EU and UK harvest figures keep rising

The UK is heading for its biggest wheat crop since 2008 while the latest EU-28 cereals estimate for the 2014/15 marketing year shows a “bumper crop” in progress, up 6.1% on last year’s levels.

According to the latest feed commentary from BPEX, provisional figures released by Defra, in addition to identifying a six-year wheat crop high, also put barley output only marginally lower than last year.

At the same time AHDB/HGCA early balance sheets, released earlier this week, estimate that total animal feed demand for cereals will be lower than in 2013/14, based on the assumption of ‘normal’ weather conditions, lower milk prices and ample forage availability.

Also feeding into the hectic harvest information mix this week was the release by Copa-Cogeca of final EU-28 cereals estimates for the 2014/15 marketing year, which included the ‘bumper crop’ comment.  

The organisation’s cereal-oilseeds working party chairman, Max Schulman, said that members had indicated a “good EU harvest” this year, reaching 317.7 million tonnes.   The next challenge, he added, was to ensure good infrastructures existed across the EU to transport the large volumes of grain which were available and to store it properly.

“We need to examine whether they are adequate and what improvements can be made”, he said. “We also need to ensure farmers have a good tool box at their disposal, like disease resistant plants, new and better varieties, research and development, good plant protection products.

“The phasing out of pesticides is hitting the sector badly which is particularly serious when we need to increase production to meet growing world food demand set to rise by 60% by 2050.”

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