The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) is confirming that the northern hemisphere wheat harvest is now well underway.

The hot dry conditions across much of the region has meant that the cereal harvest is progressing quickly.

While the weather has enabled combines to keep rolling, there are questions over the quality and quantity of wheat crops in some of the key growing countries due to these somewhat extreme conditions.

Weather conditions for harvest

With the hot and dry conditions in France, the country’s wheat harvest started about two weeks earlier than usual this year.

As at the end of last week, 50% of the total soft wheat area has been cut, compared with just 3% at the same point in 2021.

Another week has now passed and with favourable harvest conditions remaining in France, the grain harvest will continue at pace.

According to the French cooperative Axereal, the winter cereal harvest is nearly complete (Refinitiv).

In terms of the quality of the crop and yields, the extreme dry and hot conditions are likely to have had some impact.

Axereal has also reported that, from initial results, general grain quality is good with satisfactory protein levels.

In its latest report, Strategie Grains pegged soft wheat yields for France at 6.95t/ha for 2022, down from 7.12t/ha in 2021.

While it is expected that yields in the south of the country will have been impacted by the hot and dry conditions, yields in the north of France have, reportedly, held up better.

US and Russian crops

AHDB analysts are confirming that the impact of drought and heat on the US winter wheat crop has been influencing markets for months.

While the weather may have had an impact on crop conditions, similar to in Europe, it has allowed harvest to start and progress well.

As at July 17, 70% of the US winter wheat crop had been harvested according to the latest USDA crop conditions report.

While the harvest had been progressing quicker than average up to this point, it is now broadly in line with the average pace for this time of year (a 71% completion figure for the period 2017-2021 average).

Russia is set to have a bumper wheat crop this year, which is expected to lead to a very large exportable surplus.

As of July 14, Russia had cut 3.7 million hectares of wheat, 600,000 more than the same point in 2021.

Furthermore, yields are averaging at 4.2t/ha, up from 3.4t/ha at the same point last year.

As the harvest progresses across Russia more information will come forward over the coming days regarding the actual size of its crop.