Late rains that have fallen on wheat fields in Western Europe might decrease the quality of the commodity because of the damage inflicted on the crop. The French research firm specializing in agro-economic European markets of grain, Strategie Grains, commented that it had rained in some areas exactly at the point when crop was at its most vulnerable stage – ripe and ready for cutting. “Wheat elsewhere got rain instead of the sunshine and warmth it needs to ripen and develop quality. The harvest looks to be large but quality is still unknown, we urgently need more sun,” the agency added.France is EU’s largest producer of wheat, so nervousness mounts that the quality of the crop will not be sufficient. This week, dry and warm weather finally allowed French farmers to resume harvesting. Analysts say that the country will harvest 37 million tons of soft wheat this year, a bit more than last year’s 36.8 million tons surpassing the five-year average.
Paul Gaffet of crop consultancy, ODA, said that the quality was certainly not looking good although the extent of the damage is not yet known. Several clients of the consultancy have reported about 30 percent of germinated grains. Other observers have also reported germination, which can be so serious that wheat may be eventually degraded even to animal-feed quality. Worries remain specifically in the east of France, where weather conditions were especially wheat-unfriendly compared to the west of the country. In Germany, the EU’s second largest wheat producer, rain has also been causing troubles with the quality and harvest cannot start as soon as it was wished for. Germany’s wheat harvest of all types will go up 1.8 percent compared to last year’s good crop to 2.46 million tons. The German farmers’ association, DBV, reported that some areas of winter wheat had been knocked over by the very heavy rainfall, which might cause pre-harvest sprouting. Although rains give a rise to concerns, most analysts remain positive about the overall picture about the quality loss.