Europe Busy Harvesting Bumper Corn Crop

EU country's are busy harvesting a bumper corn crop in 2008. Government forecasts put Germany's maize crop this autumn at 4.9 million tonnes, up from 3.7 million tonnes last season.

Harvesting is now in full swing in much of the country and is expected to be completed around the end of October, analysts said.

Government figures say Germany's harvest of grains of all types this summer has risen by around nine million tonnes on the year to 49.9 million tonnes.

The French harvest is nearing completion and output there is anticipated top be around 15.1 million tonnes, compared to 14.5 million tonnes in 2007.

Meanwhile, EU-27 estimates put the bloc's maize crop this year at around 60.2 million tonnes, dramatically up from last year's 48.2 million tonnes following better weather.

Hungary, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria all also seem to have excellent crops and are aggressively looking to export. Hungary's crop is forecast to produce 8.7 million tonnes, up from 4.7 million tonnes last year.

EU corn prices could even reach intervention levels of around 100 euros a tonne, traders said.

This is likely to mean a sharp cut in maize imports from Brazil in coming months.

Brazil and the U.S. together sold 20.1 million tonnes of corn and sorghum to the EU in 2007/08, up from only 6.2 million tonnes the previous season as EU farmers and animal feed makers turned to imports after Europe's poor 2007 grains crop raised domestic prices.