March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Soft wheat production in the European Union may be 2.6 percent larger than last year as increasing harvests in southern and eastern Europe make up for declines in the U.K., grain-industry lobby Coceral said.
The EU may produce 127.77 million metric tons of soft wheat, up from 124.55 million tons in 2012, the Brussels-based group said today in an e-mailed report. Estimates for both years include Croatia, which is set to join the EU in July. Wheat will be grown on 23.2 million hectares (57.3 million acres), up from 22.81 million a year earlier, and yields are expected to climb 0.9 percent to 5,510 kilograms (5.51 tons) a hectare.
Production in Romania, the bloc’s fifth-biggest wheat grower, may jump 23 percent from last year to 6.14 million tons, while output rises 12 percent in Bulgaria and 11 percent in Spain, Coceral said. Parts of the southern and eastern EU had dry weather last year. In the U.K., the third-biggest producer, the crop may slide 10 percent to 11.98 million tons. Wet weather last year prevented farmers from planting some winter crops, the U.K. Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has said.
“Things look all right in eastern Europe,” Dave Norris, an independent grain broker in Harrogate, England, said by telephone today. “There are parts of northern France where there are a few question marks about what the quality of the crop is, but the U.K. looks like it will be in unfortunately the worst shape in Europe for a second year running. The Germans seem to have a very good crop.”
EU production of durum wheat, a hard variety of the grain used to make pasta, may rise 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 8.27 million tons, Coceral said. Barley output may climb 0.6 percent to 54.79 million tons, and rapeseed production may increase 2.8 percent to 20.05 million tons.
The EU’s corn harvest may jump 14 percent from 2012 to 64.38 million tons as yields climb in southern and eastern countries while farmers boost planting in France, the bloc’s biggest grower, Coceral said. French corn production may be 16.25 million tons, 4.8 percent higher than in 2012. In Romania, the second-biggest producer, the harvest may surge 60 percent to 8.63 million tons, and output in Italy, which ranks third, may climb 6.8 percent to 8.1 million tons, according to the report.
In a separate report, farm lobby Copa-Cogeca pegged the soft wheat crop in the 27 countries currently in the EU at 126.96 million tons, with total wheat production, including durum, at 134.93 million tons. The Brussels-based group estimated corn production at 56.44 million tons, little changed from the previous season, and predicted rapeseed output would climb 7.6 percent to 21.05 million tons.
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