This summer’s drought has led to a significant drop in total EU cereal production – thought to be as much as 8% below the last five-year average.

The shocking figure is one of the findings of the latest short-term outlook report published by the European Commission.

The report highlights that EU total cereal production for 2018 is expected to be at 284.3 million tonnes – a decrease of 5% compared to 2017/18, or 8% compared to the last five-year average.

The wheat harvest has suffered the most from this summer’s dry conditions, leading to a decrease of 9% compared to 2017. The wheat production forecast is set at 129 million tonnes for 2018.

EU cereal prices have peaked during August reaching levels higher than last year, with an extra €50/t for wheat and an added €60/t for barley.

EU sugar production should be lower than last year’s record levels, forecast at 19.2 million tonnes for 2018/19 compared with 21.1 million tonnes for 2017/18. However, significant world sugar surpluses are keeping prices low.

The dry and hot climatic conditions also influenced the milk and dairy sector due to the significant reduction in grassland growth and fodder production.

The overall increase in EU milk collection is lower than expected, with a forecast of 166.6 million tonnes for 2018, leading to an increase of 0.6% compared to 2017.