German farmers concurred with upbeat ideas over grain volumes this year, but cautioned over the impact of rain, which has raised concerns over wheat protein levels, besides hurting fruit and hop crops.
The DBV German farmers’ association said that, overall, it was “satisfied” with the grains harvest, of which the harvest of winter wheat, the biggest constituent, was pegged at 23.9m tonnes.
The figure is line with the 24m-tonne figure unveiled by the Deutscher Raiffeisenverband (DRV) last week, and represents a rise of some 12% year on year.
The DBV pegged the overall grains harvest at 46.8m tonnes, up 3% year on year, with growth held back by smaller harvests of spring crops, a reflection of a milder winter which meant less need for resowing.
‘Heavy rains and floods’
However, the DBV said that the better overall figure “should not obscure the fact that some operators have suffered significant losses due to heavy rains and floods”.
Furthermore, the “high rainfall in spring”, in leaching soils of nutrients, had meant that winter wheat protein levels were “often disappointing”.
The comment tallies with some market talk of decent yields but some questions over protein levels – ideas which have gained ground with rain interruptions to the harvest, a factor which can encourage sprouting – although the DBV is seen as somewhat conservative in its crop assessment.
The association added that farmers still had “significant areas” of winter wheat to reap in eastern areas, with rains preventing growers in Lower Saxony and Shleswig-Holstein in northern Germany completing the harvest too.
The harvest in neighbouring France was initially surrounded by talk of disappointing protein levels, but these eased as it spread to northern areas, prompting a drop in export prices, in many cases, to below those from the Black Sea.
Mixed barley fortunes
The DBV estimated the German rapeseed harvest at 5.8m tonnes, in line with the 5.9m tonnes forecast by the DRV and up nearly 17% year on year, while pegging the winter barley crop at 8.8m tonnes, up nearly 1.1m tonnes year on year.
However, the spring barley harvest was seen falling below 2.0m tonnes, down from 3.3m tonnes last year, thanks to lower sowings, and a small drop in yields.
However, it was “positive” that a “quite low” level of spring barley was seeing excessive protein levels, meaning the crop was meeting “an important criterion to be suitable for use as malting barley”.
‘Will probably be a bad harvest’
Less encouraging for brewers was the German hop crop, which looked set to tumble by 23% thanks to a cold and wet spring, and later by hail damage.
“It will probably be a bad harvest, of about 27,000 tonnes this year,” the DBV said.
The German strawberry harvest was seen falling 10,000 tonnes to 130,000 tonnes, thanks to “cold and damp weather” which had made it a “very difficult year for farmers, with many fruits rotted in the field”.
The sweet cherry crop was pegged at 25,000 tonnes, above the 23,000 tonnes achieved in 2012, itself a difficult year, but well below the three-year average of 35,700 tonnes.
“The long-lasting cool and rainy weather in the spring in Germany, have had significant influence,” the association said.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/german-farmers-warn-over-rain-setbacks-to-crops)