Spain Predicts Wheat Crop to Jump 31% After Rain Boosts Moisture

Spain predicted this year’s wheat harvest will jump 31 percent on higher yields, after the country’s third-wettest autumn this century boosted soil-water reserves following a summer drought.

The wheat crop may climb to 6.65 million metric tons from 5.09 million tons in 2012, based on conditions as of Feb. 28, the Agriculture Ministry reported on its website today. That would still be below the 2011 harvest of 6.9 million tons.

Rainfall was 43 percent higher than usual in the September-November period, followed by normal winter rain, the ministry has reported. Spain was the European Union’s second-biggest wheat importer last year after Italy, buying 5.47 million tons of the grain, EU trade figures show.

“Spain is one of those countries, like Kazakhstan, whose grain output seems to yo-yo around from terrible to fantastic,” Dave Norris, an independent grain broker in Harrogate, England, wrote in an e-mailed comment.

The Iberian country had its wettest March on record this year, with triple the usual amount of rainfall, the government weather office reported April 2.

Spain’s soft-wheat harvest is forecast to climb 22 percent to 5.65 million tons, while the crop of durum wheat, the hard variety of the grain used to make pasta, may more than double to 995,400 tons from 442,600 tons, the ministry said.

The country’s barley crop is expected to advance 15 percent to 6.88 million tons, according to the report.

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