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EU Wheat Harvest to Stay Above 150 Million Tons

The European Commission’s first harvest forecast for EU crops for 2015/16 estimates that EU wheat output (the largest wheat producer in the world) will be 150.8 million tons. This would make it the EU’s third largest wheat crop on record, although 6.4 million tons lower than last season.

The Commission calculates that the EU area planted in wheat will total 26.64 million hectares – down 800,000 hectares year on year. The majority of the crop will be soft wheat, which is forecast to show above average yields of 5.88 tons per hectare, due to a mild winter and a low number of high-impact frosts.

Despite this high level of production, the Commission forecasts that EU wheat exports will decline by 12% this year to a three-year low of 28.2 million tons, however the report does not give a reason for this lower estimate. This will result in an increase in EU wheat inventories of 5.6 million tons to 19.5 million tons – the highest since 2009/10 when stocks reached 23.5 million tons, and wheat prices in Paris fell to their lowest since 2006.

EU barley stocks are also forecast to increase by 800,000 tons to a five-year high of 10.4 million tons, based on expectations of a larger crop and a decline in exports. However, despite an increase of 57,000 hectares in area planted in rapeseed, the Commission projects that EU rapeseed inventories will fall by 600,000 tons for 2015/16 to 1.4 million tons as output falls by 3 million tons to 21.1 million tons.

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