Analysis Grains

Grain harvest in Western Europe slowly begins

June 27, 2024 - Jesse Torringa

The European grain export of this season will not make up for the deficit from 2022/23, as shown by the recent figures from the European Commission. Especially the corn export is far behind. In Western Europe, the grain harvest is slowly starting and the sunny weather has a positive effect. Barley has already been harvested in the Netherlands.

After a series of days with losses, wheat rose yesterday (Wednesday, June 27) on the Matif. The September contract increased by €2.50 to €223.50 per ton. Prices on the CBoT closed in the red. Wheat barely lost anything and closed 0.1% lower at $5.41¼ per bushel. Corn also closed lower, dropping by 1.3% to $4.20 per bushel. This puts the contract at its lowest point since early March this year. Soybeans also decreased very slightly by 0.1% to $11.62¾.

The export of soft wheat from the European Union continues to lag behind last season. Since the start of the 2023/24 season, which began in July, 29.6 million tons have crossed the border according to new figures from the European Commission. This is 4.7% less than the same period in 2022/23 when 31.1 million tons were exported. European barley exports stood at 5.62 million tons by June 23, compared to 6.51 million tons a season ago. The corn export is the furthest behind compared to last year. 'Only' 18.62 million tons have been exported this year, 29% less than the same period last season. According to the Commission, there are still some export figures missing from countries like France, Bulgaria, and Ireland, which will slightly increase the export volume. However, the deficit is by no means made up.

In Ukraine, the border of 50 million tons of grain export has been surpassed in the 2023/24 season. This was reported by the Ukrainian customs. Of this, 3.37 million tons of grain have been exported this month (until June 26). This puts the total export volume 3.9% higher than last season during the same period, when 48.4 million tons of grain were exported. Corn accounts for the largest part of the export volume with 29 million tons, followed by wheat with 18.3 million tons.

Grain Harvest in the Netherlands Begins
The grain harvest is already well underway in various parts of Europe. The first barley fields have also been harvested in different locations in the Netherlands. With the warm and dry weather, the moisture levels are better than expected, and more harvesting will take place this weekend. Yields vary considerably and have not been satisfactory everywhere so far, as an insider explains, mentioning that the wet weather since last autumn has taken its toll.

According to various meteorologists, temperatures are rising to tropical levels in large parts of Europe, which is beneficial for the grain in Western Europe after the heavy rainfall in the previous period. Warm and sunny weather can have a positive effect on ripening and can be beneficial for the grain that still needs to grow. In Eastern Europe, where the grain harvest is already somewhat advanced, the high temperatures are causing yield losses in the grain. The (summer) grain in Eastern Europe and the Balkans has already endured quite a bit of heat, and meteorologists predict that these high temperatures will persist for some time. It is not surprising that the French agricultural advisory firm Strategie Grain lowered some grain yield forecasts in those parts of Europe earlier this month.

Canadian Grain Yield Expectation
On the American grain market, prices barely changed during the last trading session. There were few stimuli affecting the soybean, corn, and wheat markets. Attention is now focused on the statistics regarding acreage and yields of grains in Canada, which will be published by Canada's national statistical agency this afternoon (June 27) Dutch time. It is expected that soybean production will increase by several percentage points, while exports will decrease. The grain yield forecast is likely to be slightly lower.

Jesse Torringa

Jesse Torringa is a market specialist in seed potatoes and organic potatoes, onions, and carrots at DCA Market Intelligence.
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