Continent facing grain yield reductions

GRAIN yield reductions on the Continent of 11.5% in French wheat and 7.2% in Germany are being pencilled in for 2011, because it has now gone too late in the growing season for rain to help drought-hit areas.

Some wheat growers in the east of England have warned that their yields will be 25% behind 2010.

Severe difficulties have also been caused in livestock farming, leading to a request from France for direct payments to be paid early, in October, and to pay an 80% advance on the premium for suckler cow herds.

Without significant rain, EU sugar beet yields will fall from the 16.5m tonnes expected to a predicted 14m tonnes.

Drought worries are already leading some sugar companies to postpone contracts to supply sugar to food processors.

The warmest and driest spring in decades could led to a repetition of the 2003 drought, when EU-27 wheat production fell about 15%. The US Department of Agriculture is still forecasting that global wheat production will increase this year to 670m tonnes, up from last season’s 648m, but said a large rebound in exportable supplies is threatened by reduced US winter wheat production, continued dryness in the EU, and wet conditions in Canada.

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