Coceral lowers total 2023 EU soft wheat forecast to 127.3m mt

12 Jun 2023 | Serina Gothard

Agricultural trade body Coceral has lowered its outlook for EU 27 2023 soft wheat production to 127.3 million mt from 129.5 million mt in the March forecast, which is up 0.3% year-on-year.

Coceral said the main reason for the downward revision was the current dryness in the northern half of the EU, especially for Sweden, Denmark, and the Baltic countries.

France's production is estimated at 35.06 million mt, up 4% on the year and up on the 34.34 million mt forecasted in March,

Production was revised down, in particular for Germany and Spain, due to rain coming too late for both wheat and barley.

Germany’s crop was forecast at 21.63 million mt, a decrease from the March forecast of 21.97 million mt and down 3.2% on the year.

Poland was forecast at 13.2 million mt, down 1.6% on the year but up from the 12.6 million forecast in March.

The UK’s soft wheat production estimate was stable at 15.03 million mt, slightly up from the previous forecast of 15 million mt but down 3.2% on the year.

The EU’s barley production also fell by 4.6% year-on-year to 49.47 million mt, down from the March forecast of 52.5 million mt.

The year-on-year decline was driven mostly by Spain, with barley forecast at 4.1 million mt down from March’s forecast of 7.9 million, a decline of 38.5% on the year. 

Despite this, Germany’s barley crop estimate was revised to 11.25 million mt, up from the 10.9 million mt March forecast and up 0.4% on year.

French barley forecast also rose slightly to 12.8 million mt from March’s 12.4 million mt, up 13% on the year.   

The UK’s barley crop size forecast went unchanged at 7.1 million mt but was still down year-on-year.

The EU 27’s corn crop figure was revised to 61.1 million mt, down from the 62.1 million mt forecasts in March, but still an increase on the 2022 figure of 52.3 million mt.

Coceral said this was due to bigger corn forecasts in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Italy after the 2022 crop was affected by severe drought and heat.

France, however, is not expected to recover their corn crops to such an extent due to smaller planting area and higher input costs, with some of the area replaced with more robust crops such as sunseeds.

The Romanian corn crop is forecast to increase to 10.3 million mt from 7.2 million mt in 2022, while Hungary’s is to increase to 6.3 million mt from 2.8 million mt, Bulgaria to 3.6 million mt from 2.6 million mt and Italy to 5.2 million mt from 4 million mt.

Coceral has lowered its total grain forecasts for the EU-27 to 273.4 million mt, down from 280.1 million mt in the March forecast but up significantly from the 266.8 million mt harvested in 2022.

This was largely due to the bigger corn harvest forecasts.

For oilseeds, European farmers are expected to produce a total of 19.7 million mt of rapeseeds, down from 19.8 million mt forecasted in March and slightly above last year.

They are expected to produce 10.8 million mt of sunflower seeds (down from 11.2 million mt in March and 9.5 million last year) and 3.12 million mt of soybeans, up from 2.7 million mt forecasted in March and up from 2.4 million mt last year.

France and Germany are to produce the biggest share of rapeseed, with estimates set at 4.43 million mt and 4.65 million mt, respectively.