EU winter grain looks good

PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) — Favourable weather conditions in the European Union have put the bloc on course for good harvests of winter crops this year, Strategie Grains said as it raised its forecast for EU soft wheat production.

In mid-March, the winter cereals across Europe were resuming growth after winter dormancy in very good condition.

“The outlook for the winter cereals is very promising at this stage and due to the mild winter, there has been very little winterkill,” it said in a monthly report.

Colder temperatures in early March in Western Europe were also seen as beneficial because they curbed the spread of parasites.

Strategie Grains increased its forecast of the 2016 soft wheat crop in the EU to 143.6 million tonnes from 142.6 million in February, mainly because of higher estimated winter wheat area in Romania, Lithuania and Latvia.

The production revision took the expected 2016 soft wheat crop closer to a record 150.7 million tonnes, which was harvested last year.

This year’s EU barley crop was pegged at 60.1 million tonnes, down slightly from 60.2 million projected last month and down one percent from last year.

Spring barley seeding generally started within the normal period, Strategie Grains said.

Expected grain corn production, which is seeded entirely in spring, was left unchanged at 63.9 million tonnes, 11 percent higher than last year’s drought-affected harvest, which Strategie Grains put at 57.4 million tonnes.

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