German Harvest Latest

My German corresspondent, Joachim Ruhmann, reports of disappointing winter barley yields in northern Germany. The Bavarian Farmers' Association estimate grain production (excluding corn) in the region at 6.3 MMT, 10% down on last year and 6% below average. Crops on lighter soils, in the north in particular, are showing signs of premature ripening, they say.

Further south things are more positive, with early harvests on heavy soils showing good yields and quality, although samples are not as good on lighter sandier soils, they say. Corn is suffering under drought conditions they add.

In Saxony, early winter barley harvesting has been producing bushel weights of only around 60 kg/hl. Low temperatures in May followed by the subsequent drought have also caused many crops to ripen too early, reducing yields, says Wolfgang Vogel of the Saxony Farmers' Association.

There is also concern over the quality of wheat in Saxony, where crop development is already over due to the heat. Although the ears are white, below the stems are still very green, he says. Local corn is "in a pitiful state" with stems no higher than 30 cm tall, which is we below normal and establishment very "patchy", he adds.

Interestingly some barley, rye and triticale crops are also being harvested as whole crop silage, for fear of impending bottlenecks at the German biogas plants, Joachim tells me.

New crop barley prices have improved considerably this past week, with EUR125-130 ex farm now being achievable for September collection, he adds.