Rains delay grain harvest in northern Europe

Source:  Fastmarkets

Rainy weather in July and August has prevented European farmers from harvesting grains from the fields on time and raised concerns about wheat protein content and general grain quality, sources said Thursday, August 10.

German market representatives reported quality changes in wheat over the last few years, with a volume of 12.5% wheat decreasing, while they harvested more 11.5% wheat and feed wheat.

“Quality in North Germany as feared is not good, 60% feed and 40% milling wheat with low protein,” a Germany-based broker said in their note to clients.

While it is still difficult to assess all damage caused by the wet, sources already reported some sprout issues, while farmers still have around 60% of wheat waiting in German fields.

“First it was too dry now too wet, it means great corn crop and silage but that is different,” a broker told Fastmarkets Agriculture.

Less high protein wheat means losing competitiveness in Germany’s go-to destination markets in western Africa.

“If they do not have 12.5% to sell, they will need to compete with French lower protein milling wheat and it will be difficult because of the freight disadvantage,” a Europe-based trader said.

In the meantime, French farmers only have about 10% of wheat planted areas left to harvest, with wet weather not having too much negative impact on wheat quality.

Other northern European producers, such as Poland and Lithuania also reported crop losses amid persistent rains, with sources reporting 55% of wheat harvested as of today, while the harvest would normally be done by now.

“There will be no high protein wheat this year and feed wheat will take about 25% of the whole crop, we usually do not have it at all,” a trader said.

“Winter barley and rapeseed harvest is finished and we have spring wheat and barley left,” they added.

According to a broker’s note, Polish wheat quality is coming in better than expected, with around 10-15% of the crop damaged and 80% of the crop likely to pass as milling wheat, with protein content lower than usual.

The harvesting campaign was reported 35-40% complete.

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