EU’s Wheat Seen by Toepfer Mostly Escaping Winter Kill

Most wheat and barley in the European Union probably escaped damage from recent cold weather, with crops generally in good condition before the next harvest, according to Alfred C. Toepfer International.

Winter-kill probably affected “only a small area” in the EU, even as temperatures in parts of Germany fell as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius (minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in March, the Hamburg-based trader said today in an e-mailed report. In much of Germany, crops were protected from cold temperatures by “substantial” snow cover, it said.

“In the next few weeks, there is still a risk of large fluctuations between night and day temperatures that can impact the crops, most of all in spots where no snow cover exists or where the current snow cover begins to melt,” the trader said.

Planting of spring malting barley crops has slowed in France, where conditions have been cold and wet, and farmers are reluctant to sell, Toepfer said. German malting barley acreage may be the lowest in at least three years, and the country may need to import as much as 1 million metric tons of the grain, it said.

Toepfer cut its forecast for China’s malting barley imports to 1.9 million tons, from a previous estimate of 2.5 million tons, because of an improved domestic harvest. Australian malting barley supplies are the cheapest on the world market as exportable supplies in Canada and Argentina have tightened, it said.

Germany’s grain exports from July to December totaled 5.9 million tons, up from 4.1 million tons a year earlier, Toepfer said.

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