Spain’s barley and soft-wheat production is forecast to plunge 32 percent this year after dry weather hurt the crops, farm and food-industry group Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias forecast.
Total winter-grain output may fall 33 percent to 11.4 million metric tons from 17.1 million tons in 2011, the Madrid-based group reported on its website today. The soft-wheat harvest will slip to 4.12 million tons from 6.1 million tons in 2011, while barley is predicted to fall to 5.67 million tons from 8.3 million tons, the group said.
Spain is the European Union’s second-largest grain importer, behind Italy, data from the International Trade Center show. The Spanish grain harvest fluctuates depending on weather conditions.
“This big decline reflects the difficult agronomic cycle from which grains suffered this season, with an excessively dry winter, somewhat late rain in April and too much heat in the months of May and June,” Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias wrote.
Castilla-Leon, the biggest wheat-growing region in Spain, is also expected to show the biggest drop in production, with the soft-wheat crop slumping 41 percent to 1.71 million tons. The biggest drop in barley production is forecast for Extremadura, with output slumping 57 percent to 48,263 tons.
The production slide will make for a “very complicated” grains balance sheet in 2012-13, according to the group.
“As Spain is a country with a grain deficit, any decline in our harvest will complicate the supply of grain to meet demand,” it said.