German farmers fear longer harvest, smaller wheat crop on freak rains

For the last few weeks, European market participants have raised concerns over pending logistics issues and delays to the...

For the last few weeks, European market participants have raised concerns over pending logistics issues and delays to the harvesting campaign delays in the bloc’s main grain producing regions, with Germany in particular hard hit by heavy storms.

Driven by a dramatic weather shift from warm, dry conditions to heavy rains and flash flooding, Germany’s Raiffeisen Association (DRV) cut its overall grain production forecast to 43.8 million mt last week, while wheat production was set at 22.82 million mt.

The harvesting campaign was also delayed by about two weeks in southern Germany, with fears rising over wheat quality and potential fungal damage - although it remains too soon to tell at this stage if the damage can be reversed - while the north-eastern part of the country is still suffering from dryness.

Heavy rains and floods in south-western Germany have also blocked shipments in some parts of the Rhine river, Germany’s significant transport artery for all commodities into and out of the main Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub, as high water levels prevented vessels from passing under the bridges.

According to a report from newswire Reuters, flooding has been crucial for minerals, coal and oil products deliveries into the hub, with the effect on wheat production harder to discern.

“The flooding seems to be in only areas that are not very important for grains,” a Germany-based trader said, with traders looking to sell at a lower specification level in order to keep trade moving.

“At the moment it has a local impact on premiums and (traders are) trying to sell lower spec wheat,” a second trader added, with the heavy rains likely to reduce the overall quality, prompting traders to vouch safe and sell feed wheat rather than higher-quality milling wheat.

After France, Germany is Europe’s largest wheat producer, as well as a big rapeseed producer and consumer.

Alongside the near 23 million tonnes of wheat, Germany is expected to produce 3.7 million mt of rapeseed in the 2021/22 marketing year.

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