Spain’s Winter-Grain Harvest Seen Sliding 30% by Asaja on Heat

Spain’s harvest of winter grains including wheat may slide 30 percent after heat and lack of rain damaged crops in the center and north of the country, young farmers’ organization Asaja said.

Spanish winter-grain production will be about 13.78 million metric tons, Asaja wrote in an online report today. That would compare with production of 19.4 million tons last year, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

Spain is the European Union’s largest grain importer, and the bloc’s third-biggest barley producer behind France and Germany, statistics from the bloc show. Its winter-grain crop jumped 59 percent last year after a wet spring.

“The excessively high temperatures that we suffered this spring, especially during the three first weeks of May, have affected all crops including winter grains,” Asaja wrote.

Spain’s soft wheat production may drop to about 5 million tons, according to Asaja, compared with last year’s 7.6 million tons. The durum wheat crop may decline to 700,000 tons from 906,200 tons.

Temperatures in Spain averaged 17.3 degrees Celsius (63.1 degrees Fahrenheit) in May, 1.4 degrees higher than normal, while rainfall of 33 millimeters (1.3 inches) was about half the usual amount, according to the country’s weather office. In central and southwest Spain, temperatures were 4 to 5 degrees Celsius higher than normal in the May 1-18 period.

Spain forecasts winter-grain production of 16.99 million tons this year, including 6.93 million tons of soft wheat, based on the situation at the end of March. EU grain-trade lobby Coceral in March predicted Spain’s soft-wheat crop will drop 9.1 percent to 6.11 million tons.

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