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Forecaster sees stable EU wheat, durum

PARIS, France (Reuters) — Farmers in the European Union are forecast to harvest about the same amount of soft wheat in 2018 as they did this year as higher projected yields compensate for a minor fall in seeded area, consultancy Strategie Grains said.

Durum-seeded area is expected to be the same year on year, and with a marginal increase in yield, the total production should be 9.2 million tonnes, about the same as the last harvest.

The forecasts are tentative, as the winter crops seeded this fall won’t be harvested until 2018.

The consultancy in early December forecast a canola crop of 22.6 million tonnes, up 900,000 tonnes from 21.7 million tonnes harvested this past summer. The increase was based on a return to trend yields after problems in the last harvest.

Strategie Grains said it expected EU countries to harvest 142.3 million tonnes of soft wheat in 2018, little changed from 142.4 million in 2017.

The forecast reduced its expectation for the area seeded to soft wheat by 494,200 acres to 57.58 million, compared with the figure last month.

The cut in seeded area was mainly due to changes in the Balkans, leading to a fall in output there. Production would also fall in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Scandinavia compared to the previous year, it said.

But large producers, such as Germany, France, Spain and Italy, were expected to harvest larger wheat crops in 2018.

In contrast, barley production was expected to rise significantly next season, up six percent at 62.2 million tonnes.

The larger crop was due to a rise in both area and average yields with sharp increases expected in Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania, and to a lesser extent in Germany, France, Finland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Romania, Strategie Grains said.

It expected barley output to fall year-on-year in Britain, Poland and Bulgaria.

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