Due to improved outlooks for both wheat and corn crops, the 2017-18 total E.U.-28 grain crop has been revised up 2 million tonnes to 304 million tonnes, 6.4 million tonnes higher than 2016-17, according to a Dec. 6 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Forecast E.U.-28 wheat production is up 1 million tonnes to 152.5 tonnes, up nearly 7.5 million tonnes on 2016-17 but still nearly 8 million tonnes below 2015-16, the report said. The most significant year-on-year increase is in France (up 10.85 million tonnes) following its very poor crop in 2016-17. The U.K. (800,000 tonnes) and Poland (700,000 tonnes) also are expecting larger crops than previously forecast and year-on-year following improved yields.
The report said 2016-17 E.U.-28 corn production is revised to 61.5 million tonnes, up just over 400,000 tonnes on the previous expectation. Forecast 2017-18 production also is raised but by nearly 1 million tonnes, meaning the year-on-year decrease falls to just 1 million.
“Within this total, a much-improved outlook for the size of the Romanian, and to a lesser extent Bulgarian and German, crops is partially offset by declines elsewhere, most notably for the Hungarian crop,” it said.
Overall, the E.U.-28 grain balance still looks tight, with a very limited forecast recovery in stocks.
“With E.U.-28 2017-18 opening stocks still down 5 million tonnes year-on-year and at a low not seen previously, the focus is now on likely usage,” the USDA noted in the report. “E.U.-28 domestic consumption — food, feed, seed and industrial use — is currently forecast little changed year-on-year so, while the improved production forecast will be welcome, the spotlight is on the trade balance. This is currently forecast to widen year-on-year by about 500,000 tonnes.”
This scenario sees total grain stocks little changed in 2017-18 and the balance remaining tight into 2018-19, the report said.