The EU cereal harvest is forecast to set a new record in 2014, with strong exports and stocks expected to increase substantially, according to its latest short-term outlook.

The 2014 EU cereal harvest is expected to reach a record of 317 million tonnes, due to the combined effect of an increase in planted area and higher yields, favoured by good climatic conditions. This higher availability will not only benefit the livestock sector and exports, but would substantially replenish cereal stocks from 32 to more than 50 million tonnes, bringing the stock to use ratio up from 12% to 18%, it says.

The September issue of the International Grain Council (IGC) reports a world cereal production at 1,983 million tonnes, just 10 million tonnes below 2013’s record. Wheat production is estimated by IGC at its highest ever level (717 million tonnes), while maize production would be just 1% below last year’s record (974 million tonnes). World stocks of these two commodities are expected to increase from 59 to 60 million tonnes and from 63 to 66 million tonnes.

At EU level, the soft wheat harvest is expected to  reach 145.6 million tonnes, 10.5 million tonnes higher than in the previous year, due to an area increase of 1
million ha, driven by favourable market prices of last year, and good yields at 6 t/ha on average (+3.3% compared to last year). Summer weather conditions have been favourable for the development of all summer crops, providing the necessary moisture and temperature for good biomass development.

However, excessive scattered August rains during the harvesting period in central and northern EU, northern Italy and especially France, caused concern about the quality of wheat. Because of lower protein content, significant volumes will be downgraded from milling to feed quality, especially in France, contributing to a reduction in compound feed prices.

The larger availabilities in feed wheat and the good maize production are keeping prices under pressure. This record production should allow for good exports during the marketing year 2014/15, with cereal exports expected to reach a higher than average level of 34.5 million tonnes against an average of 30.