an increase in world wheat production from 656 million tonnes in 2012-13 to 696 million tonnes in 2013-14 and from 1.127 to 1.25 billion tonnes in the case of coarse grains.
The International Grains Council (IGC) published on July 1 an increase in total grains production from 1.784 billion tonnes in 2012-13 to 1.919 billion tonnes in 2013-14; the world wheat crop 2013-14 is seen at 683 million tonnes (up from 655 million tonnes) and world maize crop at 946 million tonnes (up from 854 million tonnes).
The Outlook report, published three times a year, is based on contributions from the commission's market experts.