MARS PARIS: Most grain crops in the European Union have continued to benefit from favourable weather in the past month, although a lack of hardiness could leave some plants vulnerable to frost, the EU’s crop monitoring service MARS said on Tuesday.
The build-up of frost tolerance has been generally weak in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe, MARS said, stressing the risk could be greater along the Black Sea where crop development has been delayed by late sowing.
Sowing of winter grains was virtually complete in most of Europe by early November but continued for several more weeks in Romania, Bulgaria and also in non-EU neighbour Ukraine, MARS said in a monthly report.
The crop monitor said last month that sowing and crop emergence had been delayed in parts of central and southeast Europe due to dry weather.
However, its simulations suggested that no frost had occurred so far in the EU, it added.
In northern and central Europe, above-average temperatures and near-seasonal precipitation in November were favourable for crop emergence and early development, MARS said.
In western Europe and particularly in top EU grain producer France, below-average temperatures since early October hampered early growth of winter wheat, with only a few fields reaching the tillering stage, the crop monitor said.
Crop conditions are being closely watched after concerns about reduced global supplies led to record wheat and rapeseed prices in Europe in recent weeks.
Farm office FranceAgriMer has pointed to very good early conditions for French wheat and barley.
In initial projections for next year’s harvest, grain trade association Coceral on Monday forecast a drop in soft wheat production and a jump in rapeseed output for the EU plus Britain.
MARS does not give area estimates but issues yield forecasts later in the growing season. Its December report was delayed from Monday due to a technical problem.