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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
18 June, 2018

Barley news EU: Winter barley harvest starts in Europe with mixed expectations

The winter barley harvest has started in the European Union, with lower production expected from northern regions due to hot and dry weather but a better outlook elsewhere, Reuters reported on June 21.

In France, the EU's largest barley producer, the winter crop was expected to be in line with the average, while Germany, whose output is generally close to the French one, would record a significant drop this year.

Harvesting has started in the past few days in both countries with Germany about two to three weeks early.

"The hot dry weather in past weeks has pushed some winter barley to early ripeness which is unwelcome," one German analyst said. "Crops in the north are suffering most, barley in south
Germany is looking in a generally better state."

In the past month, Germany had the warmest nationwide temperatures since 1975, records from EU crop monitor MARS showed.

Germany's winter barley harvest was forecast at 8.42 million tonnes, down 6.6 percent on the year, by the country's farm cooperatives association on June 6.

"I would expect this estimate to be reduced, perhaps to 8.2-8.3 million tonnes," the analyst said. "Some are expecting an even smaller crop."

Consultancy Strategie Grains pegged this year's EU winter barley crop at 29.9 million tonnes, down from 30.4 million in 2017 due to the poor German harvest.

In France, warmer weather helped crops recover from a poor start due to an extremely humid winter, Jean-Paul Bordes from crop institute Arvalis said.

"The rebound in temperatures has given a boost to plant development," he said. "So in the end it is not too bad and we expect the crop to be in line with average."

The French farm ministry in a crop report last week pegged the 2018 winter barley output at 9.1 million tonnes, holding steady against the 2017 harvest.

In Britain, the winter barley harvest will not be in full flow until July although some crops have been cut in Devon in the southwest with a high moisture level to be used for animal feed through a process known in crimping.

Winter barley area in Britain is expected to fall 10 percent for the 2018 harvest to 382,000 hectares, according to a planting survey conducted by the Andersons Centre.

In Poland, harvesting is expected to start early due to hot weather with work in the south likely to commence next week, said Wojtek Sabaranski of analysts Sparks Polska.

He expected Poland's total barley crop to rise 2 percent on the year to about 3.65 million tonnes.

In contrast, analysts expected the European spring barley harvest to rebound sharply this year with Startegie Grains pegging the 2018 harvest at 32.6 million compared to 28.0 million harvested in 2017 and 30.0 million in 2016.

The rise is expected to be helped by a sharp rebound in production from Spain where the crop was hit hard by drought last year.


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