W European wheat planted area to shrink on year after rains, cold

25 Nov 2019 | Rei Geyssens

Heavy rain since the start of November coupled with cold weather to hamper plantings across Western Europe this month, with the European Commission saying on Monday it expects its planted area estimates to be cut as a result.

Wet weather has interrupted soft wheat sowing progress in Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, and the Benelux countries, where the sowing window has now closed following a decrease in soil temperatures.

“In [those] countries, the projected area of winter cereals is below last year, whereas in Germany area is projected to remain fairly stable,” the EC said in its monthly MARS report.

“Abundant rainfall since November has hampered field preparation and sowing in France, where the sown area for winter soft wheat is expected to decrease compared to last year,” the EC continued.

Crop development has been favourable for the earlier sown crops, while crops that were sown later in the planting window are showing a delay in development.

While rains hampered plantings in Western Europe, conditions for cereal sowing in Central and Eastern Europe were mostly favourable with dry conditions in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria allowing for a faster planting pace.

Further south, plantings conditions in Italy were too wet – mainly in the north and centre of the country – while rains at the end of October in Spain and Portugal favoured sowing, after an extremely dry period.

European rapeseed plantings kicked off in predominantly dry periods in August and September causing problems for emergence of the crop ahead of the winter.

“The dry conditions observed in August and September in some of the main producing countries –mostly Germany, France, Bulgaria and Romania – hampered sowing, and conditions for emergence have been partially unfavourable,” the EC said.

The planted area in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary is expected to be down on the year, while planted area in France and Germany will be close to last year, albeit below the five-year average.